My husband and I are big-time introverts: will having kids and losing our personal space be crazy for us? #I've got a parenting question!#friendships#grown ups#introverts#pre-trying to conceive#relationships March 1 2013 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Sometimes you need space. By: LearningLark – CC BY 2.0 Between babycrack moments and in-law pressures, my husband and I have been thinking about babies. In the past I didn't want to have children at all, but meeting my nephews and knowing what a wonderful person my husband is, I think that it is something I'd like for our future. In fact, I can totally see how we would rock parenthood with our nerdy ways. However, I am not sure how a child would fit into our small family, since both of us are quite introverted: we don't crave socializing and like our peace and quiet at home. I fear that the lack of privacy, personal space, quiet and time for us to recharge, could bring out a bad side of us and we'd slowly slide the horrible steep slope in becoming horrible parents that scar their children for life. Most of what I've found regarding introverted parenting have been in very religious blogs, where the advice is usually around prayer, resignation and sacrifice… not particularly useful for us. I'd like to know if there are any very introverted parents here at Offbeat Families, or children of introverts, and what advice they would give to other introverts like us. — Jules You might want to check out this post, also about introverted parents: How do you create a village for your child when you don't have a network? … but other than that, we'll open the question up to readers! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS Use bracelets to hack any behavior you wish to change NEXT 6 reasons toddlers are smarter than the rest of us Show/Hide comments [ 55 ] Both my husband and I are major introverts. We've spent many a night in separate rooms doing separate things and were completely happy because we just needed that quiet alone time. That being said, we do have kids and it was an adjustment, but not as big a one as we thought. When it was first just a baby, it was actually pretty easy because being with the baby was like being alone. Especially if baby was sleeping. 😉 Even my needy baby still felt like that. We would swap out taking the baby, but honestly it was never a huge chore for either of us. The difficult part came when the children got older. We definitely no longer get as much alone time and most certainly not as much quiet time. Something we found that was essential for our survival was communication. If one of us is feeling overdone, we just say it and the other jumps up to take control of the situation and lets the worn out parent have a break. Go take a walk, a shower, hide in the bathroom with a book for half an hour, whatever. We each knew what it felt like and how vital that down time was and insured the other was able to get it before they snapped. We also built the kiddos their own space and that helps a lot too. They'll go back to their playroom (a closet with a toy rack in it :P) and play alone together for long periods of time (30+ min). We can still hear them and swoop in to break up fights or whatever, but it also gives us the space we crave and allows us time to wind down and be together, something we had never had before. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while it's challenging, it's certainly doable to be completely introverted and have kids. Parenting is challenging for everyone, but we all make it through, because in the end we really love our kids. Being introverted parents has made my partner and I learn to communicate better. Our kids are happy, healthy, and still love us, so we must not be doing too badly, right? 5 agree Reply I like this suggestion about communication. It's so critical. I have friends who are parents and are introverts, too, and they seem to use this tactic with a lot of success. Their toddler son even knows when HE needs some time alone and is able to communicate that. 2 agree Reply Thank you for your perspective! I love the idea of having a play area for the kids: do you think it would be harder to have them play on their own if it was just one kid, or is it just a matter of teaching them to enjoy playtime on their own? 2 agree Reply That's honestly the best thing we've ever done! We did it just to reign in the explosion of toys, but the time they spend back there was an unexpected perk. My oldest son has always been fine playing by himself. There were times when he was a baby where he'd shoo me away because he wanted to play by himself. haha My youngest, on the other hand, can not stand to be alone. I think it's because he's never had to be. As long as brother is back there with him, he's fine even if they're not actually playing together, but if brother is at school or the grandparents' house, he needs extra attention, which is quite draining. I think because my oldest is a little more introverted, it's helped to get them to play together alone in their space. It's helped him immensely to have that space that belonged to just the two of them. He actually has his own space within their space that little brother can't reach or get into. We know what it feels like, so we definitely make an effort to give him the space and tools he needs to flourish in his introvertedness. 1 agrees Reply Growing up we had "quiet time" mandated every day for at least an hour. My mom would take a nap or do random things around the house and we were in our bedrooms. It wasn't playtime for us kiddos, it was 'quiet time.' We could read, sleep, play quietly, but it was a REALLY good thing for all of us. I plan on implementing it when my kiddo(s) get older! 5 agree Reply I used to run the after school care program at my school- we had 30 minutes of down time first thing after taking attendance. I started it for me (I also worked at the school and often wouldn't get a break) but eventually the kids would look forward to it. The older kids would use it to do homework, the younger kids would read/draw and some even napped or did quiet crafts like knitting. The expectation was every one would be calm, quiet and independent (within reason- they could always ask for homework help or help getting something out) for the entire time and then the rest of the afternoon was free reign. Parents loved it, kids loved it and this tired, introverted educator loved it the most. 1 agrees Reply I'm fairly introverted too, and sometimes it IS hard not to have time to myself, but mostly it's not at all an issue in the way you might think. A baby/child is family, which to me feels much less draining than being around others. Here are some other suggestions I have: 1. Read http://www.janetlansbury.com/ to learn about the RIE approach to raising babies. I only discovered it when my daughter was almost a year old, and I LOVE the value it places on respecting children, giving them space to explore and think, and respecting our own needs and limits as well. I really love Janet Lansbury's approach to babies and toddlers and think it's beautiful for any parent, but I think it fits especially well with introverted personalities. Your baby will need his or her own space as well, sometimes! 