introverted extrovert

Ever since I was in high school and I learned about “extroverts” and “introverts” there was not a question in my mind that I am an extrovert.

Not only am I pretty out-going, but I thrive on being the center of attention.  Anyone who has known me for any part of my life will attest to this.  I talk a lot, and I talk loudly.  I am not afraid to jump in and throw in my two…even three cents.  In fact, it’s been said I might not know when to shut up sometimes.  And awkward silences and pauses in the conversation?  Hate ’em.

does this look like an introvert to you?

Yup, I lived my life assuming I was a complete extrovert.

And then I had kids.

More specifically, then I had Eddie and ended up with postpartum depression and anxiety and wanted to crawl out of my skin and smack all the people in my life who ever asked me a question or needed me when I had nothing left to give.

::takes breath::

I mostly got all that mess under control.  Just in time to have another baby.

Up until recently I have been telling you that I have been doing great.  And I have!  It’s not a lie!

But.

(yup, there’s always a but…)

But there has been some…skin crawling lately.

Today I sat in the familiar chair in Dr. M’s office (my therapist) and took a huge, cleansing breath.

I did not have anyone that needed me in that instant.  And I told her that.

So we started talking and I admitted that my week was not off to a good start.  My skin was crawling and I couldn’t wait to drop the boys off at the sitter to just GET AWAY.

And at the same time I missed their sweetness fiercely.

But I did not miss the nagging and the whining and the hanging and the crying and the fussing and the disobedience and the messes.

I had even crabbed at Cort for not remembering appointments and things on the calendar and asking me the same question 45 times.  Ok, more like 3 times, but when you are strung out on caring for 2 small kids, it SEEMS like 45 times.

I watched Eddie throw a tantrum of epic proportions this weekend and all I could think was, “THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO DO!”  That yelling, crying, throwing things, incoherent anger ball of a three-year-old?  That was me on the inside. I so badly wanted to throw that tantrum right back at him.

But I am not three.  I am thirty-four.  I can’t throw a tantrum.  Or I shouldn’t.  So I didn’t, but that meant all that tantrum was still banging around inside me.  It meant there was still screaming going on in my head.

As Dr. M says, that is not a good place to be in.

I need to recharge.  Figure out what makes me come back to a level where I have something left to give.

This is when I realized that I am indeed and introvert.

The way I recharge? Is to get away from all the people.

Before kids, this was built into my life.  When I got home from work?  Cort wasn’t home yet.  I had the summers with no one home.  I could bury my nose in a book and block out the world quite easily because no one depended on me for survival…or for a new diaper.

It never occurred to me that being away from people was what made me so good around people.

Last Tuesday I managed to get both boys to nap at the same time for about 30 minutes.  It was all I needed to sit by myself with a book on the back deck for a few minutes.

I was good for the next few days.  I was in good spirits and could handle the mood swings of my older son.

But this weekend was busy.  Oh it was fun, but there was not one minute where no one depended on me…where I wasn’t “on”.  This drained my levels to the point where I wasn’t starting my week “fresh” today.

And so my crawling skin as I sat in Dr. M’s office.

I am not a bad mom; I am a GREAT mom.  I just require time away from all the action to regroup.

I require time in my head away from reality.

My homework as I left Dr. M today was to figure out ways to get small amounts of time (like the 30 minutes on the deck) to fill up my “giving tank”.  I also need to learn to reach out and ask for days “off”.

Not because being a mom is too hard or I have things to do, but because I need time to just be me: an adult who needs some time to herself to do everything or nothing.  To clean the whole house or sit in my jammies all day.

My name is Katie.  And I am an introverted extrovert.

I’ll rock your face, but then I need some time alone with my book.

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