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THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie

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In Defense of Introverted Parents

It’s summer and I’m about to hit the wall. My thinking is sludgy and my responses are slow and disconnected.  Kids arguing, household disorder and interruptions galore cloud my clarity and fatigue my body.  I feel like I’ve eaten a gallon of mashed potatoes and a gravy-injected turkey and washed it down with six or seven espressos. I’m dull but edgy. I want to be alone or resting in another introvert’s company. I want to read until my eyes tire.  I want to listen to music until my external world is as dreamy as my internal. I need a 17-hour nap in a La-Z-Boy.

Yes please!

I need soft energy but am in the midst of summer break with my three kids and their boisterous blend of high energy.

What Drains Most Introverts’ Batteries?

1. Multiple people talking to us at the same time

2. No time to go internal

3. Groups for long periods of time

4. Loud places (except maybe a music venue)

5. Loud people

6. When people talk a lot but say little

7. Having to interrupt in order to speak

8. Constant interruption of our speech, thoughts, quiet time

9. Arguing and conflict

10. Negativity

Secure Your Own Safety Mask First … 

The family comes first idea is often foreign to introverts. We are wired to start inside: many of us couldn’t start outside if we wanted to.

~ Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power 

It seems like today good parenting is based on how much stuff you give your kids, how much you do with your kids and how much you sacrifice. Current social mores urge us to use action to demonstrate unwavering love and devotion to our children. The family universe is child centered. Their happiness is paramount to our personal comfort.  I’m not knocking altruism and selflessness. These traits have merit and traction but they also set the introvert up for a lifetime of guilt and feelings of selfishness because our inner thoughts and ideas compete daily with our external loves.

Quantity is king in the U.S.  The more outward displays of affection the more a person appears warm, kind and wonderful. Introverts are warm, kind and wonderful too. We are just more selective with our demonstrative outpourings.  We have to be in order to protect and ration our limited energy (which we generate by going within).

The manner in which we show love is open to judgment as well.  In the United States doing is almost always deemed more important than being or feeling. My kids’ summer was split this year between two parent’s homes and two styles of family vacations.

Family Vacations Done Differently

I took the kids on a road trip to visit family.  The car ride provided lots of time to go internal; turn the radio on and stare out the window as ideas and day dreams float within your mind and dance with the passing corn fields. There was not a lot planned for the visit, just one surprise birthday party.  Beyond the party the days were comfortably open.  Much of the kids’ time was spent fishing or swimming in a pond with their two cousins, listening to grandparents tell stories, running around the yard, convening at meal times, and roasting marshmallows in the fire by the creek.

The children went with their father to visit family as well. Out of necessity, they flew.  While there they traveled between two homes and spent time with seven cousins and two sets of aunts and uncles.  Their activity list included: white water rafting, zip lining, swimming, museum exploring, movie going, and daily exercise.  When I was included on such vacations, I usually asked for an afternoon reprieve (time alone in the hotel room) half-way through. I needed to recharge by connecting with myself. I used to feel guilty or bad about needing space away from the crowd but now I understand my temperament and let go of those feelings.

In the end, the kids had a ball on both vacations.  Lasting memories were made.  Neither trip was better than the other, just different.

How an Introvert Parent Expresses Love

Just because we don’t express affection outwardly as gregariously as extroverts, does not mean that we introverts do not love our people. I make a point to pull myself away from distractions (admittedly not 100% on this yet) and be present for my kids when I am with them. I take in their words, actions and projected energy (positive and negative).  I absorb and process them deeply. Intensely being with children who can’t always reflect light can be exhausting. Nevertheless, this is what I do. I don’t have a choice because I love my children and my physiology works this way (yes introverts are physically wired differently, see There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert).

I express love by listening to them, thoughtfully engaging their minds and reaching out with soft physical contact. We do more gentle activities like fishing, watching classic movies and comedies, exploring flea markets, listening and discussing music and perusing comic book stores.

I have personal visions of what my kids may become. I connect with them by squeezing in big picture discussions whenever possible. One on one time is where our relationships strengthen and bloom.

My relationship with my kids is not based on being by their side at all times but I do carry them inside me wherever I go. I think about them constantly and turn their individual characters over and over in my heart like jagged rocks tumbling to become smooth stones. I realize children cannot be independent at all times but also believe that is our job as parents —to guide them to be healthy self-efficient individuals.

