Sometimes, parenting feels like being thrown into a mosh pit. The similarities are uncanny. It’s often loud, a blur of limbs flying, pushing and shoving on purpose, screaming and occasional bloodshed.
If you can keep your cool and move through it intuitively, you’ll come out unscathed. Maybe.
Is it just like this at my house?
Homeschooling has exploded the chaotic element of my life, as expected. I also expected to be able to keep my center, have time to focus on my writing, possibly time to tweeze my eyebrows before I start to look like Joe Jonas.
I thought I would have a little bit of time to be the introvert that I am, but it’s like trying to meditate in a mosh pit.
I can’t take credit for the phrase meditating in a mosh pit. I think it’ s an absolutely brilliant way to describe how it feels to be an introvert in a world of extroverts. Author Laurie Helgoe gets full credit. Her book Introvert Power resonates so deeply with me. It’s so insightful that I am savoring last every word. Quietly.
I love solitude. I know that extroverts cannot relate to this. I’ve been encouraged all my life to be more assertive, more aggressive, more whatever.
“Your nature is not the problem. The problem is that you have become alienated from your nature — from your power source.” Laurie Helgoe
Extroverts are energized by being around people. Introverts are strengthened when they have time to look within. This is often misunderstood.
The truth is, I’m not shy. I’m not afraid of social situations. I just don’t always want to participate. At least not constantly. I need time to decompress, reflect on every little thing, think things over after intense social interaction and maybe stare at the wall for a while.
Then there’s the issue of small talk. Chit chat. Superficial daily interaction.
The book explains in detail why small talk is so painful for many introverts. Although I’ve become an expert at chit chat and talking about the weather, I really want to get down to the heart level. I want to know what makes you tick. I want to know, without having to take the time to discuss the rain on the way, how are you really doing? Are you good? If you could do anything in the world instead of what you are doing right now, what would it be? Why?
That would be weird if I asked, right? It’s not about curiosity, it’s about connection. I think if I can find out something real about someone, then I can find common ground between us.
I love common ground.
“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.” Laurie Helgoe
I’m learning to cut myself some slack here, when I want to pull back a little. It’s what I need to be happy. I need mind space to recharge. A mani-pedi and a glass of wine doesn’t do it for me. When I feel worn out, I need to be alone.
This can be a problem in my current situation, you know, being home with the kids all day. I take little breaks and go to a quiet room, like a mommy time out.
The book also brought something important to my attention. What if you have an introverted child, how do you handle it? My youngest pulls away from social situations after an hour or two. This worried me, until I realized that she was doing exactly what I do. She was trying to recharge with some alone time. After about 2 hours of socializing, she’s done.
Do you have an introverted child? Let them BE. Encourage them to socialize, but please, don’t push or force them. That may make them feel like there is something wrong. They will obviously internalize it.
Nearly half on the people on this planet are introverts. I know it doesn’t appear that way. Too many of us are in hiding and pretending. Without introverts, the world would be lost. We are the writers, the research scientists, the artists and the engineers. The world needs us.
So, if you are an introvert pretending to be an extrovert (eh hem Facebook faker, get the hell out of the closet) know this: you don’t need to hide this part of yourself. Embrace it.
Finally, for all the wonderful extroverts out there reading this (you know who you are because you don’t get what I’m saying at all), we love you. We don’t want to be you. Please keep the following advice in mind: