As I believe I’ve mentioned, Mother’s Day to me is a big deal. I don’t give a hoot about Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, or any other Hallmark holiday. Mother’s Day, however, I am dead serious in its execution.
Why? Because as an introvert, I need my alone time. Time to regroup. Time to let my thoughts sort themselves out in the quiet moments of boredom. Guess what NEVER happens during parenthood? All of those things.
Now I am a lucky woman because I have a husband who understands me. Understands my need for alone time. I usually get a chunk of time, if we have it, to myself each weekend. Problem is, with kids comes obligations, responsibilities, and birthday parties, oh my God, the birthday parties. Not to mention baseball practice, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and dance practice.
So what I ask of Mother’s Day is simple: No responsibility. No one to need me. I know, one day I’ll miss it, but now in the throes of life with youngish kids, STFU.
Parenting is tough for an introvert. We crave alone time. We like our routine, our schedules and control of our daily lives. Again, none of these things happen when you have children. We like the quiet. We hate meeting new people. We hate new, unfamiliar situations. Parenting makes you experience these things all the time. And I have two people looking up at me to show them the way. Show them how to navigate social situations. Guess what I don’t do well? All those things!
When placed in new situations, I am an awkward, stumbley mess and am usually overwhelmed by my surroundings. Add two kids to that unease who say and do whatever they feel like and I can no longer hide along the wall where I’m most comfortable. I have to jump into the fray, figure out the lay of the land, and do so dam quick, so I can assure my kids that contrary to my inner self’s musings, people are good. You should want to interact with people, make friends, be a productive member of society. Not, like me, dread the sound of the doorbell. All of this is exhausting to an introvert.
Fortunately and unfortunately, my son is my mini me. He’s fine without people. He’s social and likes people, but given a choice, he’d be reading. Ha! No, I’m kidding, he’d be playing a video game. It’s me who’d rather be reading. When the two of us are together, it’s awesome. We each take a chair and experience togetherness doing our own thing in the same room. Relax, I push when needed, but I also understand my introvert kid doesn’t need to be on the go all the time.
Now my daughter craves interaction. She’s an extrovert to the fullest. While I wouldn’t classify her father as an extrovert, I’d say they are similar. G needs people, loves them and wants to spend time with them every single second. Her dad, while not needing people as much, still enjoys entertaining and spontaneous get togethers. I would rather hide in my room or binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. This is why we are a good match. He makes me come out of my shell just often enough so that I don’t become the hermit cat lady and my family and friends still know what my face looks like and that I can be in fact a very sociable nice person. If he didn’t push, I’d be Martin Mull on that episode of the Golden Girls. (For non-fanatics and those under 22, Dorothy friends a man who hasn’t been out of his apartment in 20 years because he was agoraphobic.)
I feel like I’m getting off track. Basically, I take this one day each year to unleash my full introvert potential. I am like the fun aunt to my kids. I love them, laugh with them, and do the fun stuff, but when the hard responsible part comes up, for today only, I get to hand them to their dad no questions asked. I get to go back to my book, or my mid-Mother’s Day nap. One day a year, there’s no mom guilt for how I’ve failed them. No feeling lazy for not wanting to pick dandelions with them. Every whine, every request, every need is answered with, “Go get your dad.” And it’s awesome.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I even love the responsibility and the hard parts. It makes me a better person. It makes life worth living. It brings fullness to my life. But today, just today, I get to see the greener grass on the other side. Just for 24 hours. And you know, it’s actually too quiet in here…