There are days that I watch my husband in awe. He can walk into any room with that endearing smile of his and laugh and joke his way into forming instant friendships with those around him. He knows just the right things to say and always manages to put people at ease. The more he is around people, the more I see him light up and it just continues to build momentum from there; he is my Tigger.
Me? I’m his Roo. I try to bounce in step with him but often can’t keep up. I love people and getting to know them but after an hour or so into it, I need a nap. And if I’m not careful, I turn into an Eeyore.
I am an introvert.
Better yet. I am an introvert mom of two other little Tiggers.
This can pose some challenges in the day-to-day but have found it also comes with a lot of little blessings as well.
Here is my daily “Go-To” guide for navigating my way through those introvert tendencies…
1.) Be kind to yourself.
Being an introvert is OKAY. No, seriously it’s okay.
For so long, I always used to compare myself to others who were more outgoing, trying to learn and pick up their “tricks” for socializing with such expertise and ease. I used to ask my extrovert husband for advice but that would just seem to stress me out even more. (“Can’t teach a pig how to fly” and all that…)
Comparing yourself to others only hurts; never helps.
You are all unicorns mamas! Yeah, we may not feel quite as sparkly sometimes. The beginning of the day we feel like Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” and then by the end of the day after juggling kids, appointments, meetings, and the Publix checkout line, we feel a bit more Cruella Deville in “101 Dalmatians.”
We are ALL uniquely amazing and have SO much to offer our children. Which leads me to….
2.) Think JOYFUL thoughts.
Not “happy” but JOYFUL. Let me explain.
If you’re anything like me, I am very introspective and analytical; a biographer’s personal nightmare. I dissect every task, mannerism, and word out of my mouth on a daily basis. This can spiral very easily and quickly into unhappy thoughts; your mood dictated by “shoulda coulda wouldas.” I’ve realized after becoming a mom, that this was NOT the kind of mindset I wanted to have around my children.
So instead, I decided to start practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and grace.
Just like exercising your body, you have to exercise your brain too. I haven’t yet reached sensei status here but have found that this helps with dealing with the stress of what is “happening” around me and steers me back to a place of calm and peace within myself and around my rambunctious kiddos. (I DO switch from Yoda to Sith Lord from time-to-time. All about balance within the force. Haha!)
Happiness is fleeting but joy is a daily practice that, over time, becomes like second nature to you and, in return, reflects onto your family. This makes conversing with others far easier as well.
Best way too, to get out of that negative head space, is to focus on completing tasks at hand with positive intention. One way to do that?
3.) Step out of your comfort zone.
Being the center of attention makes me uncomfortable. I’m not big on birthday parties for myself. My wedding was LITERALLY out in the middle of the ocean. On a boat. With eight other people. And I was STILL anxious. My comfort zone is very much “Netflix and chill.”
But gone are those days of unlimited downtime.
We ARE moms now after all. Let’s embrace it!
I have grown over time to enjoy organizing or scheduling events for my children. Did it terrify me at first? OH YEAH. But it’s all about baby steps. Sometimes it’s planning a play date or family outing. Other times it’s a group event or party. (Don’t throw yourself in the deep end right away. Alternate and space them out.)
What I’ve found is that I truly enjoy living somewhat vicariously through my children in this regard. I LOVE that my son is the little social butterfly. I love seeing all the teachers and students he waves to, hugs and tells about his day on a daily basis; all the smiles he brings to those around him. He is DEFINITELY my Tigger. Even seeing my nearly one-year-old daughter’s personality start to really come out warms my heart. This is where being an introvert mom has its perks. It gives you the opportunity to step back and watch your children really shine. You can be a part of things with people you don’t even know, but not feel pressured or obligated to be in the center of it.
Being a mom, I feel also helps push and motivate us to show our children by example that they are capable of anything.
Another way to push yourself is by joining a community of some sort.
Whether it be your local church, your children’s school, a charitable organization, etc. Any of these avenues outside the home I found helped give me a little bit of my self-identity back. That and there’s a bit more freedom in being yourself when doing good deeds and helping others. Plus, they are always needing various tasks done that include things you can even do from home! This has also helped immensely with my social anxiety. (Another little lovely side effect to being an introvert.)
But by no means kill yourselves trying to be everything to everyone. Which leads me to…
4.) Know your limits.
We are the generation of “Super Moms.” We are supposed to be the perfect wives, mothers, and career moms (SAHM is a career too!).
I know just how imperfect I truly am. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I can’t have it all. It’s just a matter of balance and knowing and respecting your own limitations.
I have my moments where the noise and chaos of life is too much.
I am that person that asks for quiet in the car, so I can see where I’m going. My son is a chatter box. To the point I must remind him to breathe in between sentences. There will be days when I pick him up from school where I ask him how his day went and then about 10 minutes into it (when his volume is reaching jack hammer decibel levels and he’s repeated the same sentence 5 times already), I calmly ask him to pause and for some quiet time until we’ve reached home. Not an exact science but mostly works.
If the outside noise doesn’t subside, either mommy makes for a bathroom “potty break” or I just try to force myself to slow my roll. I change my pace, slow my breathing, and rest when I can. The dishes can wait ‘til tomorrow moms. Your health MUST come first. We’ve also started limiting TV and tablet time. Yes, they are great kiddo distractions, but they are noise makers and instigators.
“Mom, can I have that toy on the commercial?”
“Mom, can I watch another episode?”
“Mom, I’m going to turn the volume up just a little more.”
“Mom. Mom? MOM!”
Go read a book, kid. Mama’s trying to regain her sanity over here and not confuse breastmilk with 2%.
And last but not least…
5.) Take care of YOURSELF.
You know when you fly on a plane and they tell you to always put on your oxygen mask first before helping others? I know we all hear this SO many times and commonly either shrug it off or just not pay attention, but this a MUST. Extrovert or Introvert. This is ESSENTIAL moms. You need to take care of yourself.
Don’t you “yeah yeah yeah” me either.
Common with those who tend to be introverts is anxiety or I’m starting to think most moms in general. Because constant activity, interactions, and high pace tend to drain us, if we don’t force ourselves to take the time to slow down and get some alone time, that can very quickly turn into anxiety or worse panic attacks, including chest pain and a weakened immune system.
Things I have found that seem to help include:
- Yoga (or in my case bending over sleeping children like a scene from The Matrix)
- Deep breathing as mentioned
- Meditation &/or prayer.
- Staying hydrated and lowering the amount of gluten, sugars, and caffeine you consume daily. Although, I do not know all the facts behind Gluten, all I can tell you is that whenever I eat more breads my anxiety starts to go up. Sugars and caffeine are also known stimulants. So lay off the espresso and energy drinks ladies. That pint of Ben & Jerry’s is not always your friend.
- Being outdoors also helps. Vitamin D has been proven to help support your brain, your nervous and your immune system. Because SCIENCE. Take a walk. Walk the dog. Walk the cat. Walk the kid. [There’s a leash for that too…]
At the end of the day, when your head finally hits that pillow, stop for a moment. This goes for all you moms out there. Reflect on your day. Remember you are amazing. You do NOT have to be like any other mom. You are not better or less than any other mom. Strive for progress and not perfection and know….
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ A.A. Milne
Nikki Pislaan (PEACE-lawn) is a proud wife, mother, and designer residing in Sarasota, FL. She is a blessed wife to her amazing and supportive husband Miko and mother of two beautiful children, son Micah and daughter Luna. A little bit quirky and a little bit “scrunchy”, Nikki thrives on opportunities to tap into her creative side with a joy for serving others. Born in Texas but raised in Wisconsin, she now kicks up her flipflops in beautiful, sunny Florida.