How to Make It Through the Rest of Summer

The time the kids are with their dad is my time to renew.  As it is my first summer as a single woman I have been burning the candle at both ends.  I’ve filled my child-free time with friends, travel and dating.  In short, I have been extroverting all over the place. As much as I’ve enjoyed the freedom to nurture and expand other relationships, I realize I now need to rest when the kids are gone.  I need to re-connect with myself and untangle my over-stimulated brain.  Maybe I’ll take that 17 hour nap, focus on writing and be a better parent when the kids return.

How do you function when you don’t have time to yourself? Do you feel bad about asking for alone time? Do you know it’s OK to not be extroverted?

**On the bright side, like Laurie Helgoe says in Introvert PowerI won’t suffer empty nest syndrome. 

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67 Comments

  1. […] to read more? I personally resonated with these introvert parenting posts by Brenda at Space2Live and Brian Gresko at Quiet Revolution and here’s where you’ll find more Wise Introvert […]

  2. Juston Saunders April 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    i’m an extrovert dating an introvert. do you ever worry about the effects of emotionally unavailable parents on thier kids? my girlfriend who is introverted shows signs of emotional neglect from her parents and things like birthdays and holidays aren’t a big deal in her family. i got upset with her a few times for treating holidays like just another day. when i tell her about how my more extroverted family celebrates holidays she seems enchanted and it sounds wonderful to her. she wants kid’s someday but i’m worried that if we were to have a son for example it would develop mommy issue’s.

    • Brenda Knowles April 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure if you are saying introverts are emotionally unavailable. If so, I would say most of the time that is not the case. We just need breaks between being intensely present and available. I think every family celebrates holidays the way that is most comfortable or desired for them. I am an introvert and I do it up for different holidays. My parents did that too. We tend to follow our family patterns whether they be intrinsically introverted or extroverted.
      What do you mean by ‘mommy issues’? The stability of your family depends on the stability of your relationship and the individuals within it. It sounds like your girlfriend may not have had the cheeriest childhood but people are resilient. She may do everything NOT to be like her parents. Only she can decide that. If you both work to understand and appreciate each of your temperaments then you could have a highly satisfying relationship. It’s all about values and knowing yourself and not getting your sense of worth from each other but from within. Having gone through some sh*t, she may know how to self-soothe and move forward. I would voice your concerns with her in a real and gentle way. It sounds like your instincts are talking to you. It never hurts to listen to them but also be open to being surprised as well. It all depends on how much work your gf has already done. Good luck!

  3. P-Daddy January 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    I find such relief in your articles. As an introverted parent with an extroverted wife and daughter, I occasionally find myself at wits end due to may my families lack of understanding. After long periods of being extroverted I become drained and short in attitude and require the need to escape to the sanctuary of my mind. From your experience, what is the best way to live with an extrovert? What practices would you recommend?

    • Brenda Knowles January 5, 2015 at 8:17 am - Reply

      I can relate to your situation. I have been there. What has worked for me is to give family members or a partner a book or posts from space2live about introversion in order to cultivate more introversion awareness from a neutral party. I also let my partners know when I need to be by myself but I give them a definite time when I will be fully present again for them. Make sure they understand your downtime is NOT a rejection of them. It is the salvation of you.
      One thing about having extroverts around is they tend to get you out and doing things. I try to appreciate how extroverts get me to experience amazing things I may have missed. You, as an introvert, offer them the chance to see and/or experience things on a deeper more focused level. Both gifts to each other. Most importantly, always always appreciate your differences rather than consider one more important or better than the other.
      Best of luck! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  4. […] In Defense of Introverted Parents […]

  5. Social Introvert October 9, 2014 at 6:44 am - Reply

    I recognize myself so much in what you write. I’m the kind of introvert that most people think is extroverted because I’m not shy and talk a lot. But I have recently realized I’m very introverted and it has shocked me and given me a feeling of calm at the same time. The kind of calm that comes from getting to know yourself better. I love parties (if I can convince myself to go or my husband convinces me) and often talk with lots of people, dance like there’s no tomorrow (sober or drunk doesn’t matter) and love to sing karaoke. BUT I’m the first to think about going home and just read, watch TV by myself and reload because it exhausts me even though I’ve enjoyed myself. When I had my daughter I didn’t know I was introverted (had never heard about it and if I had I would’ve thought that I was extroverted. So becoming a parent was a shock. A big one! I kept blaming myself for not enjoying it as much as I heard/thought others did. I wouldn’t dream of having a second child even though I love my daughter!! She’s the best!! And probably introverted as well or maybe she just seems that way cause she’s an only child and have had to learn how to play by herself. But I need so much downtime that I couldn’t fit another child into my life without sacrificing too much of myself. Some people I can’t stand hanging out with and I think it’s because they are too extroverted and too attention-seeking. They are simply too different from me and seem to think I’m hard to get to know and weird. Maybe I am, but I don’t care anymore and it’s thanx to articles like yours that I have realized that I’m not weird, wrong or defect in anyway. I’m just introverted and need a lot of downtime. Thank you!

