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8 Struggles Only Introverted Parents Would Understand

8 Struggles Only Introverted Parents Would Understand

Whether you are a parent or not, if you openly declare yourself to be an introvert, you are likely to come across extroverts who will tell you that you are not an introvert. They tell you that the things you feel are the same as everyone else feels. They don’t really get it. Sorry extroverts, but you don’t. Nobody is 100% introverted or extroverted of course, it’s a scale. We can all exhibit traits of both at different times, but almost all of us will be predominantly more one way than the other.

One of the key differences is that introverts get their energy from being alone, and extroverts get their’s from being around people. That doesn’t mean that introverts never enjoy being with others, or that extroverts never want to be alone, it’s just about what we need in order to recharge. The manifestation is that introverts are more likely to feel awkward and uncomfortable in social situations than extroverts.

When we understand the differences, it becomes clear that there are certain struggles which are going to be more pronounced for introverted parents.

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1. We lose our alone time

Before having kids, we naturally had regular alone time. It was way easier to factor it in, but from the moment baby arrives, our alone time is gone, and that can be hard. It has nothing to do with love. We love our kids more than we thought possible, but remember that as an introvert, we NEED alone time to recharge. Suddenly, that becomes much more difficult to arrange, and we feel guilty for craving it.

2. We find other parents a bit scary

We see them clustered around the school gates, or at activity drop-off and pick-up times, chatting animatedly together, and it makes us nervous. We want to join in, but we don’t know how.

3. We have to be more social than we might want

Prior to becoming parents, we might have avoided hosting parties, or taking part in lots of social events, but once the kids arrive we have to step up. We’re happy to do it for them because we love seeing them enjoy it. We know that socializing is an important part of their development, but that doesn’t stop us from experiencing varying levels of anxiety as the event day approaches.

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4. We worry that our kids will miss out on invitations

This applies less and less the older they get, but when kids are smaller, it is mainly the parents that decide who to invite to play-dates and parties. Understandably, those early invitations will often go to the kids of parents they have interacted with. Therefore, we worry that our lack of ability to actively engage with other parents will mean our kids miss out.

5. We get misunderstood a lot

People mistake our awkwardness and lack of engagement for aloofness. They think we’re looking down on them. This obviously applies to non-parent introverts too, but it somehow becomes more pronounced once we are parents – particularly if our children are interacting with the other children and we are not really doing so with the parents. It can give the impression that we don’t approve of our child interacting with their children. Sometimes we try to just smile a lot, hoping that gives out a signal that we are friendly, but an awkward forced smile just makes it worse.

6. We feel guilty if one of our kids is introverted

Whether introversion is genetic, learned, or random, we worry that we may in some way be responsible for our child’s introversion, knowing the struggles they will have to deal with.

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7. We feel guilty if one of our kids is extroverted

Yep, there’s guilt here too. While we’re delighted for them that they are confident and outgoing, we feel guilty that we can’t always be the way they want us to be. They want us to be much more social, outgoing, and assertive like they are. They can also feel frustrated at times by our more withdrawn avoidance approach to life.

8. We find that strangers talk to us more

From the moment we have a small baby in tow (or for the moms, from the moment our tummy bump appears), we apparently send out an open invitation for anyone and everyone to talk to us. A short friendly exchange with a stranger can be pleasant (even for an introvert), but the full-on unexpected grilling and life story exchange in the supermarket checkout line can be overwhelming for an introvert.

If you are an introverted parent, can you relate to these? At least take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Rather than looking enviously at those animated extroverted parents, look around for the more withdrawn ones like yourself. Seek them out. Now you’ll both have someone to stand next to while you smile around awkwardly.

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Featured photo credit: Little Girl in Amusement Park/Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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