There was a time in my motherhood journey where I never would have imagined ever needing or wanting time away from my baby girl. Overnight trips, mom’s night out, and me time weren’t phrases that I ever would have uttered from my mouth. I was a mom, first and foremost, above and beyond everything else. Forget about being a woman, forget about my career, forget about Brandi. I was Ayva’s mom, and that was all I needed to be. Even though I was an introvert, I didn’t think this little being would impose too much on my space or take up too much of my energy. She would just fit right into my life and roll with the way I had been doing things for years.
Interestingly enough (and much to the amusement of the seasoned mothers in my circle), the older Ayva became, the more I started to come back to myself. Being an introvert, I needed to come back to myself in order to survive. First it was the work trip where I left Ayva for the first time ever (and met my husband, thank you very much). Then there came the point where I realized I could drop her off at daycare to get my hair done or a massage. Now it’s looking for extra long playdates so I can read a book or watch television in solitude.
It’s not that I love my baby girl any less as the years pass, I’ve just learned to take time for myself in order to be able to honor the person that she is.
Fill Up Your Tank
I never expected that my daughter would be a raging extrovert. It never occurred to me that in the same way I run away from crowds, she would run towards them, arms wide open embracing every person she meets as a friend. Once I realized that, instead of keeping her from events because they would be too overwhelming for me, I started to work on ways to fill my tank up so that I would be able to be available to her and her social needs. It’s taken a few years, but I finally feel like we’re in a comfortable place. I don’t have to tell her no all the time because of the moments that I tell myself yes.
Request and Expect “Me Time”
There’s a lot that happens in a home where the introvert mama takes time for herself. Not only is she more relaxed and fun to be around, but she sets the example for everyone else in the house. My Ayva is learning that it’s okay to request and expect “me time”. She understands that it’s not a reflection on her or her behavior, and that me wanting a few moments to myself isn’t a punishment for her. She’s learning about personal boundaries and space, and beginning to recognize that I can do more for her when I’m able to have time to breathe when I need to.
Learn From Your Extroverted Child
I’m grateful that she accepts me for the Mama that I am. She never complains or whines. She’s learned how to occupy herself on days when my tank is low to give me an hour or so to myself. I’m also really thankful to have a daughter that is so completely opposite of me. She has inspired me to get out more, to be a better friend, and to try saying yes, even if I’m not so sure.
The best part of being the introverted mom to an extroverted daughter are those quiet times when she is able to be still for a few moments. Like tonight, when she crawled in my lap and let me rub her back for a few minutes in silence. As much as I love to hear her sing and watch her dance and just be on, on, on, I love that when she does wind down, and the extrovert gets sleepy, I’m the one who gets to see that other side of her. It feels so sweet and so special, and I will go to every party, cookout, crowd filled events just for those few moments.