I have to admit, I didn't really imagine there being many positive sides to being an introverted parent. I mean, my daughter has had far fewer playdates than most of her contemporaries because I just can’t bring myself to reach out to other moms to arrange those kinds of things. I know I don’t make myself available (or look available) for other moms to reach out and do the same, either. However, I've realized that there are numerous ways being an introvert makes you a better mom, despite the lack of playdates or whatever else I feel I'm failing to do when self-doubt does what it does best.
Being the type of person I am, I usually only see the reason why I might be a less than stellar parent because I'm an introvert. I kept thinking of all the ways I might be letting my son and daughter down and while it's pretty normal for any mother to doubt or question her capabilities from time-to-time, but being introverted gives you infinitely more time to get in your own head and mess up your confidence.
Thankfully, one of my good friends is an extrovert and, when I asked her to help me brainstorm the positive side of being an introverted parent, she was all too happy to help. “Oh yes! I just need to think of all my faults!” she answered, laughing. She is definitely an optimistic person, but one who can also call a spade a spade. What I assumed would be a short texting session quickly turned into an hour long gab fest, because she is the sort who excels at drawing people out, and at communicating what on her mind. You know, typical extrovert.
Thank goodness for amazing friends, right? Turns out, there are lots of positives to being an introverted mom, including the following:
Your Kid Gets All The Attention At Social Events
Because hey, anything to avoid interacting with all of these people! I don’t know about you, but I find my children to be the perfect ruse and/or distraction for those awkward moments during a party when I can’t think of anything to say to someone I’ve been talking to. “Oh! Look, my child is getting into the dip again. Sorry, gotta run!”
You Encourage Quiet Play...
It can be tough being an introverted mom, especially when there’s a high demand for interaction from your child. There are times when I just want to shut down after hearing “Mama, can you do this with me?” for the 36th time in less than a 24 hour period. So, I’ve started getting creative and found ways to encourage my daughter to manage her own play time and find things that she can do on her own, for a little while at least. Self-directed play is also beneficial to children, so I don't spend my time feeling guilty.
...And Don't Feel Like You Constantly Have To Entertain Your Kid
It's great when you don't feel the need to be "on" all the time, and putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to entertain your kid every hour of every day. Do I play with my children? Of course, but they've also learned to go off and play alone, which is nice. I get to spend some quality time, making sure that I still feel like a human being and an individual and someone who is mentally healthy, and my children have fun. Win.
Reading, Reading And More Reading
Both of our children adore books. I’m sure there are a million reasons why, but there are two main reasons I can figure out, from my point of view. First, our house is overflowing with books. We have six bookcases in our basement filled with books my partner and I have collected over the years, and we have even more bookcases in our children’s rooms. We read to them multiple times a day, every day, because sometimes it’s just easier to handle than a game of tag.
Playdates Aren't Considered A Necessity
Because you don't have a lot of mom friends you feel you have to hang out with, your kid isn't forced to go to some playdate they wouldn't necessarily benefit from. No, really, I’m sure this is a thing!
There’s a mom I really get along with, whose son is in my daughter’s kindergarten class. If I had a bit more "outgoing," I would probably suggest a playdate for the two of them so we could have coffee and get to know each other better. The problem is, her son and my daughter don’t really play together, so it would be fun for us, not them. See the sacrifices I’m making for you, sweet girl?
Over-Scheduling Will Probably Never Happen
I am not here to judge those of you who want to put your children in lots of activities, because that totally works for some families. For my family, however, a busy schedule would result in a boatload of meltdowns. Like, parental meltdowns. Then we would be taking out the stress of going to all of those activities on our kids, and that would not make me a good parent. So, our kids will likely stick with one or two activities each, so that no one loses their shit. I feel like a better mom already!
You're Comfortable With Long Pauses Or Complete Silence
I am all about the awkward silences. I am OK with them, I live in them, and when it comes to my kids, I’ve realized that sometimes silence is exactly what they need to work things out in their heads. My daughter especially, and as she learns to formulate more complex ideas and sentences, needs time and patience from the listener while she’s speaking. Girl, I am here for you.
You're Quick To Teach Your Children How To Respect Boundaries...
Us introverts need our space. Mental space, physical space, space space; I mean, you get the idea. I find myself being really upfront about teaching my kids the need for space. This is not an easy lesson to teach, mind you, but you can bet I’m making sure they learn, because I need it so desperately myself. This awareness of boundaries will translate to all sorts of social situations in the future. I hope.
...And About Consent
Teaching children consent is so very important if we aim to combat rape culture, and it can start at a very early age. There's no reason to even bring up the word "sex" when I teach my son and daughter about consent. Simply letting them know that their bodies are their own, and no one is allowed to touch them unless they give them permission (and they aren't allowed to touch anyone else without explicit permission) is an easy concept that even a toddler can understand (although, yes, it does take some time to learn).