When I was about 25 I took the Myers Briggs assessment. The first measure pegged me as 50/50 E/I, as much an introvert as an extrovert. My friends found this surprising “Really? I always think of you as so outgoing.” Little did they know.
Now nearly twenty years later that “I” side seems to be getting stronger. As I introduced more elements of “others” to my life, that little “I” side got really strong. In my twenties and thirties it was easier to be alone, to be quiet, to sit in my own head. I took all of that for granted – half the time I am not even sure I knew I was recharging.
Introduce husband and kids on top of work, etc. and my world changed.
I hope it goes without saying that my husband and kids are the most important thing to me. Without a doubt, full stop.
And yet I need to put my mask on first. This means different things for different people, but for me it means I absolutely must have quiet downtime, or time doing something on my own be that reading, cooking, working out. I can be around other people but my interactions with others might be less than normal. Being at home with the kids is awesome on weekends but it also means there is a constant buzzing of activity, of voices, of inquiry. “Can I have milk?” “What are we doing today?” “Where is the hammer?” and I don’t know about all of the other moms out there but in my house, 90% of the time I am the object of this inquiry.
I find it tiring. And then I feel bad about that because it’s my family and they’re awesome and nobody is sick and we live in a great place and who am I to complain. SUCK IT UP.
What happens then is the “Push Through.” Don’t we all do this? It works for a while. Until it doesn’t. Until you have an inkling that the dinner you planned to attend, the playdate you need to go to, may just be a little too much. The smart money doesn’t ignore the inkling. The funny thing about introversion is that it is really fucking fierce personality trait (not shy; not meek) and it will demand to be heard. Ignore it at your peril. You can take heed and say to your husband “Can you take the kids to this playdate?” and listen to yourself, OR you can Push Through, once again and well, it’s not pretty. In my case, ignoring the inkling too many times means I freak out about things that don’t matter. I can get mean. I am not a good mother or wife or friend in these moments.
It’s hard to accept this and not feel like a self-indulgent complainer. Life is good. We have food family and opportunities. I don’t worry about running out of water. But to be there for others, you’ve got to be there for yourself. This is ok. I keep telling myself this is OK.