2. Take "me" time when your baby is sleeping, even if your baby is sleeping right on you (as my daughter STILL likes to do at 16 months). Don't try to get all your cleaning, cooking, etc. done while your child is asleep– take that time to read, talk to your husband, watch TV, go online, etc. (Or, if you're more mobile than I am usually when my baby sleeps, work on your hobbies then.) Cooking and cleaning are actually quite entertaining to babies and small kids, and they demand only part of your attention, so it's easier to do those when your baby is awake than it is to engage in more focused hobbies. Also, if she's awake and I'm starting to feel a bit ragged, I turn on NPR or music… somehow that makes it a lot easier for me to be calm and interested. 3. Really delight in your child and look for rhythms that work for you. I take a walk with my daughter in the fields around our home almost every morning, and it really recharges me and is GREAT fun for her. We talk some of the time and are silent at other times, and this fits my introverted personality a lot better than ALWAYS planning playdates or going to playgrounds where there are a ton of other kids. At the same time, my daughter loves being around other kids, and being a parent has made me more social too, strangely, so we also go to a library play group once a week and meet up with other parents sometimes too. I'm sure this will evolve as she gets older. You'll know when your daughter is ready for more socialization! She's also incredibly fun to be around (most of the time!) and very interesting to get to know. Basically, I don't think this is all that much of an issue– in a way, I think parenting might be harder on very extroverted people because they might need a lot of fun in the evenings or adult contact. It's a lot easier to recharge the introvert way. 🙂 Good luck! 5 agree Reply " I think parenting might be harder on very extroverted people because they might need a lot of fun in the evenings or adult contact. It's a lot easier to recharge the introvert way. Good luck!" OH! I had never seen it this way. It does seem that there are challenges on both sides of the fence! 2 agree Reply "Basically, I don't think this is all that much of an issue– in a way, I think parenting might be harder on very extroverted people because they might need a lot of fun in the evenings or adult contact. It's a lot easier to recharge the introvert way." i completely agree! for us it wasn't a huge lifestyle change like it would be for some people. Reply Thanks so much for your wonderful comment! You have made me feel so much more confident about the whole idea of being an introverted parent; particularly the bit where you pointed out that they are family, so they won't be nearly as tiring to deal with as other people. I don't know why this has never occurred to me! Also, love your tips. I will try to remember these if I ever do have children. Again, thanks so much! KA 🙂 Reply My husband and I are kind of in the same place. I want any potential kids of ours to grow up having at least a normal amount of socialization, but my husband and I don't really DO "social" that well. And don't want to, usually. And we really, REALLY appreciate our down-time and personal quiet-time. Heck, despite loving our pets like crazy, we sometimes get so consistently frustrated with them that we, very occassionally, regret getting them. I don't want to regret having kids! I look forward to any advice and help you all can give… 2 agree Reply I am an introvert with a 14 month old, and I have found that being around my kid feels different than being around other people. Most of the time I don't find it draining (in the same way as socializing, but not that it's not TIRING!). I practice attachment-style parenting and so we co-sleep and still breastfeed, and the only times I feel really drained is when the whining is out of control or he's playing with too many flashing/loud toys. I was always on the fence about becoming a mother and I am so glad that I am, because I LOVE it. Being an introvert parent can help teach kids a sense of independence and autonomy. Also…you might have an introvert kid and the match could be perfect 🙂 4 agree Reply This is awesome to read! I get very exhausted being around other kids, and I've been worried that when the baby gets here, it will be more of the same. It's nice to hear that it feels different! 🙂 Reply Yeah, I don't actually like kids all that much…about 20 minutes is all I can take before I start to go bonkers. It's why I was nervous about having kids…but this one is something special! I find myself even more tolerant, now, of other people's kids, but still…I don't want to take them home with me 🙂 5 agree Reply It's totally different! You need to be "on" all the time when you're around other people's kids… with your own kid, being engaged comes so much more naturally, but it doesn't feel like some big effort or performance. 3 agree Reply This is exactly how I think it will be for me! I spend all the time with me and my boyfriend inside. I dont have hobbies outside the house and am self employed at home. I dont go anywhere XD I am literally just inside all the time, usually working. I do workout in our home gym. BUT I never need time away from my boyfriend, I always love doing things with him and we are in the same room all day long. So together we are kind of extroverted towards each other. A baby would be like that as well I imagine, it is part of the family. And we have had very needy puppies/dogs and I had sleep issues years ago and I could handle it all very well 🙂 I had times where I woke up constantly in the night + I grind my teeth at night. But it didnt change much. I mean I was tired during the day sometimes but I still got through my masters in university with ease and it didnt alter my mood at all. And honestly when the child gets older and wants to do things outside, sure! In my time as a child my mom just dropped me of at friends and stuff, at dance class whatever… no big deal. It is not like I am afraid of the world:D I have done so many things like backpacking