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15 Things Introvert Moms Want You To Know

15 Things Introvert Moms Want You To Know

Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood. And when you’re an introvert, there’s nothing in the world that can get you ready for the constant struggle you’ll face between being “on” all day and figuring out how to sneak in a little bit of solitude. Introverts need alone time to recharge but as an introvert mom, alone time is often the last thing we get to have. We all know that being a parent means our love of being alone will constantly be challenged but for introvert mothers, the impact is greater than you know. Here are 15 things fellow introvert mothers will only understand.

1. Pregnancy is when the privacy invasion really begins.

When you’re pregnant, people want to talk to you about it…all the time. And if you run into other mothers? Then it’s almost guaranteed they’ll share details about things you’d never discuss with someone you barely know – like bowel movements, graphic labor stories and even more graphic breastfeeding trials and tribulations. Not to mention the awkwardness we feel about our bodies acting as a vessel for the next nine months.

2. Introvert moms feel awkward asking for help.

We tend to be self-sufficient and embarking on the journey of parenthood often means depending on others for help. Let’s face it, when your water breaks in the middle of the night and we need to wake our partners up for that midnight hospital run, we’re the only ones who will feel slightly bad for disrupting his sleep. Even if only for a moment.

3. Even though we love our new families, it means there’s always someone around us.

Forget the long stretches of solitude you had before you became an introvert mom – one of the things about parenting people often forget to tell you (because it’s implied) is that kids are with you all the time. So is your partner and your mom and even some new mommy friends. So someone is always around you.

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4. Nap time means so much more to an introvert mom.

Alone time recharges us so the peace and quiet that nap time allows literally means everything to us. We could sleep while the kids sleep but it doesn’t refuel us quite the same as some solitude does, so you’ll rarely find us gazing upon our sleeping baby or even worse, waking our kids up on purpose.

5. Our need for alone time will make us wonder if we love parenting less than other mothers.

There’s a constant battle that introverts face – we need alone time to recharge, that’s just how we’re wired. But when you become a mom, you’re inundated with messaging that tells us that we should love our children unequivocally, and always want to be around them. So when we crave to be away, mommy guilt kicks in and we wonder if we’re actually just being selfish. The short answer is: no.

6. Drop offs and pick ups can be really straining for us.

Introverts don’t like to make small talk. It’s really just not our thing. So you can imagine how hard daycare drop offs and school pick ups can be when other parents make you feel obligated to say something to them.

7. Busy parks bring us anxiety.

We love our one on one time with the kids but when we head to the park and it’s jammed pack of kids and parents, we secretly hope that other parents won’t notice we’re there. The last thing we want to do is be in a situation where we may be forced to mingle and fail miserably at small talk.

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8. When your kid shares your introversion, you’ll feel unnecessarily guilty.

We are products of environment, so it’s inevitable that your child will pick up some introvert traits. But in a world built for extroverts, feeling guilty for having a “shy” child happens from time to time – even though it shouldn’t.

9. When your kid is an extrovert, parenting is more draining than you’d like it to be.

Parenting is a roller-coaster for everyone, regarding of their personality type. But an introvert mom with an extrovert child means you’re on, all the time. Heeding to every beck and call, showing interest in every single thing they do in a day, being fully present and attentive all day long means that when bedtime rolls around, you’re exhausted and only have enough energy to crawl into bed.

10. When our jobs involve a lot of face time, our tank can already be empty by the time we get home.

We’re all a little drained by the time 5 PM rolls around but if you’re an introvert mother and your day job involves a lot of face time, then you know that your energy reserves are pretty much depleted by the time you get home.

11. We’re often the only moms who don’t really feel guilty about putting our kids in daycare.

I can speak from experience on this one – as much as I worried about my daughter’s first week at daycare, I also really enjoyed the space. The time away gave me time to think about her and miss her. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

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12. A kids’ birthday party invitation is bittersweet.

