The glass left my hand and slammed into the wall on the far side of the bedroom, shattering into hundreds of shards on the carpet. As I turned to the side, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror before sinking to the ground in sobs.
I didn’t recognize myself.
I had managed fairly well as an introverted mom when I just had one child. I had time to rest during my son’s naps and, after he began sleeping through the night, long evenings to spend alone with my husband. Even sleep deprivation was almost endurable with just one baby.
But when one baby became two, my margin dissipated and my stress levels rose. And when two became three, I reached a breaking point.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love my children. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to care for them. I had been called to and wanted to do both of those things. They had been my dreams. But as an introverted mother, the sudden increase in noise and in chaos kept my nervous system in overdrive every day.
I didn’t understand that at the time, though. That outburst with the glass happened over ten years ago, thankfully without anyone present, but I’ll never forget it. I realized I could no longer continue just getting by.
I could no longer ignore the warning signs.
I never thought of myself as an angry person until I had kids. Ever. I don’t think anyone else would have used that adjective to describe me either.
As a young mom, however, I didn’t understand enough about my personality to make sense of the transition I was undergoing as an introvert. But throughout the past decade of parenting life, I’ve learned three truths about anger that comfort me.
1. Anger is the natural response to the hard parts of motherhood, especially as an introvert.
For years, a pleasant, magical mother lived in my head, taunting me. She never got angry, but responded to her children in a sing-song voice like this:
“Oh, you bit your brother again? Don’t do that, sweetie!” (spoken while gathering child in a hug).
“You threw your toys all over the room during a tantrum and broke a window? We’re both going to laugh about this someday!”
“You didn’t like any of your birthday presents? I’m sorry. What else can we get you?”
Realizing that anger is the natural response to these situations, and in itself not wrong, lifted a huge weight of guilt off my shoulders.
2. Anger is an indicator to pause or change something.
Comparing anger to hunger helps. After all, we don’t try to eliminate hunger from our lives. It’s just a cue, a signal that our body needs fuel.
Anger is also a cue from our body, a signal that we need to pause.
We don’t just “press through” for the sake of it. We change course, walk away, breathe before dealing with the situation. Anger points the way toward peace if we pay attention.
3. Regular quiet is a must for an introverted mom.
Our children cannot flourish if we constantly live on the edge of our God-given personalities. We are all connected within these walls. That means we must do whatever we can to recharge on a daily basis.
We can lament this fact or view it as a gift. Regardless, it is a necessity, and if we neglect it, every person in our home will pay the price.
By taking care of ourselves, we can care for others well.
And this, after all, is what we most long to do.
An Introverted Mom’s Mother’s Day Wish List
Mother’s Day is around the corner, and whether you are an introverted mom yourself or your spouse is one, here are my suggestions for a relaxing day:
1. A morning cup of your favorite tea or coffee, delivered with a side of peace in which to savor it.
2. My new book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy, releasing May 7th.
3. A quiet hour alone at some point in the day, to begin reading the above.
4. Your favorite of five “introverted mom mantras,” (samples below) printed and put in a frame.
I wrote Introverted Mom not because I’m some kind of personality expert, but because I needed this book as a mom and it didn’t exist. How I desperately needed this book!
I needed someone to confirm that there was nothing fundamentally flawed with the mother I was. That my instincts could be trusted. That I wasn’t ruining my children. That somehow my family could live together without me constantly feeling like I was at the end of my rope.
I offer these words in the hope that other mothers will come by these insights more easily and earlier than I did. The book is one long pep talk and guilt-relieving permission slip, which is what introverted moms most long for on Mother’s Day!
If you preorder before its official release next week on May 7th, you’ll get the lovely Mother’s Day prints above, plus an entire “Year of Introverted Mom Inspiration”:
- for spring – Spring Break for the Introverted Mom (a week-long self-care journey that you can enjoy from home in just a few minutes each day)
- for summer – The Introverted Mom’s Summer Book Club (including my Read the World Book Club for your kids, too!)
- for autumn – Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood, my very first book and a printable pack that goes along with it
- for winter – The Introverted Mom’s Advent Calendar
A note from Tsh:
This book is the encouragement I wish I had when my kids were younger. In these pages, Jamie manages to both lovingly remind us introverts that we’re not alone in our parenting experiences, and inspire us to roll up our sleeves and do the beautiful work of raising our kids our way, leaning into the way we’re made instead of fighting against it. Her voice is full of wisdom, humor, and much needed here-in-the-trenches-with-you.