and travelling with my dance group and so on. I did always crave to be back home tho 😛 I think if you look up "homebody" in the dictionary, there is a picture of me XD And I never used to want kids, but I met the love of my life honestly, we have been together 3 years and we are so compatible and he is so caring. I think being a child will be easier for us than many people with different personalities. So I did start wanting children with him, he brought it up first as he really wants children 🙂 1 agrees Reply My husband and I consider ourselves introverts (in the sense that we need to be alone to recharge) and both of us are really loving being parents. There's something about that little person that makes you not mind having them around. What helps us is knowing when to pass the baby off. I know that when my husband gets home, he needs a little time to decompress before helping with baby things and he knows the same about me and lets me browse Pinterest a bit before asking for baby help. We also have a really great support system. Twice a week our boy goes over to my parents' house, my sister will often come down on weekends to hang out with him and we live with my mother in law so if we want to go out for dinner, she will watch the baby. I think the biggest thing to remember though, is that it is OK to take some you time and not to feel guilty about it. A happy mommy (or daddy) is the best mommy. Reply I also second the RIE recommendation. It works well for us and both of us are introverts. There is also the possibility that your child will be introverted as well. There isn't much to read on introverted babies, but our 3rd on surprised us by being just that. Our 2nd wasn't introverted until he was older and our 1st is an extrovert. Reply I'm not particularly extroverted, but also not quite an introvert. My husband on the other hand, is very introverted with a fair bit of social anxiety. I think it took both of us some time to adjust to having a kid simply because the time we usually spent quietly being together reading or watching a movie was reduced drastically. One of us had to be with the baby and the other had to do the 10 million other things involved in keeping us fed along with keeping four animals cared for and a house in livable condition. I know for me, there was a fair bit of resentment for our very wanted baby in the beginning that really only went away once the baby started being more responsive. My husband has become a wonderful father though and I know he enjoys the time he spends with our son just the two of them. He will have conversations with him and play with him knowing that at 11 months, it's not all that important that he be funny or interesting as long as he just engages with him. I think my only worry as a relatively introverted team is that because neither of us are particularly chatty, we aren't talking enough to help his speech development as much as parents who are constantly narrating their lives to the baby…but I'm sure he'll be fine. 1 agrees Reply I second what's been previously said about making sure you give each other breaks. Introverted or not this is really important and can help you feel less worn out and ready to play candyland for the 8 millionth time. We make a point to communicate and do things like "ok this weekend, can I take a few hours and go do XYZ on my own." or even just coordinating so one person can have an hour of alone time one night & trade off. Sometimes even just getting out of the house and wandering my favorite store sans kids for an hour can be rejuvenating. Sometimes you just need it and recognizing that and allowing yourself to need it is important. It took me a while to figure it that out because it made me feel guilty but sometimes letting yourself be a little "selfish" and schedule whatever "me" time you need can make you a better parent. I'm a huge introvert living in a house of extroverts so they don't always "get it" when I need quiet time but they respect it. 1 agrees Reply Thank you all for your input, it has been great to read on how it hasn't been hard, or how you've made it work, it makes me feel more positive about this. I somehow had the impression that having the baby would be the most exhausting part, since they are kind of 24/7… but reading your comments it seems that babies are the easier part! I'm looking forward to reading more about how to survive introverted parenthood! 1 agrees Reply I find that a lot of people who don't like kids or people in general like their own kids, and I'm one of them. I mean, you're making your own people that will most likely pick up a lot of your quirks and interests. Although I know you never said you didn't like them, just that you like your own space. I would never have described myself as introverted but I guess I kind of am? My partner and I get along fine in social situations but neither of us really crave it, we prefer to stay in and do our own thing. Since having my second and third child close together I've become more introverted than ever. I have no desire to be among people that aren't my family. That being said…it all kind of depends on your situation. Right now because of financial and credit issues, my family of five is in a two-bedroom apartment that's less than 900 sq feet. People do it, it's not the worst, my partner works a lot and my oldest is in school but when we're all here, it can feel like we're all on top of each other. No one really has their own space. I don't love it, and having two under two definitely leaves us both wanting for quiet alone time. But it won't always be this way and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Like previous posters have mentioned, having one baby or even one toddler doesn't really feel much different. As they get older and start asking a billion questions, it can leave you feeling a little drained but by that time you're pretty attached to them, ha. And I think it's perfectly fine to send a school-age child away to play or find something to do besides pester you. My mom did. My best childhood memories were playing outside by myself or with my sisters or neighbor kids. Memories that mostly didn't involve my parents and that's okay. Basically if you're in a position to create separate space for your kids, yourself, and your spouse, do. If not, you'll adjust. Having kids radically alters priorities, I've found. And you can definitely take time for yourself when it gets to be too much, without screwing up your kids. As others have said, communication is key. I've told my oldest before that i love him dearly and I'm interested in everything he has to say, but I'm feeling stressed out and just need a few minutes of him not asking me a billion questions. He says okay and then we talk after I've had a breather. I tend to get overstimulated easily and I don't want to make a mistake and snap out of frustration. 