People tell me all the time that I can’t possibly be introverted because I’m sociable. What extroverts don’t realize is that introverts can be very sociable, but being sociable DRAINS an introvert. It’s exhausting to do all that social stuff. Listening to people talk and then having to respond drains us of our mental, emotional and physical energy. Some introverts are taxed quicker by social interaction than others, but it’s still taxing!
When an introvert is feeling depleted of their strength, the best way to refill is with quiet alone time. The problem with being an introverted homeschool mom is it’s almost impossible to find quiet alone time! We are with our kids all day long! Children are the complete opposite of quiet & alone. Even if they aren’t keeping you physically active, an introverted mom with find herself exhausted after interacting with her children all day – even though she loves it!
There are some ways to keep yourself from becoming too weary at this daily onslaught of social interaction. It just takes a little planning & foresight.
Quiet Time / Naps
One of the easiest ways to give yourself some alone time is to have a scheduled quiet / nap time. A half an hour where all is quiet in the house and no one is allowed to disturb you may give you just the pick-me-up you need. After you’ve gotten kids settled, do whatever you need to recharge. Read a book, study your Bible, enjoy a cup of tea while watching your bird feeder. Just as we schedule quiet/nap time so our kids are rested and recharged, we need to use that time to do the same.
Usually after lunch, both the kiddo and I grab a book and just curl up and read. Sometimes I just send him off to play quietly in his room or outside while I purposefully take a few minutes to veg-out with a book.
Get Up Early or Stay Up Late
This is one of those things that can be easier said the done. Especially if you have multiple kids that don’t all sleep the same hours! Try to schedule yourself a little time before the kids wake or after they go to bed.
I get up early with my husband to get him out the door. I then have some time to myself before Bug wakes. This is the perfect Bible Study and meditation time. If I can just BE for a while, I feel much more ready for my day. I’ve been known to send Bug off to his room with my phone if he wakes too early and I don’t feel that I’ve charged enough!
Fill Your Child’s Bucket First
Even if your child leans more toward being an introvert, they have a need for interaction with you. If your child happens to be an extrovert like Bug, they thrive on this interaction even more. Part of being a mom is giving of yourself to your child. If you give of your undivided attention and energy to fill their bucket, they then have the ability to leave you alone so you can fill your own bucket.
Before I figured out this trick, it seemed like Bug’s bucket was never full. I would respond to every request for attention yet it never seemed to be enough. Every request seemed to interrupt something else that needed to be done and I then didn’t feel I could complete household chores let alone get some quiet time to fill my own bucket. One day I gave into him asking to play a game. I gave him all my attention – not jumping up to do a chore or check Facebook – and played a game with him. Investing in this time gave him what he needed to then keep himself occupied while I did chores and got my alone time I needed. Sure the game was a little draining on me, but not as much as having to switch gears every 5 minutes!
Steal a Moment
Every now and then you will find that all is calm and peaceful and you have no little hands pulling on you. Take it. Breathe deep and say a prayer. Drop the stress and the to do list for just a couple minutes and be purposeful in the recharging of you. This can act like turbo charge to get you through the next part of your day.
I will also steal a ‘quiet’ moment with some music in my earbuds, usually while doing a chore. I will drop all my focus except the music and the one assignment before me. If you have little kids you may need to do this with just one earbud in so you can listen for when you are needed. The music helps tune out the extra sounds that remind that there are other people about.
Encourage Independent Study
It’s our ultimate goal to get our children learning on their own for their own benefit. But independent learning provides an additional benefit to the introverted mom. When they are able to do their school work without you, it opens up your time to deal with household chores which in turn allows you to use more down time to recharge your soul.
Even if you have multiple children with some that are too young to handle independent study, teaching the older children as they are able (start with just one subject!) means you have fewer children to handle at any one time. You bucket then gets drained a little slower and you can last a little longer before you recharge.
Ask for Help
It’s OK to ask your spouse or a friend to hang with your children so you can get a much needed break. The above tips may not be feasible in your life right now. That doesn’t mean you have to run on empty all the time. If you aren’t able to get the time in any other way, schedule a regular time to just step away. Go for a walk, read a book at a local coffee shop, or go for a drive with your favorite album playing. You must give yourself priority sometimes because no one else will do it for you.
Don’t forget to ask our Father for help as well. You may not be able to see where you can find the recharge time, but He can clearly see the big picture. He will help you find the time.
Give Yourself Grace
There are times where your bucket is just going to be EMPTY. You can’t possibly make it through another moment. For me, I usually blow up at some silly little thing when I get to that point. Maybe you just break down in tears. It’s going to happen. When it does, give yourself a little grace. Cancel the rest of school and put a movie on. Order a pizza and pull out the paper plates. Then get away by yourself. You aren’t failing at being a homeschool mom. You are just being human. None of us is perfect. When you’ve sufficiently recharged, go gather your kiddos into a big hug. They love you – weaknesses and all.