Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mothering...And the Introverted Mom

I've been thinking about the balancing act of an introverted APing Mom. Try to follow me here, this post goes all over the place!

I've found since Amity was born, that I don't have it in me to be parent the way I did when it was just Riley. I suppose that's normal, I have more people in my life who it is my responsability to take care of. Amity cannot hang on me all day long,.She gets set down a lot, much more than Riley ever did. But then again Amity likes (with in reason) to sit and play with a toy on her own- or watch Riley and Barnabas play together.

And another thing, I don't enjoy a ton of skin to skin contact. I feel guilty for saying it, but I honestly don't like skin to skin contact and I limit it. Even right after birth...I held Amity skin-to-skin for her first 10 minutes or so. But after that I'd had enough. I wanted a hot shower to wash off the last 4 hours of crazy transition, breathing and pushing in that warm August evening. I LOVE to snuggle, but give me a comfy t-shirt and some sweatpants (and after giving birth a giant ice pack and some numbing spray ;0)- I'll snuggle for hours!
But I can't handle the skin. After "times" with the hubby- I want my clothes (or at least a shirt) on immediately after we're done. I guess that's a sensory thing for me. It is a HUGE treat (for him) and a very rare thing for me to snuggle skin to skin with my husband. I just get extremely cranky after a few short minutes. Nothing makes me feel more touched out! It wasn't so bad before we had kids. But when Riley came the snuggling skin-to-skin with Ryan stopped. For one thing breastfeeding means milk and it's really not comfy to snuggle in a puddle of milk because the skin to skin is causing let down (yes that's how sensitive I am to being touched). I rarely hold my babies skin to skin, maybe 3 or 4 times in RJ's life (but then again she's like me and would get ultra over stimulated being held that way), and more with Amity because it seems to calm her down.

Oh and I'm defining "skin to skin" contact as my shirt off and baby in just a diaper. Obviously nursing gives a lot of "skin to skin" but when I think "skin to skin" I think of the shirtless full body kangaroo care image- I think it seems beautiful - but in reality I can only take VERY short increments of it- I wonder why that is?

Which leads to my next thought, with all the little hands and needs touching and pulling on me all day long I find myself touched out way faster than I ever did in in RJ's early months. I feel kind of bad for Amity because she's getting parented so differently than Riley did- I mean I guess that's just the plight of the subsequent sibling. They never get it as good as the first.

I wonder what it would be like if I was a different personality. I am an introvert and I'm realizing I'm a lot happier when I get a good 20 minutes a day completley alone. How I charish those times! And how seldomly it happens when you have two littles under two.

So I wonder what it would be like to be an extrovert- would I have more fun with my kids? Some days I just want them to leave me alone! :0/

Oh and the difference between introver and extrovert as I see it is not about social needs.

I am an introvert that loves people (okay I love some people- the older I get the less I like all people ;0).
I am very socially inclined (or was before I had kids sucking me dry literally and figuratively).
I love a good laugh and just BEING with people. However I do not do well with people who aren't good at just being they drain the heck out of me. I love sitting back in group situations and watching my friends, listening to them, just letting life flow around me...I enjoy good conversation, but too much talking drains and makes me cranky. And if I am trapped in a situation where I have to be with people with no where to find a quiet place and privacy to recoup; I get very anxious, cranky, and down right bitchy. Ask any friend who I have ever been to camp, on retreats, or on roadtrips with- not pretty. I am NOT any fun to be around- add sleep deprivation into that and watch out. Looking back it's by God's grace alone I survived (and my class mates as well) my DTS outreach.

Anyway that was a big rabbit trail: introverts and extroverts aren't about socialability (is that a word?). It's about how you process life and what "drains your battery".

Introverts: process life inwardly. They have to work things out inside of themselves with time alone before they can share it with others. Some need to share and process outwardly after a time as well, but that depends on if they are a verbal person or not. Introverts can be VERY social or VERY antisocial- the need varies from person to person, or even on how much is going on in their life. If a lot of stuff is happening, they may tend towards skipping social situations and getting alone so they can process (all those poeple I alienated when my Dad died...). Bottom line: introverts recharge by being alone.

Extroverts: process life with other people. Many have to talk out and get feed back to process any thing...Some thing they are learning, some thing they have learned, or things that have happened. Very extroverted people can even be known for having the exact same conversation with the same people over and over and over again as they process new levels of some thing that they are trying to work through or understand (*cough* my dear husband *cough*). The amount of time and social interaction needed can very widely for extroverts. But bottom line, they recharge by being with people.

What does this mean as a mother? I don't know. All I can say is that I'm glad God is so selective in sending us the kids that are best for us. And Amity is making noises...Must run and nurse her down again....

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