    • Brenda Knowles October 10, 2014 at 8:14 am - Reply

      I am so happy your new introverted self-awareness has brought you peace/calm. I admire your wisdom regarding knowing that one child is enough for you. That knowledge will serve you well. I wanted to fulfill my husband and society’s perfect family image and didn’t listen to my own personality’s cues. I love my children but it’s been a struggle for me to keep my energy levels appropriate but this is my journey, this is what led me to writing.:)
      There is definitely nothing wrong with you. Carry on being the best you possible.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Tom August 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I juat spent the summer caring for my 7, 3 and 2 year old 24/7 for 3 months. It took mental preparation leading up to this major marathon of outting away those needs for recharge time and had to guard against letting them out. Now that they are back in school, I feel like a dog thatnhas been left alone far too long in a kennel with barely enough food and drink to survive. I guard those few hours a day that I have alone outside of work and the kids like a dog fiercely guarding a meaty bone….I totally agree with the author, you do what you have to do to care for your kids..but I will alsomdomwhat I have tomdomto care for myself so I CAN care for the kids….

    • Brenda Knowles August 31, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      Oh my! You’ve had an arduous summer. Congrats for making it through and not losing your mind. We love our children but it is absolutely necessary to guard our space as well. I am not at my best as a parent if I never get alone time. I get edgy, emotional, short and negative. Not pretty. I relish time to myself when they are gone. I used to run errands and do housework when they were with a babysitter or sleeping but I learned that while it was efficient to do those things then it was not good for my well-being. I returned still drained. It was much more nourishing to read, go for a walk/run, meet with a close friend or rest. If at all possible, I tried to get their dad or a sitter to take them out of the house so that I could have the house to myself, which I found more restorative than me leaving the house.
      Keep learning and taking care of yourself. Your whole family will benefit. Boundaries!:)

  7. vscook August 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    As an introvert with an almost 20 year old daughter, I am here to tell you – don’t believe it! You will suffer from Empty Nest Syndrome.

    • Brenda Knowles August 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Interesting to know. I have 3 children. As they get older, I enjoy their company more and more. I’m sure you’re right. Their presence will be missed but I also know I’ve never had a hard time entertaining myself. When they are with their father now I have no problem filling my time. I do miss them after a day or two. I just need breaks occasionally. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

  8. November June 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I believe my dad is a pretty extreme introvert. He has no friends and even after 40 years of marriage, seems to not enjoy my mom’s company either (me neither…). We could talk about things like cars, history, activities outdoors, and woodworking (I’m female, only child). We never talked about personal or private issues, but I always felt cared for and loved, even though he also never said it and kept quite an emotional distance from me. He never disciplined me and always treated me with respect. My mom was pretty much the opposite; unsure if she’s an introvert–she doesn’t have many/any friends, but she’s also harsh, negative, and judgmental. So I don’t know if her friend-less-ness was by choice. Every once in a while (3x in life?) he has stood up for me in front of my mom, and oddly enough she respects his quiet “That’s enough!”

    I believe a lot of my introvertedness is inherited from him. It has been somewhat painful to never connect with him on a personal level, but because I’m an introvert, I understand and give him the benefit of the doubt and don’t hold it against him.

    • Brenda Knowles June 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      Hmmm.It’s always interesting to me to hear how different introverts can be even within our own introverted tribe. I’m an intuitive feeling type of introvert so I tend to be too emotionally interactive/connected with my children. Other introverts are the more reserved, silent type (like your dad). I always love hearing how when quiet introverts speak up, others listen (because it is so rare). Go Dad!
      It’s cool that you always felt loved even though your dad was emotionally distant. Somehow he got the message across.

  9. April June 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Exactly what I needed to read right now. I have felt so guilty about this lately. I have known I am an introvert for some time before I had a daughter. I had a friend say to me once that I just shut down in large groups. I really thought there was something wrong with me but reading this blog and the comments makes me realize I just need to channel my energy differently. I can still be a wonderful parent and an introvert at the same time. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles June 14, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

      Absolutely! I am so thrilled space2live could give you perspective and peace. You have beautiful gifts to offer. Our relationships tend to run deep and long. We may not flourish in crowds but we still are valuable and loving companions and parents. Be gentle with yourself. Parent naturally. I’ve become intimate with my flaws and shortcomings through parenting. I’m getting better at voicing my needs and expectations but also at admitting my mistakes and where I struggle. I think I’m growing into a stronger and wiser person. I think I’m planting seeds within my children about how to respect and appreciate all temperaments.:) Peace and strength to you.

