Parenting as an introvert #1

I view the following paragraphs not so much as complaints, than as observations, from a woman desperately trying to retain her self-identity.

Being the introverted mother of an extroverted child has been my greatest challenge. He derives energy from everyone and everything, and those same things drain me. He’s always replenishing energy. I never get a recharge. For that I need peace and quiet. Hah hah, with a toddler around, that’s quite a funny concept.

Quarantine has been difficult. I’ve been keeping distance from my parents, both with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to complications. Before the whole virus thing, I could ship him off for a week or two to Grandma’s house and get a chance to recoup. But now it’s been seven months without a break. And I am struggling.

I have to stop writing now because I have to help him build a couch cushion house.

The reason I can’t write is because my writer’s brain is separate from my maternal self. It takes concentrated energy to switch between them, energy I don’t have. The constant back and forth is maddening. The toddler isn’t going anywhere, so my only option is to be a mom all the time. Never myself.

He was yelling at me to help him and then I went to help and he yelled at me for helping. So I went back to writing. Now he’s yelling for help again. My nerves are at an end.

Now my husband is watching him. But I know it’s only a matter of time. That puts pressure on me to do as much as I can in a small amount of time, and then writing isn’t fun, and then I don’t have a reason to do it, because it’s not a release but a chore. I’ll try.

Every day we watch videos of parents collaborating with their kids on box forts, unboxings, craft projects, all kinds of crap, none of which I find interesting or fun or mentally stimulating. I don’t have the energy for that. Does it make me a failure at parenting?

When I was pregnant, a counselor I was seeing told me that I would lose interest in my hobbies because parenting would be everything. In her mind I guess that was supposed to make me feel better? It didn’t. I was a sobbing mess. The truth that I now understand is that I didn’t lose interest in anything, but I did lose the ability to act on my interests. Perhaps she thought her way of phrasing was kinder than the truth.

He found me. He’s pounding on the door.

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