I began my self-awareness journey at the end of 2019 by first accepting the fact that I am an introvert. It was something that I was not aware of because I have been alone for a great deal of my life. I was the only child, raised by a single parent. I had plenty of friends, played sports, was always busy, but at the end of the day, I went into my room and in my own space. If I was around more than one person, it was by choice.
An introverted personality is often defined as shy, introspective, curious, and one who is drained by social interactions. The qualities that seem to be true of most introverts are that we value our alone time and are recharged during that quiet time. Therein lies my most recent struggle with social distancing.
Many people tend to think that introverts are currently living their best life amidst this pandemic. Even news outlets are saying that this present time is an introvert’s dream and an extrovert’s nightmare. There are articles and memes that support this claim, but I am here to say that introverts are being challenged too, I know I am.
Social distancing and restaurant closures have put an end to my weekly Chick-Fil-A outing where the children are sent to the play area while I sit ALONE outside of the window and just be. Leaving the children at home with their dad while I go to Panera ALONE, is no longer an option. Even “Sunday drives” are debatable when it comes to essential versus nonessential activity during the stay at home order. Do not get me wrong, I do completely understand and even agree with social distancing, but just like many others, it has caused my routine to adjust a great deal. I needed to regain my composure and do something because this introvert momma was not okay.
With the constant social interactions, also known as conversations with my husband, the many times I hear my name being called by my children, and the Facetime conversations that seem to have increased a great deal over the past month, I have had to become more intentional about my recharging time I need an introvert. I had to make sure my day at least started on a positive note, so I purchased a smart plug for my daughter’s lamp that turns on at 7:30 am, letting them know when to leave their room. Before this lamp, they were starting their day anytime between 6 and 7 am. I would wake up to the sound of little feet running across the loft or a knock at the door. These sorts of sleep disturbances were bothersome. I am so not a morning person.
As the days progressed, I realized that keeping them busy was taking its toll. There were about 12 hours in the day that had to be accounted for. I went on a quest via the World Wide Web and came across a blog post about quiet bags/quiet boxes/morning bins and a post about toy rotation, so I gave them both a try. I simplified the ideas to fit the style of our home and adopted those into our daily routine. So far, I have noticed that our mornings are more peaceful, toys aren’t all over my house, and my girls are playing better together.
Because I am also an overachiever, I added a third new routine. My girls, ages 3 and 5, are also required to be in their room for about an hour and a half for “nap time.” Most days, they don’t nap, but this time gives us all a break. I can read, write, nap, and or catch up on my pending to-do list. I am also required to do something low energy so that I can recharge.
The first half of my day has improved. My house was already pretty structured, but the structure was created with my children in mind, I failed to consider myself.
I have found that including my own needs as an introvert allows me to be the best me. I feel less pressure to do, I laugh more, and I feel less mentally drained by the end of the day. I have to remind myself not to forget about me.