  10. […]  In Defense of Introverted Parents […]

  11. […] 3. In Defense of Introverted Parents […]

  12. Jan November 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    I am so glad to have come across your website. I have felt guilty for years that I HATE summer holidays when my three children are home. I just figured I was a bad parent who was very selfish for wanting so much ‘me’ time. I couldn’t understand why I felt like an absolute witch by the end of it, but now I know, there is no down time in the holidays. Also I have a child with mild autism who is very intense and anxious, since I seem to suck up others emotions it is very draining being around her. She communicates by screaming and yelling and is very energetic. Combine this situation with a very active toddler and there are days when it feels way to much for this introvert. Thank you, thank you.

    • Brenda Knowles November 16, 2013 at 12:27 am - Reply

      Welcome, welcome. You are not alone. I’m glad you found some peace and awareness here. I relate deeply to what you said. Do the best you can and love as much as you can. Be gentle with yourself – build in breaks and boundaries. Everyone will benefit. Thank you for sharing your story. Strength and energy to you.:)

  13. LB October 23, 2013 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Boy, does this blog bring back memories. I’ve been divorced for 13 years now, and my kids are all grown up. But looking back, I can see that I raised them (“we” really; my ex was always very present in their lives, and he’s an introvert, too, even more so than me) with a very introverted parenting style. And that’s before the whole introvert/extrovert thing became “a thing.” Three things stick out the most: First, I always tried to teach my kids to be their own best friend, and that they should never fear being alone. Apparently it worked, because they both seem to be pretty good at mixing their social lives and their alone time. It’s apparent that my daughter is more extroverted than me or her brother, but even she needs alone time, and my son needs and enjoys his friends. Second, I also used my kids’ time with their dad to renew. I would come home from work, and just be at home. No chauffeuring to sports practices or events or friends’ homes. Just me and my dog and a good book or movie. Third, our first vacation post-divorce was a lot like yours. No family, but a quiet road trip and not a lot of plans. We spent our days at the beach or the pool, they played, I read, and watched them play. Very refreshing. I think we must have done something right, because they’re great adults now, well-adjusted, with a good sense of who they are and what they need from themselves and from others. My introversion certainly didn’t hurt them any, so how’s that for a defense of an introverted parent?

    • Brenda Knowles October 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      I am going to save your comment and use it when asked about introvert parenting. I’m glad in hindsight you can see the benefits your children garnered from the introverted temperament. I have an extroverted ex-husband so our approaches are often very different. My challenge now is to get my children to see value in the introverted ways. It’s way more cool to be extroverted. It feels like an uphill climb sometimes.

      I do use the time the kids are with their dad to re-charge. I need it and appreciate it.

      Thank you for your wonderful insight! It will help others I’m sure.:)

  14. Dora October 17, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

    I am SO glad I don’t have or want kids. There is NO way I could be physically/emotionally present, patient, attentive, positive…all those basic things kids need from a parent in order to grow up to be decent human beings…….I would be an emotional wreck 24/7……….I am WAY too self-absorbed and need WAY too much alone time in order to just run my OWN life…..let alone the lives of people who are 100% dependent on me for every single thing they need.

    • Brenda Knowles October 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      It is good to be self-aware and know your limits. Many feel the need to live up to cultural expectations and disregard what their heart/gut tells them. Give what you can to this world by following your inner guide.:)

    • Julie June 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      I wish I had been as aware of myself as you are, before I had my daughter. I feel like I am one of the extreme introverts sometimes, though maybe that is because I don’t get enough time to recharge. My daughter is an extreme extrovert. She hates our home, when we go out and I take her where there are people, she cries all the way home and I get the ‘angry’ silent treatment. I’m alone with no one who could take her out to play with others and I just can’t. We make each other miserable even though we both love each other to pieces…and I do mean pieces. My prayer is we both make it out alive.

      • November July 1, 2014 at 8:03 am - Reply

        I hope you can find support. Perhaps your daughter would benefit from a relationship with an extroverted adult? I could have benefited from a relationship with a non-parent adult.

        My feelings started out as dislike for children. I still dislike them, but now I’ve fully realized that I am not meant to be a parent. Add my introversion to the way I was raised, and it’s a recipe for disaster. My poor children would suffer, and there’s no way I could let myself do that to a child.

