A few years ago I stumbled upon a blog written by a self-proclaimed “introverted homeschool mom.” The title intrigued me, and I begin to follow her. We were about a year into our homeschooling adventure, and I was starting to feel like I was suffocating. I loved my children. I loved homeschooling. I loved my family. But I found myself increasingly stressed out and anxious over the fact that there never seemed to be a moment of peace around me, or more importantly in me.
It’s not that there was a lot of chaos in our home. We weren’t arguing or yelling at each other (at least not often!) In fact, friends would often comment how quiet and peaceful our home was. So why didn’t I feel calm and peaceful?
I began to notice that my heart rate (and probably blood pressure) would rise over simple things…the kids singing loudly, the constant chatter of family life, even the birds chirping in the back yard. All good things. But all noisy things…All. The. Time.
Some might simply call that motherhood. But for me it was as if the constant noise and activity snowballed into an epic mountain of chaos that threatened to suffocate me. Dramatic? Maybe. But that’s how it felt at times. I could have told my husband I needed a break, gone for a drive or a quiet cup of coffee alone, and he would have gladly encouraged me to do so. But, I rationalized, what kind of mom wants to–longs to–escape her children?
As it turns out, an Introverted Mom longs to do that very thing.
Introverted Moms Unite
Not long ago, I sent a text to a friend simply asking for prayer. When she asked if everything was OK, I wasn’t exactly sure what to say. There was no monumental prayer request. We were all healthy. We weren’t facing any life-altering decisions or circumstances. And for all outward appearances, life was running pretty smoothly. But a storm was brewing inside me. Not a storm of anger, but a storm of stimulation and chaos (a.k.a. motherhood) that threatened to unravel me to the core.
All of the activities, plus all of the conflict, plus all of the chaos in my home was about to do me in. And I felt like a failure…not because I thought I should have a handle on it all. I had learned to give myself grace in that area a long time ago. I felt like a failure, because I thought it shouldn’t be affecting me the way it was. I should be able to take it all in stride instead of feeling like I was shutting down.
Once the kids were in bed that night, I sat down and began to read Introverted Mom by Jamie C. Martin (the blogger I mentioned earlier). I admit, I was a bit skeptical wondering what insights she might have that I hadn’t already heard in my decades of experience in ministry with different personality tests and how-to-get-along-with-others-type self-help books. But she had me in the first paragraph of the introduction:
“Do you ever wonder if you’re the only mom who feels this way? Like no one else gets you? Like the way motherhood affects you, you’re just not cut out for this 24/7 role?”
By the end of that section, I was in tears. It might have been exhaustion from the day I had or the season I was in. But I think it was more likely that I felt she understood me. We had never met, and yet we were what Anne Shirley would call “kindred spirits.”
You’re a WHAT?!?!
People who know me in person may be surprised to learn I’m an introvert. In fact, when I recently mentioned something about being an introvert, someone who had known me for years looked at me in shock and said, “You’re not an introvert!” But, in fact, I am.
If you Google introvert, you’ll get the following definition: “a shy, reticent person”
That is NOT me. My friends would likely say I’m friendly and outgoing in social settings, comfortable in front of groups, and generally find myself in leadership roles. That’s not what most people think of when they hear the word “introvert.” But those who watch closely or have known me since childhood would know that I’m often quiet in new settings, thoughtful and contemplative, a “slow processor” with new ideas, and have a need to “recharge” (alone) after being in largely stimulating groups.
It’s taken me decades to truly wrap my mind around which camp I feel most at home in: introversion or extroversion. In fact, I’ve bounced back and forth over the introversion/extroversion line on personality tests over my lifetime, routinely scoring between 45-55% one way or the other. In other words, I land solidly in the middle.
Why You Need to Read Introverted Mom, Introvert or Not
If you’re an introvert (even a little bit) and a mom, you need to read Introverted Mom. It will alleviate your guilt over wanting, no needing, time away from your family to recharge. It will help you realize that your personality is not a mistake but a trait that God gave you for the exact purpose of serving and investing in your family. Your introversion is not at odds with your role of mother any more than it is at odds with your role as wife, daughter, sister, or friend. It is part of who God has created you to be and what He has created you for.
If you’re not an introvert, you’re likely close to one as a family member or friend. Reading Jamie’s book will give you insight into what makes your introverted mom friend tick and what stresses her out! LOL You’ll begin to see the strength she can bring to her family and the ways you can encourage her. Not sure if you’re an introverted mom or not? Take Jamie’s quiz and find out!
In her book, Jamie shares stories from her own life as well as thoughts from other moms. Her practical suggestions and creative inspiration help you savor life as an introverted mom. So, whether you know an Introverted Mom or you ARE an Introverted Mom, you need to check out Jamie’s new book. You may just discover you’re going to be OK after all. 🙂Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!
Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.