I’m the mom in a family of five. Our family is comprised of: 1 Mom, 1 Dad, and 3 children, all daughters. It is also comprised of: 1 introvert (me), and 4 extroverts (them).
Everyone in my family is an extrovert, except for me.
In most studies of personality types, an extrovert/introvert is determined by how a person recharges. For example, I can handle myself in group settings with people I do not know well, but I don’t love it. And I’m wiped out when it’s over. I want to recharge by being in a quiet place, either by myself, or with one or two people that I am close to. Typically, an extrovert would be in their element in a group setting with people they don’t know well, and they’d love it. When it’s over, they are energized.
As you can imagine, this particular dynamic in our family has provided it’s challenges and growth opportunities. I enjoy a mostly quiet, organized home with occasional high energy activities. My loves don’t seem to notice that not only is the TV on, but so is the radio, when they decide to listen to and watch a You Tube video on their phone, talking to each other at the same time. What. The. Heck?!
Whether you most identify as an introvert or an extrovert, I’m going to share three valuable things I’ve learned by being the only introvert in our family:
1. Taking a quiet time break is OK.
There are definitely times that Mom needs a quiet time break. This may mean that the rest of the family has to entertain themselves for 20 minutes while I head to the backyard and read a few chapters of my latest favorite book. We have all learned that not only is this OK, but it’s good for ALL of us. I take care of myself with a much needed break, emerge with more patience and attention, and they learn the art of independence.
2. You meet people through your extroverts.
Our youngest has never met a stranger. The way I met one of my close friends (and OKCMB owner, Erin) is because my daughter walked across the street to play with some kids she’d seen in the cul-de-sac. We had not met them before, so I walked across the street also. That walk across the street started happening regularly and I began to look forward to it, along with my daughter. We connected – my youngest and her kids, as well as Erin and I. Win – Win.
3. Moving beyond your comfort zone has benefits.
I was helping out at church during a busy Easter weekend and my daughter was working alongside me for most of it. After we left church that day, she asked if we could do it all the time. I then signed us up for our Host Team, the group of people that welcomes everyone coming into church. That was two years ago and this introvert (points to self) has come to enjoy meeting new people, engaging strangers in conversation, and spending that time with my daughter has become one of my favorite hours of the week. BO-NUS for this quality time girl.
I’ll never forget the weekend that my husband was out of town and one by one, my children were all invited to spend the night with relatives or friends. My oldest was going to turn down her invitation because then “Mom would be all by herself.” That was the sweetest gesture. But totally unnecessary. I encouraged her to accept the invitation and I got the house all to myself for one glorious day, y’all.
If that sounds amazing to you, you might be an introvert…