My two year old, Olivia, is a firecracker. She's boisterous, loud, talkative, intense, hilarious, demanding, cuddly, adorable, and the definition of extrovert.
My parents say that she is what I used to be as a child. I vehemently deny that correlation because there is no way that I was that stubborn.
Especially when I compare myself to now. If I was really like my daughter is now, then I am [mostly] unrecognizable. There's part of my previous self that really wants to shine again, but the adult version of me suppresses her quickly.
I've sped down the track of introversion. As the years of motherhood quickly accumulate, the memories of that extremely lively girl that once was, fade further into history.
I have five little ones ranging from 8 years down to 5 months. It's the greatest privilege and blessing to mother many children. Not many mothers get the privilege to do so. And many more would rather not.
We are a rare find. Mothers who literally must pour into child upon child daily. Pulled by several needs at once. Sometimes thinking, "woah! Where do I go first?"
Then the part of you that longs for peace and that quiet stillness; the part of you that desires harmony and coordination, it rears it's ugly head in these moments.
"One at a time!!!..."
And then there's that piece of you that is craving for outside interaction. Just one mom's night or one "something"..."ANYTHING" that is not connected to mothering several.
You finally put your foot down. You MUST make more friends!! You MUST do all the things that aren't all the things you are so consumed with while mothering so many.
You plan for it.
It's on the calendar.
Your husband plans to be home to care for your children no matter what.
You, the introverted mom of many, are getting OUT.
As the days on the calendar seem to pass at the speed of light towards the day of freedom (because days always seem to speed by for the introverted mom of many that has non-motherhood plans), panic sets in.
You think, "I really have nothing to wear that's cute enough to be in public without my kids. I mean, it's cool to be in public with half a dozen following you in your mom jeans and messy hair with no makeup with the baby bjorn as your sole accessory because it fits the story you're telling. Who needs cute dangly earrings anyway? At least my kids are all dressed and are wearing shoes. And at least we're actually existing beyond our typical rhelm right now!"
"So yeah, if I go out for real this time, I'll have to buy something to wear and I honestly don't want to spend the money right now."
"Eh, the more I think of it, the more I think I'll just be too tired to get out. I may not go."
"But you need to go..."
You secretly hope your friend cancels on you the night beforehand. This way you won't need to cancel on her and you'll stay safe at home relieved to avoid what could be a tsunami of small talk (which could very likely put you in a tailspin towards extreme social/mental/emotional exhaustion).
When she doesn't cancel and you wake up the next morning on the day, you may consider the worst: "hmm...I wonder if anyone doesn't feel well today. That would surely get me off the hook tonight. I couldn't possibly leave one of my babies when they have an acute cough or a splinter or something."
Anxiety ridden, the battle within is intense. You need to go, but the excuses in your brain keep multiplying faster than your laundry pile.
Chances are, you'll end up not going. The excuses will once again trap you in your "safe spot".
And then, you'll spend the rest of the night thinking you should've gone, you're missing out, and your life is so boring. Well, that's a perplexing concept. But we all know our lives as moms of many are anything BUT boring.
The truth is, it's all too comfortable staying in our comfy, non-trendy clothes, makeup-less and amidst the chaos of hearth and home. While our brains are screaming for the mute button, we still long for that connection outside of where we thrive most.
But, are we really thriving? Are we giving ourselves the time and refreshing we need?
Sure, it's tough to break past that anti-social brick wall. It's usually hard for many moms to not feel that pesky "mom guilt" before heading out for a few hours. But, I truly believe it's that much harder for us introverted types to not only battle the guilt within, but to break down that wall as well.
And it's simply exhausting. It just is.
I want to encourage all of us introverted mom's of many to make a plan to get out and be social (with or without our children) just once this month. It won't be easy. And honestly, thinking of it actually happening gives me a twinge of anxiety. But we must try. In the end, I'm predicting we will all be better moms to our broods because of it.
Here's to breaking down the walls that grip us so. Here's to no more excuses.