  15. […] In Defense of Introverted Parents (space2live) […]

  16. Kate C. June 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    My husband travels a lot for work, and I have an excessively busy/active five-year-old at home with me all day, so there are a large number of days when I am so spent by the time she gets into bed. When he finally comes home I will go on reading “binges” and plow through large series of books in a matter of days (like the entire Harry Potter series in a week, or the entire Sookie Stackhouse series in about ten days).

    • brennagee June 15, 2013 at 9:34 am - Reply

      I understand the reading binges and need for a solitude fix.;) Thanks for sharing your story.

  17. […] In Defense of Introverted Parents (space2live) […]

  18. Lynne June 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    So wonderful to read this post – thank you!

  19. verdant1 May 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    OMG – you mean I’m not the only one?!
    Some days I feel like I’m being physically assaulted by the energy and noise of my kids … I can only cope with so much bouncing enthusiasm!
    I have learned to not feel (too) guilty about leaving them to their own devices after school – we talk on the way home, sort a few things out, then they play or watch tv and I hide, um, rest in my room or do my own thing. I’m there if they need me, but I’m also clear about needing space and time (much easier when they’re older).
    If I’m relaxed and happy, then the household is more likely to be relaxed and happy. Being a frazzle bunny doesn’t do me or them any favours.
    Thank you so much for writing about this – so lovely to know I’m not the only one 🙂

    • brennagee May 13, 2013 at 10:38 am - Reply

      Do your kids leave you alone after school? Mine still have a hard time with this. I didn’t do the best job setting up boundaries when they were little because I thought they (boundaries) were a given (my family of origin had no problem entertaining themselves) and I felt selfish if I put myself first (ever). I have learned to spend some time connecting with my kids (lots of eye contact, physical touch and deep listening) and then it’s easier to slip away to my own thoughts and space.

      You are so right about mom’s mood setting the tone. If mom is calm, the house relaxes.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You are definitely not alone.:)

  20. Shelley May 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you. Just thank you. I have felt guilty and selfish for the last 2.5 years for needing and craving ‘me’ time. I married a wonderful man (who does understand) who has custody of a wonderful, but extremely talkative, little boy. Inside a year, I went from being completely single and alone, to married with a little boy with a dog and a cat. I have struggled over the last two years to find balance. I love every part of my new life, but I have problems finding the inner calm. Thank you for putting into words what I could not.

    • brennagee May 13, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Wow, you added many lovely changes and beings to your life. Of course, you are entitled to feelings of overwhelm and maybe even grief from the loss of your old calm, manageable life. I know I would have a few meltdowns.;) I highly suggest creating boundaries so that it is OK for you to have solitude or at least quiet time. I didn’t do that with my children early on because I thought it would just happen (my family of origin knew how to entertain themselves/thrive in quiet time) and my former husband didn’t understand my deep need for that recharge time.

      Be gentle with yourself and continue to be open and communicative with your husband.

      Thanks for sharing your story. You are definitely not alone.:)

  21. Mika May 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I don’t have children, but I work at a job where I have to deal with large groups of people and occasionally children (facilitating field trips) and as a result I have been thinking a lot about how I handle children and how that relates to my introversion. This has been very helpful. I am hoping to find a way to use my introversion to work for me rather than against me when it comes to leading an experience for a group of children – I want to be positive and fun and enlightening for all of us. But it is definitely a challenge to deal with so much energy coming from so many different little people at once! I feel bombarded at times. It helps for me to tell myself that even when the experience is stressful for me, I can still make it fun for the kids – they are too busy exploring the world to notice my blunders a lot of the time! It goes much better when I am focused on the children and their experience, but at the same time, I can only manage that for so long before I go bonkers!

    • brennagee May 13, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing.:) I used to think I wanted to be a teacher but then I had my own children and realized I would not be good with 25 little ones pulling on me for attention. I would be drained so quickly.

      I can imagine your job. You are very smart to focus on the childrens’ experience and realize they just want action and fun. They are not paying much attention to your stress levels – although there may be some perceptive introverts in the group gauging your energy subconsciously.

      I bet your introversion gives the kids a deeper more meaningful experience than they would have if you weren’t so introspective and aware of all stimuli. I’m sure you prepare thoroughly and notice kids who are particularly engaged.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  22. lola April 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I really thought i was the only one. Thank you.

    • brennagee April 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      This is the hardest subject for me to write about because there is a certain amount of shame I feel even though I understand my temperament. You are definitely not alone. I work to be a giving parent every day. I also try to be gentle and compassionate with myself. Peace to you. Thanks for commenting.

  23. sv March 29, 2013 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on E'n'M.

