"Good morning, mommy! It's a beautiful day! Who are we going to see today? Where will we go? What will we do? Mommy, why are you being so quiet? MOM, TALK TO ME!"
My two extroverted children climb in my bed every morning and fire these questions at me (the introverted one is sitting quietly playing in her bed). The noise pierces my ears and makes me want to hide under the covers. But at 5:45 a.m they're ready to start having fun! What they like to do is not always fun for me though. Fun is reading a good book. Fun is having an intelligent conversation with a close friend. It's putting your pajamas on and going to bed by 9:00. It's watching Gilmore Girls.
My kids are extroverts and I'm an introvert. I'm sure some of you share this parenting challenge with me, so you can relate.
Also, where are you? Can we form a support group?
So with all my experience, I've come up with 6 things that you can expect to happen when you are an introvert parenting extroverted kids.
- They will talk to you all the time and you will just want them to STOP. For the love of all things quiet and peaceful, please just sit there and say nothing. For one minute or two. Is that too much to ask? On the plus side, you will never have to wonder what they're thinking. They will tell you. All the time. Over and over.
- They will want to be around you all the time. In the same room as you, right next to you, TOUCHING you. There's no such thing as them playing alone, or quietly entertaining themselves in another room. They want you to play WITH them. They want to give you a play by play of what they're doing and they want your feedback. You on the other hand would like to just experience things and not necessarily talk about them.
- There is noise. All the time. Singing. Laughing. Stomping. Dancing. Screaming. Crying. Loud and dramatic noise because they want to be seen and heard. Silence doesn't even happen while they're sleeping because they're talking to you over the monitor. You will crave silence like a new mom craves sleep, yet it will be unattainable in the same way.
- When they're with friends, they have even more energy than they normally do. Is it possible for this tiny ball of energy to be more wild? Yes, yes it is. Extroverts recharge their batteries by being around other people. So what's a fully charged extrovert toddler like? And what are two of them like together? I won't even try to paint that picture for you. Pass the coffee now. I need lots of it.
- They will want a play date just about everyday. You will want to stay in the comfort of your home. But they will not allow it. If they're to be functioning properly (i.e. not having multiple meltdowns) they need social interaction. And lots of it. This is exhausting to you. You like people, but you'd rather recharge by reading a book or watching Netflix on the couch.
- You will have the opportunity to create the best friendships ever with your kids. They will confide in you and you will get to support them. They will engage you, and the time you have playing together will create a strong bond. They will tell you you're their "best friend" and you will completely forget about how challenging it is to parent them.
Extroverted children are fun and adventurous. They challenge you to be more, do more, and love more. So while it can be exhausting to meet their personality needs when they are so different from yours, it's incredibly rewarding. You are raising the leaders of tomorrow. And you are becoming a better person in the process! Just don't forget to lock yourself in the bathroom every now and then. You need that time alone!