3 agree Reply Oh heavens, that sounds JUST like us/me. o_0 Jumping in here to raise my hand in agreement and support. 🙂 Ours are 12, 7, and 18months with two elderly cats in a 900 sq. ft. ranch, it's crazy! Still, they're ours, and I will say the ONE thing I really wish for was more space for us all to spread out and have quiet time. The differences in ages make group play a little awkward. Reply My husband and I are both introverts as well. We have a 2.5 year old and a three month old. Their presence isn't the problem, I don't really mourn my alone time, they do go to bed and that gives me the time I need to have my space. Our problem is that we were such introverts pre kids that we don't have a lot of friends, we moved out to the burbs and our nature made it easy to not get out and meet our neighbors and people in our community, and on top of this both our families live out of town. Being introverted is so fundamental to my personality that despite knowing that I should be making other parent friends for the sake of my kids, I really haven't, and neither has my husband so my kids aren't getting the same level of social interaction I'm sure other kids do. I had every intention of trying to get out of my bubble and be more social for my kids sake, but I underestimated my own nature. Perhaps your situation is different enough that you won't have to worry about socialization. I wouldn't change having my kids if I had this insight ahead if time though. Just some food for thought. 1 agrees Reply I sure wish I had thought to ask the wider world about this when I started realizing I was feeling overwhelmed! I m an introvert, my husband isn't really – though we both prefer quiet evenings at home to going out. About a month before our daughter was born (she's 6 now), I had an epiphany about what a change a child was actually going to make, particularly to my need for quiet and space. I had a hard time adjusting to the 24/7-ness of parenting, and went back to volunteering a couple hours a week when she was 5 months, and working 1/2 day a week at 7 months, just to get out and have other things going on. We decided very early on that one child was enough for us, even though I'm really close to my sister and had dreamed of having 2 kids with that relationship. But it feels right, our family is perfect the way it is. It has definitely gotten easier the older DD gets, she is very independent and I can often do what I need to do when we're home together. Though I'm looking forward to her being able to understand when I tell her I need half an hour alone – now that just makes her want me around more. Kids are amazing! And going in knowing what you need will help you plan for getting your space when you need it. Reply My husband is a major introvert and I swing back and forth between the two. Having a kid is actually the perfect excuse to not go out and socialize. He's 14 months right now and we've been SO lucky that he loves to sleep well. Since 9 months he was sleeping straight from 7pm to 7am, which gives us a lot of time in the evening to do what we want. He's also been taking two 2-hour naps during the day which also gives us unwinding time. On weekends, we switch days for who gets to sleep in. That gives each of us some time to relax in the mornings like we used to. And like other posters have said, if one of us gets overwhelmed (which any kid could do to any parent at some point!) the other one steps up. Again, as others have said, communication as a couple is key. Make your needs and desires clear. Never assume the other person ought to know when they should step up. Take care of your partner's needs is just as important as caring for the kids 🙂 Reply There are two sides of this: if what you crave are evenings home alone with your husband, then a baby is the world's best excuse for making this happen. Social obligation came up that you're not really into? "Sorry, we've got to stay home with the baby!" The lack of TRUE alone time has made me a little crazy, though, and sometimes I don't want to hang out with anyone at all – even my husband, which is hard for him to take. But after a whole day of not even being alone to pee, or not being able to read a book for half an hour, or watch any of the TV I want, I often want to crawl into my shell as soon as the baby goes to sleep. If you and your husband are good at being "alone together" then you can bypass this – but sometimes my husband wants the kind of focused attention that I've been giving the baby all day, and I've got none left. 1 agrees Reply I can't add to what's already been said. I'm an introvert, and did find it challenging to always have someone NEED me. I made the mistake of devoting everything to my child and family, and not doing things for myself that are recharging to me. I'm getting better at it now. So yes, communicate with your partner, respect your limits, and understand that taking care of yourself is as important (maybe more?) as taking care of baby. It's the "oxygen mask" approach to parenting…like they say on airplanes, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others…or you'll pass out and be useless. You will find what works. Trust yourself in that. 1 agrees Reply Hi total nerd introvert librarian cat lady here 🙂 Its been hard for us because my husband and I are introverts, me more than him but the older he gets the more introverted he becomes. We've got a very social three year old to contend with. And I agree with the first poster: communication! We have manufactured into our weekly sched who is alone and when. Every Friday he takes over and I can do whatever with my only responsibility being a good night hug which leaves me free to hide in the bedroom, he gets Saturday night. We have also scheduled the little guy to have an early bedtime (7:30) which leaves us a few hours after he goes to bed to sit in the same room and not talk to each other and do our own thing. One or two Sunday's a month one parent will take the kid out all day, to the zoo or museum or something to guarantee a blissful quiet afternoon for the other person. Our real lifesaver has been day care. Little guy goes full time all week because we both work, but even if we didn't he'd go full time. It give Little guy the ability to be out and social and hamming it up for an extended audience. He gets what he needs which makes it easier on the nights and weekends with us when we are more chill and home centered. Like you we didn't set out to be parents and didn't feel a