You know that person who can enter any room and immediately make an individual connection with several people while simultaneously being the life of the party? I’m not that person, but my son definitely is. I’m perfectly content hanging out with my circle of close friends and not branching out and meeting new people, whereas my son feels the need to introduce himself to everyone and ask them to play with him. Life as an introvert with an extroverted child can be exhausting, but I think I’m starting to get a better handle on it as time goes on. Here are some tips I’ve discovered that work for me:
Tip #1: Get out of the house.
I’ve found that whenever I stay home for a prolonged period of time (I’m looking at you, rainy days), Henry goes stir crazy and I get all touched out. He does not play alone well, and for long periods of time, so naturally he seeks me out whenever I’m trying to take a breather. It helps us to get out of the house, only if it’s to run errands, so I can get a mental and physical break in the car.
Tip #2: Find places to play with other kids.
This is closely tied to the first tip. Usually when we flee the house, we are headed to a playground or the local library. This is probably our favorite thing to do each day. Henry gets his energy out, I get a break from one-on-one time and even get to talk with other moms. Sure, I still play with him during our activities, but he also loves to play with other kids (he’s starting to insist we only go to playgrounds where other kids are present).
Tip #3: Take quiet time for yourself every day.
For me, this means going to the gym to sweat it out while Henry plays in the kids zone. It works for both of us – I get some good exercise in and he gets to play with different toys and kids than he would at home. I also love naptime, not only for the quiet time for Henry but also for me to take a nap. I’m not productive during this time, and I’m okay with that.
Tip #4: Accept your differences and embrace each other’s individuality.
This was probably the most difficult thing for me to realize. Henry approaches the world in a vastly different way than I do. He gets his energy from being around others, and I need time away to re-energize. By understanding this basic concept, I’m able to be a better, more present parent during our time together (and receive his tackle hugs of affection with love and laughter).