Family,  Motherhood,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings

Introverted mom problems: when mommy breaks just aren’t enough

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I’m totally giving myself grace and taking advantage of my dear husband by taking the time to write this post. Because I feel like this introverted mom needs it.

I’m currently sitting at our local Barnes and Noble. Sipping tea. I just finished doing computer “jobs” like updating our budget spreadsheet, transferring funds, and making a list of how much money to withdrawal from the ATM. I also finished our Christmas list, writing down what’s been purchased and what is left…and which paycheck the funds will come out of.

I left the house angry, frustrated. Tired.

The hard truth about introvert mamas getting a REAL break from their kids: I'm an introverted mom. I recharge by being alone. Alone time IS a necessity. But what do you do when you take break after break after break and you feel like you can just never get enough alone time to fully recharge?
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I got to sleep in this morning, ignoring my son who was standing at his door trying to get it open. For an hour. As long as he wasn’t crying, I was sleeping. I brought him to bed, nursed him, and giggled with him while we played the “get-your-nose” game while my husband laid sleeping beside us (or at least trying too). I thought…ahhh…this is such a peaceful Saturday morning.

Banana. Toast. Thomas on the TV. I sat down with coffee, Facebook, and a list of blogs to read.

I was really cruising through that folder of 100+ unread blog subscription emails…catching up on comments. Keeping up with friends and their cute pictures of their children’s Halloween costumes and pumpkin patch trips.

Then my husband stumbled out of the bedroom. Tired. Frustrated from angry dreams. He’s had a rough week. A really rough week.

He asked me, “So what’s the plan for today?”

I blew up inside:

Plan? Are you kidding me?!?!?!?! It’s Saturday. The one day I can at least pretend I have a day off. And I haven’t even finished my coffee. Really?!?!?!

The next hour was fraught with tense discussions, angry words, sighs, and doors shut just hard enough to not register as a “slam” but hard enough to make a statement.

I was so ticked off. Can’t he see? Doesn’t he know that the first hour of every day, Ezra watches Thomas while I have a DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging on the door of the invisible room that I shut myself in? Doesn’t he realize that as an introverted mom I NEED, but never get, a day off, Like, ever? How can he be so selfish? Why is he putting pressure on me like this? 

I don’t know what he was thinking during that hour. But I’m sure he had his own set of “can’t she see?” questions. He was hurting too. He was tired. He was frustrated. He was lonely.

I knew it. But I fumed anyway. I deserved to be more angry than he did. I’m the mom. My days are longer. My introverted mom issues are more important.

In my anger, I made a list on the wipe-off board of everything that needed to get done today.

He wants a plan? There’s a plan! If he wants something to do, he can look here and just leave. me. the. heck. alone.

I told him I didn’t care about the things that he wanted to do today that were important to him.

We got a shower. I laid in bed with my eyes shut while he banged around in the kitchen. Trying to breathe. Trying to pray. I knew that, as justified as I might be, I was still wrong in my attitudes and actions.

When I came out of the bedroom, he gave me an out:

Here, take your computer, go accomplish these errands on the bottom of your list…take the morning off.”

I simultaneously felt relief and like a piece of crap.

I got what I wanted. To be left the heck alone. While my husband who slept horribly and had the. worst. week in a long time is left at home to do the mountain of dishes I left for him and take care of the two-year-old boy who has been very prone of late to throw lots of tantrums.

I’m an introverted mom. I recharge by being alone. Alone time IS a necessity. But I really hate getting it like this…as some last resort. Like oh oh oh she’s gonna blow…we better back up and leave her be. 

I don’t want to be that kind of mother. That kind of wife.

I don’t want to feel like my default answer for, “What do you want to do today…tomorrow…this weekend?” is always “I want everyone to go away.”

But it’s where I am right now.

I was getting ready to pack up my stuff and leave Barnes and Noble to go to run the multiple errands I have left on my list, but I’d been putting off reading this post that was sitting in my inbox. Why it is okay to take a mom break. It was good. Helpful. I didn’t feel quite so bad.

But I’m still really wrestling with this. What do you do when you take break after break after break and you feel like it’s still not enough? I just came back from a 4 day conference where I felt like God was telling me to come to the well, that I need to find rest in HIM, not just alone time or coffee breaks. And then here I am two weeks later, alone, in a coffee shop…still feeling like I can never enough alone time.

I’ve been trying to take more time for God. But my best laid plans have failed. Like that morning I set my alarm an hour and a half early to have quiet time…and my son woke up the minute my alarm went off.

I keep crying out to Him for help. For grace.

Before I left the house, I rested my head on my husband’s chest.

“I’m sorry I don’t do this introverted mom thing so well,” I said.

I keep telling myself this is just a phase. He won’t be two forever. 

Everyone keeps telling me, “Enjoy it! They grow up so fast.” And I can feel the truth. These days are slipping away so fast. I’ll blink, and he’ll be grown. I don’t want to miss a thing.

Except for those days when I’d rather him go away and let me drink coffee and check Facebook in peace. 

Maybe it’s because I ran on empty for so long (my husband was gone for a whole year of my son’s life). Maybe there’s been so many deductions in my introverted mom “recharge” bank, that what little I can put in now just doesn’t seem to fill.

Or maybe all moms of two-year-olds feel this way. Someone, please tell me that I’m not alone.

I don’t have any answers. The older my son gets, the more I realize how clueless I am about motherhood. Marriage. balance. and grace.

So for now. I am just going to keep staying. Keep breathing. I’m going to finish this cup of tea. Go empty my bladder. Head to Walgreens and Walmart and Kroger and Goodwill.

And try to return home with a lighter heart and a smile. A kiss for my husband and a hug for my son.

And I am praying that, somehow, over the next hour of errands, God will multiply this brief hour or so I have spent alone and make it enough to get me through until the next mommy break.


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