life long call. And none of that suck it up and deal crap that just leads to resentment and therapy bills for everybody. If you want to do it do it, if not totally cool. 3 agree Reply I'm probably not an introvert, but I certainly worried pre-children about the effect of motherhood on me, given that I have this very strong need to feel that I am forming my own personality and not being buffetted by external forces. In the end, it's worked out fine and i haven't had identity issues or any resentment. But I know I'm quite fortunate as I seem to have two children who are on the less demanding end of the scale, and we also made sure we lived close to family, so downtime is an option. Remember that the health of your relationship is important to the baby too, but it does sound like you're already well tuned in to that idea – don't drop it! I'd recommend have a network, if possible, who can support you and give you that space. Reply My husband is an introvert and I am an something of an extrovert. There was certainly a learning curve in the beginning of our relationship. Even now, he sometimes has to reiterate his need for down time to me. The same is true with his daughter. For the most part, we know him and we know what he needs, but sometimes she has to be reminded that while Dad is really funny and awesome, he needs breaks and quiet time to stay happy. While not exactly related, this reminds me of this older post about dealing with children and overstimulation. http://offbeatfamilies.com/2011/11/what-an-overstimulated-mom-empathetic-toddler-and-the-care-bears-have-it-common Reply I think a lot of people have already mentioned things that I did, but I just wanted to say that this was a huge worry for me, and it's turned out all right. The biggest thing is to know yourself and to not be afraid (or feel guilty about) taking time for yourself. Ask your husband for a couple of hours to drink coffee and read a book on your own if you need it, and if he is also an introvert do the same for him. For me the biggest things were: 1) schedule alone time (even if only an hour) every week, 2) teach him to play by himself (I started this by sitting back and letting him 'self-entertain' even if I was sitting right next to him when he was 2 and 3 months old. I didn't do this ALL the time, but I made a concerted effort to give him small amounts every day, increasing it as he got older and could go longer & at 15 months he can do 30 -45 min by himself), 3) Utilize naps for self-time, not just cleaning (if the house is a disaster, I set a timer for 10-15 minutes of cleaning time then the rest of the nap is my time!), 4) set up evening as adult time (usually this is quiet companionship time for my husband and I where we're each doing our own thing, but sometimes it's conversation time, depending upon our current states, what we have going on, etc) I think for me the biggest and hardest thing was to not feel guilty about employing margin time. Once I got over that and set up methods that worked, it's been fine. I don't get as MUCH quiet time as I used to and there are definitely nights where I'm worn out and I just want to sit down and chill with a book or television rather than feed & bathe a kid, but I think that would likely be true whether I was an introvert or an extrovert. Over-all, I was way more worried than I needed to be. 3 agree Reply I'm way down the introvert scale. Hubby is pretty introverted too, but not quite as much. Here's my survival list: 1. Read good books before the kid gets there. I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block, the Five Love Languages of Children and if you don't know much about children (they were never my thing) What to Expect the First Year. 2. Learn to ask for and accept help. This was hard for me. I'm not good at verbalizing my needs. It does help when you have post-partum depression to express those feelings. It helps to let someone else sit with the baby one day a week. Ask hubby to take the baby when he gets home so you can have a shower. 3. Baby's nap time is your nap/ browse the internet/ rest time, not clean all the things time. 4. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done. 5. Feel free to say no to other people, especially grabby people who want to hold the baby before her vaccinations. 6. When people want to meet the new baby, set an admission price of bringing food or cleaning something for you. This will keep many people out of your hair. I'm doing pretty well. I just went off of my Zoloft that I took while the post-partum and winter depression that ganged up on me, and baby and I are pretty used to each other now. Being with her isn't as hard as being in a group of people. 2 agree Reply We're introverts! I agree with the people who say that their own child doesn't bother them so much — I nanny, and I've found that I am so much more socially exhausted on the days that the girl I nanny is here than on the days I'm home with just my son. My child is probably an introvert, too, as he and I seem fairly happy doing our own things most of the day — he'll play kitchen while I cook, or putter around on mysterious toddler business while I do whatever it is I need to do. I do have to go out of my way to get my child some social interaction, but it's good for me, too. My nature is to stay inside, alone, and I find that I'm healthier overall if I push myself a bit to spend time with other people. Things that have made it easier for me to be an introverted parent include: 1) Being alone in the evenings. When my son is asleep, about half the time my partner and I hang out, but the rest of the time, I do my own thing without talking to other humans. It's great. 2) Self-dates. My partner regularly watches our son so I can go out and sit in a coffee shop and read a book or take a walk alone. I do the same for him. 3) For whatever reason, clutter and mess make me feel agitated. I don't know if this is an introverted tendency or not, but the way I feel around clutter is the same way I feel after I go to a big party. At the end of the day, after my son is asleep, I find it very calming to put all of the toys away and make the space tidy. I think of it as preparing the room for my relaxation. Usually my partner and I do this together. Things I'm looking forward to: 1) We're about to have the room for a dedicated play space. I am eager to have the toy detritus out of the living room for the most part. 2) When my son was about 10 months old, my partner and I agreed that I would benefit tremendously from an annual weekend-long retreat — ALONE. We haven't been able to make that a reality yet, because of finances and the particulars of our child, but it's in the