Being a parent is not at all what I expected. In my mind, the plan was to raise the kids as I'd been raised. Simple.
Then you meet your children.
One of my daughters is an introvert.
Many people assume an introvert is shy or anti-social. She is neither.
A good friend sent me the article Caring for Your Introvert: Habits and Needs of a Little Understood Group saying, "I wish I had the courage to send this to my mom."
It is a powerful insight into the world of introverts. Pause, take a moment to read the article, and then pop back over. I'll wait.
Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge.— Johnathan Rauch
This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.
This article completely changed the way I interact with my daughter.
Our family took a trip out to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We stayed in a cabin with the girls' grandparents at Custer State Park. We had an amazing time together. We hiked, we swam, we saw buffalo, we dug for dinosaur bones ... we made it an adventure.
My husband and I also decided in advance that we'd make it a goal to each spend individual time with our daughters on the trip.
An ideal date for a little introvert?
Mom and daughter sitting separately and watching people fish.
I expected a request for a trip to town for ice-cream.
Yet, a quick stop at the beach playground lead to an hour and a half of ... just being. She adventured off on her own, collected items on the beach, sat on the dock and just decompressed.
I admit, it was hard for me to not interrupt her and try to interact.
I labeled the Instagram above "Practicing being an introvert's mama." That's what I am doing, practicing and trying to find ways to support her in an extrovert's world.