You can’t wait to get away from your kids. Your partner too, for that matter. You can’t wait to have no physical contact with other humans whatsoever. You long for silence.
You just wish your family would leave you alone.
And you feel guilty as hell about it.
But what if feeling this way were completely normal?
What if needing physical and emotional distance from your family in order to re-energize was actually considered the socially accepted, healthy thing to do? What if if were even considered necessary?
Thanks to the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain, we’re all a little more aware of the nature of introverts. They’re not antisocial; they gain their energy from being alone. They’re not aloof; they tend to think through their ideas before saying anything out loud. They’re not standoffish; they become overwhelmed by too much physical contact.
Put this way, parenting is just about the hardest job an introvert can have. Long hours of constant chatter, continuous human contact, little time to themselves.
Without the opportunity to be alone and recharge, introverted parents can quickly find themselves on a freight train toward burnout. But our need for separation, solitude, and quiet remains mired in guilt.
What we as a society forget, and what introverts need to get better at vocalizing, is that having time to ourselves is not indulgent. It’s not about taking a bath or painting our toenails: it’s survival.
Required for our mental health.
Not wanting to be with your children – even feeling drained by their constant physical and emotional presence – does not make you a bad mother.
Not wanting to be intimate with your partner after a day of having children in your personal space does not make you a bad partner.
It makes you an introverted person who is attuned to her needs.
I challenge you to take it one step further and own it, mama. Make sure everyone in your household knows how important your solitary re-charge time is, and make it happen. Because it’s absolutely not self-indulgent: it’s self-preservation.
Are you an introverted parent? Have you felt guilty about needing time to yourself?
How do you recharge your batteries after a day with the kids?