    • brennagee March 29, 2013 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing my writing. I bookmarked your site. Looking forward to exploring it.:)

      • sv March 29, 2013 at 8:08 am - Reply

        thanx a lot

  24. Jeff December 30, 2012 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Brenna,
    Thank you so much for this Blog. I can honestly say that it will/has changed my life. I’ve always wondered what was wrong with me, why I was always tired, “depressed”, “selfish”, and craving alone time. I cannot believe that this concept of introvert vs. extrovert was never introduced to me by a doctor/friend/parent, or that I never stumbled upon it myself while performing some research. EVERYTHING you discuss in these articles relates to me (i.e. hating the phone, recharge time a necessity, preferring intimate time with my 2 young kids over excitement, etc.). I’m still in shock that I’m actually “normal” afterall…it is the best feeling!

    I’m currently going through an unfortunate situation with my extremely extroverted wife and it looks like a separation is imminent. I don’t want to put my kids through this, but I simply can’t live with this “energizer bunny” any longer as the stress is making me hate my life (and please note that, on paper, I have the perfect life, so people are going to think I’m insane).

    But thanks to this blog, I now have a better understanding as to why we’re having these massive issues. I now FINALLY understand why I feel and act this way. You have significantly impacted my life in an extremely positive manner so I wanted to write to thank you.

    It’s also made me wonder about how many other people are out there suffering through the same thing. It’s made me realize that mass awareness really should be generated as it could potentially impact thousands, if not millions, of lives.

    Thanks again!

    • brennagee December 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      Jeff I am very moved by your comment. If I gave you some relief in any way I am thrilled. I have been in your place exactly. I hope that self-awareness gives you the ability to understand and ACCEPT yourself and your wife. When I figured out I have an introverted temperament and that it is hardwired physiologically a light turned on in me. The next amazing revelation came when I discovered there are many (up to 50% of the population) others like me. I never felt so at home as I did in my writing classes – so many introspective classmates.

      Please take a look at some of the books I have mentioned in posts: Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Introvert Power, Introverts at Ease.

      Celebrate your introvert skills – ability to concentrate, great listener, depth of thinking, advisor, counselor, idea generator. The world needs you.

      May 2013 be a year of wonder and awe. May you make thoughtful decisions (almost a given for introverts;).

      Thank you for your candid comment. I so appreciate your situation.

      • Kelly December 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm - Reply

        I also strongly recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. More than just assuring you you are okay, perfectly normal, etc., it will help you realize your strengths and why others need people like you.

        • brennagee December 31, 2012 at 9:49 am - Reply

          I am a huge fan of Susan Cain’s Quiet. The book has done wonders to spread a deeper understanding of introverts. Made our traits more public and normal and valued. Thank you for suggesting it. We are on the same page.:)

  25. K December 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    You’ve just addressed my major source of anxiety. I’ve just learned I’m pregnant – first child at 39. We weren’t intentionally trying, but we also weren’t “not trying.” We were letting life decide. After over 2 years of this, I figured it wasn’t going to happen and had just started making plans for Phase 2 – getting back on BC and making travel plans, looking for a house so I can learn to garden, etc.
    I love babies and am very good with them. I engage children fairly easily and love their sweet hugs, etc. But I’ve had some horrific anxiety since getting the positive test result, and I realized today it all boils down to my introversion. I’m a very friendly, smiley, affectionate introvert. I’m nearly wrapped around my husband’s leg when we’re home together. I’m upbeat and positive and everyone at work swears I’m outgoing, but I rely very heavily on quiet and downtime – LOTS of it. My weekends are unscheduled. I allow myself one “social” thing per weekend and that’s it. The rest of the time is spent very happily taking walks alone or with my husband, napping, reading, cooking, listening to music, etc. I have been this way since I was a child. I realize that what scares me most about being a parent is losing this piece of myself, making myself (or worse – my familiy) miserable, etc. My mother is also an introvert, and I often felt I was in her way while I was growing up. I don’t remember her addressing her need to recharge in a very positive way. Her temper was quick, and I just learned to avoid her. I don’t want my child to feel this way about me. I’ve been having horrendous guilt over some of the doubts I’ve been having – whether it was wise for us to try being parents, etc.
    I’m hoping that the way I feel about my husband – that he is the only person I could ever tolerate being in the same room with for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – is how I will also feel about my child. The majority of my friends are extroverts, and I feel like they’re going to think I’m a bad mother.

    • brennagee December 18, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. I relate deeply to it. I have a feeling one child will be manageable and enriching for you. My first child, a boy, was the light of our lives. I couldn’t wait to get up with him in the middle of the night. I’ll admit, he was an easy baby. He could lie under his mobile/play yard for quite a while without needing attention. Not that I left him for hours unattended but while I folded laundry or made dinner he played happily.

