It’s Hard to be an Introverted Parent

Some people might be surprised to hear this but I consider myself an introvert (and Myers Briggs agrees). I love hanging out with friends but don’t really like going places that I don’t know anyone and I’m not really good at schmoozing (at least it doesn’t feel natural). I’m starting to realize that having a kid can be very challenging for people like me.

Yesterday my daycare provider needed to take a sick day which meant I had to stay home from work (we use an in-home daycare). I decided to take my 18 month old daughter out to the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester, CT so that we could (1) get out of the house and (2) have some fun. Lillian loves animals, like REALLY loves them, and this museum has a whole room dedicated to them so it seemed like a good way to occupy the morning.

And it was a fun morning, don’t get me wrong.

But I had to interact with other parents and the introvert in me was quite uncomfortable. I was surprised by how many parents and kids were at the museum first thing in the morning – I had this idea that it would be just me and Lillian with maybe a handful of other kids. But nope, lots of kids and lots of moms.

Lillian is shy like her mama too but she isn’t as bothered by it as I am. I suppose that’s in large part because kids don’t get social cue’s yet so the fact that she just stands there and stares at the other kids without saying anything (not even a hi!) doesn’t matter. Kids can do that, grown ups can’t.

I’m not saying that I stand there and don’t say hi to anyone – the very opposite is true. I talk to the other parents but it’s hard for me, it’s not comfortable. My hands sweat a little and my heart beats a little faster. And yesterday I found myself wishing that all the other parents would just disappear so I could enjoy the museum with just my daughter.

What I’m learning as Lillian is getting older and we can take her out to do more stuff is that I’m going to have to work on not wanting to retreat back into my shell when we’re somewhere with lots of other parents and people. My introverted self wants to avoid places with lots of other people but I also want to give my kid lots of fun experiences, and I’ve got to let fun trump shyness.

Does anyone else go through this? Sending love to all my fellow introverted mamas!

4 thoughts on “It’s Hard to be an Introverted Parent

  1. Absolutely agree. I hate going to playdates and making grueling small talk with other parents. Oh, and Elise (above) got it right on point – I am not the party parent either. My husband and I agreed on that last year.

  2. My husband is just like this, and this really gives me a better perspective on it! I am the total opposite! If I go the children’s museum and it’s just us…I want to lose my mind. I NEED other moms to talk to. My older son is more introverted, and I really need to stop trying to change that. I’d love to hear how it was for you as a kid- did you prefer to be alone? Or did you like small groups?

  3. Ugh, yes, definitely. It gets worse as they get older with the playdates and birthday parties. It’s *known* in my house that I am not the birthday party parent. My extroverted wife chit chats and enjoys the cake while I stay home with the other kids – thank goodness.

  4. This is very timely for me because my daughter’s school recently had a Hanukkah celebration that I attended with her. All the parents were in the classroom with their kids, and they all seemed to know each other and were happily chatting away. I felt so awkward because I really didn’t have anything to say to the other parents. I am so bad at small talk. There have been many times in my life when I have experienced the sweaty palm feeling you are describing, though I have tried a couple of different things to help myself with it. I force myself into social situations. Avoiding them makes it worse, for me. So, yesterday, I was invited to a holiday party with people that I had once worked with a long time ago, but I hadn’t really been close with many of them and they all knew each other. My instinct was to say no, because I knew that I would struggle, but I forced myself to do it. Each time I do stuff like that, it gets a little easier. Not so say that it will ever be pleasant. At other times, I just embrace being an introvert because I don’t feel any social obligation to be friendly and outgoing at all times. Around complete strangers who I will never see again, I rarely bother to force it because it’s just not who I am, and that’s ok. I also have found that I love having people over at my house, and I although I sometimes feel nervous, I find that I can usually relax a lot more in that setting even with people I don’t know very well. And a glass or two of wine never hurts, lol.

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