Being a mom is hard. Being an introvert mom is harder. At first, the thought of people being required to stay 6 feet away from me seemed nice. The cancelled plans brought a sense of calm to an otherwise hectic schedule. No more making lunches, struggling with schoolwork, or fighting traffic. Gone was the panic of hoping I wouldn’t be late for work, to drop off the kid at school in time, get to their sport events, to return the library books, and to get home in time to make dinner. In all honesty, as the quarantine stretches on and the news gets more and more depressing, it’s getting harder and harder to gracefully survive quarantine as an introvert. The cabin fever is getting real and I’m getting pissed the f$%k off.
Introverts and Anxiety
We introverts tend to have anxiety and obsessive tendencies. We may have lists of things to do, or a routine that cannot be interrupted without throwing off our day. We may seem odd, but we do these things to maintain a sense of control of our lives. It brings us comfort. As we spend more time at home and have fewer places to go, we are able to whittle those to-do lists, and at some point we hit a wall. There is only so much we can do and our routines then become even more important. Without activities and events to look forward to, we get anxious, even if we weren’t thrilled about those things in the first place.
Our Anxiety Makes Us Jerks
If you have ever disrupted the routine of someone with anxiety, then you know what I’m talking about. We have difficulty with change to our routines and schedules, and this pandemic has brought nothing but change. Each day, there is more and more uncertainty and less and less control over our world. So, for all the introverts that seem like jerks, let me say that we are sorry and we don’t mean it. We are just as uncertain about the future as everyone else, but with a feeling of hopelessness that comes with not being able to control our surroundings.
Recharging: Introverts vs. Extroverts
Extroverts recharge by being around other people. They feed off the energy of others like a social vampire. Introverts recharge by spending time alone or being with a close friend or small group of like-minded people. Introverts tend to have fewer acquaintances than extroverts and strong bonds with a few close friends. Extroverts tend to discriminate less and may have tons of friends and several people that they would consider best friends.
Although introverts may have fewer strangers to interact with, we also have less opportunity to recharge. We can’t socialize with the people we need to so we can regroup and, if you’re a parent, there is very rarely alone time. This can be problematic for the psyche and make it very difficult to survive quarantine as an introvert.
Advice for the Extroverts
Give us space. Don’t smother us and try to “fix” it. Ask what we need. Usually the best thing you can do is find us time to get it together. Take the kids out of the house, do some chores for them, let your introvert take a nap, let them go for walks alone, give them time and space to read or watch TV. If you live with or are married to an introvert, this is especially important.
We are holding it all together for everyone else so we need you even more now. You take care of us and we will take care of you.
Our homes are a big part of our world. Sometimes picking up the clutter, organizing a closet, or adding some flowers can bring order to an introvert’s “world”. Take care of the introverts in your life right now.
Advice for Introverts
You are not alone. Your friends will still be there later. They have not forgotten you. Life has changed so much lately and the world will be a different place after this. Now is the time to find new ways to care for yourself. Be honest, be kind, and be creative. You can get through this!