      You have a definite advantage knowing your temperament. Your husband understands you too, I bet. You will work together to make sure you still get downtime. Remember the baby will sleep throughout the days too. There is no doubt that life will change for you but you are aware of your way of being. I’m sure you will be very in tune with your child as well.

      Most of all, I want you to know you are not alone in your worries, guilt and feelings. The way you described your mother makes me wonder if that is how my kids felt/feel about me. I think I am a more patient parent now. I laugh a lot more with my kids. I didn’t have a spouse who understood me. He wanted me to be extroverted all the time. I was exhausted. You are in a different situation. Be honest and talk openly with your husband.

      Focus on the love you are going to feel for this new person. Somehow moms and dads find the energy to care for their children. You will too.

      Best of luck. Keep me posted.:)

    • Kathy April 19, 2013 at 9:43 am - Reply

      When I found out I was expecting my daughter, I had many of the sames fears. I did not know, at the time, I was an introvert, because I fake being an extrovert quite well (until I become exhausted). My little girl is 8 now, and I really worried when she started school. She displayed many of the traits I viewed in myself as flawed or antisocial, and I was devastated. I had, despite my best efforts, produced a mini me! All those preschool play dates I drug us on, all those little friends I would invite over to send her hiding in a corner, and all the ‘advice’ I had received on how to raise her to be ‘normal’ came flooding back to me. It was all in vain.

      Mackenzie, my daughter, was truly blessed to have a kindergarten teacher who understood introversion. At our first parent/teacher conference she told me of an incident in the classroom where things had gotten a bit noisy. Mack stood up, walked over to the light switch and flipped it off (which is how the teacher gave the students a warning), waited for things to settle, and walked back to her seat with a big smile b/c things were quiet. For the first time, I had another parent, a teacher, and a fellow introvert describe my child’s behavior in glowing terms. She’s not shy, she is reserved. She likes to think things through before moving into action. She is assertive without being aggressive. She is a LEADER,
      not a follower.

      Then she, Mrs. C. the teacher asked me what Mack did with all the leaves she collected at recess. I explained we press them between sheets of waxed paper and store them in a scrapbook along with the type of tree and the area found. She asked if we would like to bring the book in, so I did the following week. As Mrs. C showed the class, she stopped to ask Mack (very nonchalantly) if she had a particular leaf she like the most or wanted to add anything. My little introvert took center stage!

      There’s a quiet strength to us, introverts, when we embrace what we are. When given a platform to demonstrate our gifts, we do so quite well. Parenting has been a platform for me. I feel we make wonderfully loving and supportive parents. Sometimes it involves stepping out of our comfort zone. We tried a season of soccer, and after the 3rd practice, Mack wanted to quit. Secretly I wanted her to also, but I felt it was important to see it through…her team depended on her, she had committed herself to the season, and it was a wonderful lesson in teamwork. I went to every single game and practice, and supported her. After the last game she was quick to go, “Whew…I sure am glad that’s over. I won’t play next year.”
      She didn’t. Instead we hiked and collected our leaves. 🙂

      I’m not flawed, and neither is my daughter. I enjoy being a mom now that I’ve taken some of the pressure off. Well meaning advice is just that, advice. What works for one, may not work for another. The one tried and true method I’ve found is to simply accept my child for who she is, and use my introspective imagination to build on her (and my own) strengths. She and I are growing together. We do spend a great deal of time together, but we aren’t always in “go” mode. Sometimes we simply do our own thing in the same room. I don’t push if she declines a play-date. I don’t put her on the spot in social gatherings. And most importantly I never, ever let anyone say “you just wait til she comes out of her shell”, without adding (and I do it nicely) she may want to find a larger shell one day. The view from the inside is beautiful.

      I wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth. 🙂 If you happen to churn
      out an introvert (smile) no worries! They’re quite amazing!

      • Julie June 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

        I wish you could have been my mom! That is so beautiful.

        disclaimer: I love my mother incredibly much, she is one of my best friends now that I am an adult, too, but….

  26. […] In Defense of Introverted Parents (Space2live.net) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Filed Under: Art, Grow, Inspire, Life, Quotes Tagged With: alone, Anxiety, inspiration, Inspire, introvert, jane austen, Peace, Philosophy, Photo, photograph, Psychology, Quotation, Quote, refuel, Relax, rest, Saturday, Saturday night, Self-help, solitude, Work, Worry « 1 Year. And Counting… […]

  27. Doug Toft (@dougtoft) September 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    What Drains Most Introverts’ Batteries? Holy shit. That is the most revealing checklist I’ve ever read. I thought this post rocked at that point and then it just continued and kept getting better. Thanks!