works. When I'm having a rough day, I daydream about it. 1 agrees Reply My husband and I are introverts and we have twins (6 months). I think the hardest part hasn't been the lack of alone time due to the babies, but rather the lack of alone time due to visitors. I hadn't really anticipated this before the babies were born but we have had a LOT of people visit us, to the point where weekends without guests in some fashion are few and far between, and we have to schedule visitors months in advance because of this calendar. It is nice to have the outpouring of love from friends and family, but it is also hard to be entertaining so often. We could potentially say no, but it feels wrong to me to say no to people who want to meet the babies, especially family who just want to connect with them. So … yeah. Six months in and we are still figuring it out. I want a day off to be alone but I don't know when / how that will happen (leaving twins with other care givers means sometimes the schedule is off and it can end up resulting in no sleep the following night, long story). Basically, it's hard. But I wouldn't give up having kids in order to have more alone time. I figure at some point they will be older and will play by themselves during the day, or their schedules won't be so fragile so maybe I will be more comfortable leaving them with people and going off to do whatever, and so our lives won't feel quite so packed. Maybe. Hopefully. 🙂 Reply Say no! It's hard, but you really have to respect your own needs and boundaries. I think it's ok to tell people you need visits spaced out more, much as you love them. 6 month old twins are the perfect excuse! 2 agree Reply I'm an introvert, while my husband is definitely not. However — I think your own children affect you in a way that is significantly different from any other people. I mean, I get really tired of even my friends and want to be alone sometimes. But I don't get tired of being around my husband. I feel like it will be the same way with my children (only one toddler so far — of whom I do not get tired. I get tired *because* of him and his million midnight wakeups, but not tired *of* him!) I know other introverts who have felt the same way. It is certainly true that you may need to put some boundaries in place (i.e., quiet times after naps are given up, no-bothering-mommy-until-the-small-hand-is-on-the-eight in the morning, etc), especially as children grow older. But remember that you are the architect of your life, and of your children's lives as well, until they grow old enough to handle some of that responsibility themselves; you can shape your space and structure any way you want to give yourself what you need. Sure, if you have some extroverted children, you're going to all need to compromise to some extent — and even if you have introverted children, you may want to encourage them to branch out socially sometimes — but that is just personal growth, and healthy for everyone to learn to compromise. 3 agree Reply My husband and I are both introverts – which is a curse and a blessing when you're a stay at home mom. Our little 9 month boy is super social and wants me all the time – which sometimes gets to me at about … oh 6pm. Being a SAHM lets me take my personal time during his naps. Having a kid makes me more social than I am by nature, which isn't a bad thing at all! It's enriched me. However, if I wasn't a SAHM and worked, I would not be a happy camper. My husband has even less time for himself now that he has a kid and helps me out when he gets home, so I block off some weekend time for him to do his own projects and things while I watch the babe. 1 agrees Reply "I fear that the lack of privacy, personal space, quiet and time for us to recharge, could bring out a bad side of us" As a step parent (and introvert), this has been the biggest challenge to our marriage. I went from living alone for ten years to have two step kids around 24/7 — HUGE adjustment for me. Communication about time away in a bedroom reading with the door closed does not = being mad, but simply needing to be away from all the NOISE was difficult for my partner to understand. I do think to some degree that when they're your own, it's different, but that doesn't change that they'll be watching the same obnoxious tv shows or barging into the bathroom while you're using it, and those things take some time to adjust to or time to create new rules/expectations. I also think that I'm able create enough alone time for myself, but with two kids around, I lack quality alone time with my partner; by the time the kids are in bed, we're both exhausted. 2 agree Reply I found that my own children were less of a mind frenzy than other peoples. Because I know their personalities and they know mine, it is easier to maintain the balance that I need and in turn they have encouraged me to expand my boundaries and be comfortable with it. I had issues as the kids got older and friends started coming over to visit, but sure enough they mostly are more interested in playing with each other than chatting to mum so that works out too. I still struggle with having to make small talk with my kids friends parents, and that's probably the hardest issue I have going when it comes to being a quiet person with kids. I ache for the time we can just drop and run, or the kids can make their own way to their friend's houses. My mothers day present has always been that my husband takes our kids and disappears before I wake up and doesn't come back for the day. It is DIVINE! Overall, working with each other – spouse and kids – means you can find your alone time even in each others company. 3 agree Reply I so had the same issue!!! My kid no problem, her friends – eminently doable, having to chat up parents at school events, kid parties the like – nightmare!!!! I was a young parent living with my grandparents in a fairly well to do neighborhood so the age gap between me and most of the parents at my daughter's grade school was consistently close to 20 years – shy, introverted and teenage parent – THAT was much more challenging than interacting with my daughter!! 1 agrees Reply OMGosh, the parents, the parents, the parents. Glad I'm not the only one on this! I still struggle and am hugely confused when those parents identify as my 'friends' when I'm struggling to get through the conventional hello's. It definitely makes me wonder if I am putting too high a standard on friendship, or if other people just have super amazing comfort levels! 