Introverts don’t necessarily hate parties but when a birthday party invitation gets sent home, we can ‘t help the feeling of dread that ensues. And if it’s not a drop off and pick up party? Then we run the risk of being seen as distant or unfriendly because we’re merely content keeping to ourselves around the other parent attendees.

13. We want to be good moms, just like everyone else.

Our constant need for downtime probably raises a few brows from other moms. We love our kids as much as anyone else. And while we want to lovingly watch every move our children make, we also want to take care of ourselves too – and that often means getting in that little bit of energizing downtime.

14. When we finally get that coveted alone time, sometimes we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

This feeling isn’t exclusive to introvert moms – all moms crave downtime and when we finally get it, there are times where we’re just not sure what to do with ourselves.

15. Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re introverted, so we end up thinking we’re just failing as parents.

One of my favorite times of the day is when my little one is tucked away in bed and sound asleep. I used to beat myself up for rejoicing when I said my final ‘good night’ – until I realized it was because I was introverted and just naturally hardwired to refuel from being alone. There were many days I feared I didn’t love parenting as much as the next mother.

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As mothers, we already have a hard enough time letting ourselves off the hook for not being perfect. As an introvert mother, our guilt is tenfold since we crave more alone time than our extrovert counterparts. Society tells us that we need to savor every moment with our children but many introvert moms struggle to do this. Just know that it’s okay to want alone time – we need it after all to be the best mom we can be.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on December 20, 2019

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poor academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960’s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, the strict parenting is often characterized by lack of compassion toward the child, little to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

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Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come play with them. It is a well known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group, and that he come home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

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Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter, because they are the parent thus are the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child, because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant to their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance of their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by a belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences to children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

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He wants to have sex. She does not feel that she is ready, but she will not voice this to her boyfriend because she doesn’t think that her opinion will matter or that he will want to listen to what she is feeling. She goes along with sex in their relationship to be compliant. She doesn’t want to be punished by disagreeing with not having sex. He says that they are ready for that next step in the relationship and she fears that the consequence of saying no would be that he ends the relationship.

Therefore, she doesn’t even voice her thoughts or feelings on the situation because she doesn’t think they have value or will be heard anyway.

She has been taught by her parents that her opinions and feelings don’t matter. She has learned from the past 18 years with her parents that what matters most is that she is compliant. She gets along with her parents best when she is doing exactly what they want her to do. This is why she feels the need to do the same with her boyfriend.

Going along with his decisions, being compliant, and not voicing her feelings will keep the relationship going and avoid conflict or punishment. The ultimate punishment in her mind would be that he ends the relationship.

With her opinions never being valued by those who she has loved the most (her parents), she has learned that she should not voice her opinion if she wants to keep the other person in the relationship happy. In her mind, because of how she has been raised, compliance overrides all else, and her opinion is meaningless.

However, her boyfriend is not her parents. He is understanding and would want to know how she feels. He wants a long term relationship with her and he loves her so much. His true desire is for her to be happy. He would never want her to have sex if she wasn’t feeling the same way that he was feeling. He would gladly wait and would want to hear what she thinks and feels about taking their relationship to the next level.

Authoritarian parenting methods can inflict great harm on a child. The child becomes emotionally damaged because they grow up believing that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings do not matter. Instead they are taught that compliance and being obedient supersedes all else.

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The Solution

The solution is to move from authoritarian parenting methods to authoritative parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting has been deemed as the best parenting method by researchers, according to Psychology Today. Parents who use authoritative parenting methods have rules for their children, but they are not looking for blind compliance. They recognize that having a relationship with their child is of great importance and therefore valuing the child’s voice, opinions, and thoughts is important.

Authoritative parents seek to guide and direct their children, but they do not seek to control the will of their child.

Parenting Coach Plan explains the foundation of authoritative parenting as the following:[4]

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Children raised in authoritative homes follow the rules because they understand the “why” of the rules. They are also bonded to their parents because they are able to talk to their parents openly. This bond helps nurture a positive home environment and a two-way relationship that can last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to be an authoritative parent and how to discipline a child using this parenting method, check out my article:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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