    • brennagee September 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks Doug for your enthusiastic kindness.:) I re-read the battery draining list. Some of those items drain extroverts as well but most of them are MAJOR energy suckers for introverts. I especially have a difficult time with interruptions and conflict. Laurie Helgoe’s Introvert Power inspired much of this post. Thank you again for your wonderful support!

  28. […] intake yesterday. Miracle. Determined to get this weight down before the hibernation period. As Brenna would say, Thanksgiving is the time of the year “when I feel like I’ve eaten a gallon of […]

  29. Dominique Santos July 28, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Crisp, clear, honest writing. And so helpful to read! In the midst of summer holidays now.., striking the balance, and often times falling down splat.

    An artists collective have constructed a temporary paddling pool/pebble beach/bar/garden on some derelict land under a railway arch where we live, and when I take the kids there, somehow it flows so well. I literally feel my tension evaporate. And this is, I think, because we are suddenly in a free, open space, where there is a sense of spaciousness and support. So the five year old can run and splash, make friends and explore the terrain. I can wander the deck with the baby, weaving in and out of cool conversations and exchanges with the other people gathered, who importantly are not all parents. Social segregation is pretty whack. So there are many different people supported in this space, and it all works, humming in an urban rhythm. Made me reflect on how much we regulate ourselves and our children (behave yourself/behave myself). Communal spaces that let us all be here and now, are precious things to cultivate and support.

    • brennagee July 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      I want to wander with you by the railway arch. That sounds like a beautiful space filled with open souls. I feel the same way when I go to the Loft to write and hangout with other writers. I bet your children are subconsciously picking up the colorful vibe of freedom. Enjoy!! Thanks for sharing glimpses of your life.:)

  30. David Kanigan July 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    “I feel like I’ve eaten a gallon of mashed potatoes and a gravy-injected turkey and washed it down with six or seven espressos.” LOVED IT. Replace potatoes with ice cream and the turkey with chocolate sauce and we are twinners!

    • brennagee July 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Ha ha! Potatoes/ice cream, yes the same over-full sluggish feeling… May we both soon feel the clarity and sharpness of a nice spinach salad.:)
      Thanks for reading and commenting David.

  31. elizabeth2560 July 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    This resonates with me as with everything else that I have learned to juggle in my life of late – and finally coping – this past few weeks I have also had visitors. My brother and mother visited in quick succession for five weeks in total. I was fusing out about things that were happening at work and juggling playing ‘host’ in the evenings and feeling guilty that I wasn’t relaxed when at home or did not really want to do the normal weekend “let us go for a drive and see the countryside” that one does when visitors come. Now reading your post I realise (as an introvert) that with the visitors coming I was losing that daily ‘me’ time I need…. that need to recharge in order to survive. Thanks for the reminder.

    • brennagee July 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      One of my introverted friends once said, “I am so NOT the more the merrier.” 😉 We do need our down time in order to be sunny individuals. I love people and visitors in small numbers and small doses. 5 weeks of visitors is a lot. I commend you for not needing a rubber room.;) One thing I’ve noticed about myself – if my people are not relaxed then I am not relaxed. I feel their energy. It’s good to have a solid tribe of introverts or understanding extroverts to hang out with. Thanks for your comment!!

  32. Mary July 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    I almost feel guilty just writing this and openly admitting to it, but I have finally begun to put Karma to bed at 9. That’s not what I feel guilty about! Since going back to work in February, I’ve treasured our nightly routine. We’d come home, I’d (and then we’d) have dinner, clean up the kitchen a little, play, read books, bathtime, etc. Then for her pre-bed bottle, we’d cuddle up on the couch, finish the bottle, and I’d lie with her until I was ready to go to bed. I LOVED having that time to cuddle with her. Now, here’s the guilt, I enjoy putting her down for the night so I can read or watch tv or catch up on some household chore that has been neglected or fall asleep on the couch! I love that we have dinner together (she in her highchair, me actually at the table, in the small space I’ve carved for myself amidst the chaos). I love getting down and playing with her (she loves walking to see Zoe the dog or to the window to look out), but by her bedtime, I am ready to unwind, alone. The guilt comes in that it seems like such a short time to spend with her, but I know it is quality time. My attention is all on her, and I know I NEED this time so I try not to feel the guilt.

    • brennagee July 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      Sounds like you are parenting in a very balanced way Mary. That one on one time with Karma is so precious and still very introvert friendly but for absolute renewal you need some time to yourself. You know what you need and in the end Karma benefits. Go you! Thanks for reading and sharing, really appreciate your perspective.;)

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