2 agree Reply My opinion is to be taken with a grain of salt as stepparenting is different than raising a child from infancy. My husband and I are both extremely introverted. He had a four-year-old daughter when I met him, and it was definite adjustment. I jumped into the "mommy" role quickly. He was laid off shortly after we met and I was unemployed, so we never spent more than a day apart our whole relationship. We've had a handful of date nights when his family took pity on us, but we don't get much just-us time, much less time just to ourselves. My stepdaughter has some attachment issues due to her birth mother's neglect and trouble with speech and comprehension from the same. She wants to be with someone ALL THE TIME….if you've heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder, she's close to that description. Because of the aforementioned problems, it's hard to be comfortable with leaving her with a sitter. I feel like I would have to teach someone we left her with a whole new language just to deal with her for a few hours. It is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting at times to be with her all day (I'm a stay-at-home mom.) I went through a depression for awhile where I overused the tv as a babysitter. She recently started half-day pre-k and that has taken some of the strain off, but her energy level is still hard to keep up with. I hope I don't sound like the Debbie Downer here, I wouldn't trade her for the world and we're trying for a baby of our own, but I want to paint a realistic picture as to help people "on the fence" make an informed decision. My husband is wonderful about taking over when I need a break, and I try to do the same for him. Like other posters mentioned, it is important to teach children how to entertain themselves. As she has gained confidence that I'm not going anywhere, we've been able to ease into alone play and she has become quite good at entertaining herself. Her communication abilities are gaining by leaps and bounds and she is such a delight to talk to. Her entire demeanor lights up when she tells me a story. There is no feeling in the world better than when a little pair of knowing eyes stare into yours and the accompanying little mouth says, "I love you, Mommy." This parenting thing is by far the most stressful and rewarding task I've ever taken on. 1 agrees Reply This has been on my mind alot lately. We're not even discussing having children eventually, but still, it's one of those things I think about. I work with kids all day- and have for the past ten years. I LOVE my job, and even as an introvert I think it works well for me because the kids are all 'my people'- not the public, not a social world but a community. It still exhausts me and I still require a long recharge session when I get home, but I do love being with seven year olds all day. My concern is- what if my partner and I do decide to have kids? It takes so long for me to 'get myself back ' at the end of each day, I feel that it would be unfair for all of us (me, husband, potential children). There isn't much left of me at the end of the day, even if I do love my job and feel greatly rewarded by it. I'm sad to say I think I would have to stop working- or at least working the way I do. Which breaks my heart, but I know I would not be able to function. My husband and I are both fairly introverted with plenty of social anxiety added into the mix- I think a baby/child wouldn't be a problem for us, but I do think the onslaught of friends and family and interactions with the medical world/all the baby events would run me down pretty fast. I've joked that I'm never going to tell anyone I'm pregnant until the baby is 3 just for that reason. sorry for the ramble- I have lots of THOUGHTS about this but no action or suggestion. I guess I'm just trying to say that I totally feel you and I totally don't know what to do. 1 agrees Reply I worked with preschoolers from the time I started working until I was pregnant with my daughter. I chose to stay at home partially for this reason – it wouldn't have been fair to either my daughter or myself if I was spending all my energy on other people's children instead of my own. No matter how much a really liked those children. On the other hand, my mum – less of an introvert than I am, but most people are – managed it for years as the owner of a preschool and a single mother. This may depend on your family/friends of course, but I found that pregnancy and having a new baby were the perfect 'excuse' to not be a social butterfly. Leave your baby shower halfway through to take a nap? Why not? LOL Reply I worried so much about this. But your kids just become part of you as a couple. It's weird. It isn't like your family growing up, the way you might now view your parents or siblings. Having a child is like falling in love all over again and you want to be homebodies WITH THEM. At least for me. I am super private. I hate when people just drop by or overstay their welcome. But my kid just meshed into our family unit. And as far as being an introvert in other situations, kids are a great buffer! They make a great excuse and help situations feel less awkward. 2 agree Reply I'm not particularly introverted anymore, but I help out my sister who has a lot of social anxiety issues. I take my nephews to the park and on small vacations and did some play groups with them. If you have a friend that likes kids and is possibly more extroverted than you are, you should sit down with them and ask if they'd be willing to take on the role of special aunt/uncle for social functions. Reply It's been tough on me. My daughter's 14 months now, and it's been tough in different ways at different stages. At this age, she is clearly an extrovert and needs to get out of the house at least once a day or she goes bananas. That's tough on the days when I would really prefer to stay at home. But her sleep schedule is more regular now, so I can count on getting alone time during her nap and after bedtime. Honestly I think the infant stage was harder on me. It's true that spending time with an infant is very different than spending time with an adult or an older child, so your mileage may vary, but what was especially tough for me was the lack of routine. She would sleep a lot but when she woke up she needed me RIGHT THEN, not in five minutes. Having to switch my focus over to her 100% with no warning was really tough. I don't think it's making me a horrible parent, though, or even a grumpy parent (more than normal, anyway). It's definitely important to both me and my husband to prioritize our alone time, and we'll schedule our weekends and evenings so we both get that. It just takes being conscious about your needs, I think. 1 agrees Reply Love all the advice here! I just wanted to add that, if you end up with extroverted or high-energy children (raises hand) you may want to look into child care, playgroups, extra-curricular activities, or enrichment classes for the kids. It gives them the interaction they need and some quite alone time for the parents. I've also had to learn to communicate with other parents or teachers about my needs: "I know that all the parents are expected to volunteer, but I'm very introverted and find that level of interaction difficult. Could I do something a little quieter to contribute? I'm totally happy doing the paperwork, baking things to drop off, or even cleaning up after activities." Honestly, I think it's good for kids (and adults) to learn that people have different needs, different strengths, and how to work with those differences. 1 agrees Reply I totally agree that one's own child doesn't feel like "other people," and that personal time is a major necessity. We have really enjoyed how much control over our social time our now 13-month old has given us; we can always skirt a social situation we're just not into by saying that we really need some family time (usually true) and can we reschedule a smaller, more intimate get-together later? We're a weird sort of introverted that actually loves socializing – just only on our own terms and without our boundaries – and parenthood has helped us feel more comfortable being assertive about what we need and when. It's not just about us anymore! Reply It's great that you are thinking about this. I am pretty introverted but never really considered how having kids would affect me in light of that. I think I just didn't realize how all-consuming kids can be – while I knew that we wouldn't be going out to dinner and movie as often, I didn't know that I would lose, for example, my habit of drinking coffee and reading quietly in the mornings, alone. In my first year of motherhood I frequently felt guilty that I kept mentally "checking out," thinking that it just meant that I was selfish. If my baby was happily playing I would open a book and sit near him, but I thought I was supposed to be interacting with him constantly. I just couldn't do it. I finally forgave myself when it clicked that I am just an introvert who needs to retreat to recharge. If you tend to your child's needs first you absolutely deserve little breaks when you can find them! My two kids are still quite small but they are both pretty good about entertaining themselves for periods of time. If you and your spouse are both introverted, chances are decent that your biological children will be as well. It still can be draining but being aware that you need alone time to be a good parent is more than half the battle. Good luck! 1 agrees Reply Thank you for this! For the longest time I was afraid to even think about having a child. We are both homebodies and truthfully, my anxiety is so bad that it's difficult to even go to the grocery store. I'm on medication, but it doesn't erase the general fuckery that is my brain. I'm afraid that I would be a huge failure as a parent because I wouldn't be able to mimic the "perfect mother" image who is able to pull together that last minute bake sale or hosts the most fun birthday parties that are still the talk of the neighborhood years later. I'm not that person and having a child wouldn't transform me Cinderella-style. My partner and I like our personal space and it feels overwhelming to think about another person coming into our small world, but this gives me a LOT to think about. Thank you for opening my eyes. I'm not really sure what I could handle, but this brings me some sort of comfort that working as a team, if we decide to have a child, we could be good parents even if we're a little different… 1 agrees Reply I'm not a parent but was really interested in this post. I worry about what it will be like when baby finally comes along as we tend to be quite sensitive people and like our own peace and quiet. I found this book to be helpful in understanding my own sensory needs and the idea of ways to cope if my child is different to myself – Living Sensationally: Understanding your senses by Winnie Dunn http://www.amazon.com/Living-Sensationally-Understanding-Your-Senses/dp/1843109158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362891752&sr=8-1&keywords=living+sensationally Reply I'm an extrovert myself, though I have a group of friends that is skewed strongly towards introversion. At least two sets of parents are quite introverted, and their children seem to be doing very well. They come to get-togethers when they feel up for it, and leave when they need to. The two I am thinking of in particular each have one introverted child (and one extroverted, LOL), and perhaps the best thing to come out of this is that each introverted kid has parents who *really get it*. I would encourage you not to worry so much about it. There are a LOT of "right" ways to parent, and parenting happens gradually over a long haul… there's a LOT of room to make corrections along the way. I would say, if you want to have children (in your own opinion, not the in-laws'), I would encourage it. I know I find that sharing my "space" with my own kids is qualitatively different from sharing it with anyone else, except my partner. If you can comfortably share space with your husband, you will probably be comfortable around your kids. Reply It depends a lot on the baby's personality and on the support system you have available. I am very introverted but only found out that I am a hardcore introvert after my son was born. My son was an incredibly challenging baby who only slept 3o minutes during daytime and 12 hours at night. When he was awake, he had to constantly be entertained or he would cry the whole house down. I've tried absolutely everything to try to make him sleep longer/more often, but nothing worked. He was an extremely active baby and now at 5 years old, he still is a ball of energy. When he started speaking, I realized how draining it is. My son talks constantly and in a very loud voice (it's one of his ways to release his energy) and is very enthusiastic about everything, which is awesome. But it is SO draining for me. Daily life is a constant struggle because I don't have enough downtime/quiet time. I long for the days when he has his buddies and can talk to them 🙂 He also is very, very strong-willed and already great at arguing. I need to constantly be on "Top Of The Game", otherwise I lose my authority. Which is also making me sad and tired. After having my son, which I love very, very much, I realized that for my personality type, it would be best to not have children. Unless you have A LOT of support and an "easy" baby/child. 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.