There are so many different types of us out there – the extrovert mom, the bubbly mom, the mom that has had a rough day (I am sure I am not alone). I am an introvert working mom.
After a long day at work, all I wanted to do was sit on the sofa and close my eyes or watch TV and do nothing. My toddler on the other hand, after waiting for me the whole day, looked forward to 5pm and wanted to have an energetic and bubbly mom to play with her. She wanted me to be mentally present, just not physically. When we went to the park, or restaurant, she wanted to constantly engage with me. And I was able to a lot of times, but a lot of times, I just wanted to get lost in my quiet world and enjoy the calm. Of course there is no such thing as calm with a rambunctious toddler.
Sometimes I didn’t have enough exciting words to say to her or have a conversation about stars or her pretend world. I felt the words dry up. All I could tell her in those moments are conversation starters I had picked up from my nanny or my friends who are, I think, so good at coming up with things to engage with their kids.
I did not like that part of me which was trying too hard and failing. It was too much effort and I needed it to be natural and effortless. Because isn’t that what they tell you all the time , “it will just come to you”. But it doesn’t always just come naturally. Not to all of us. Some of us have to work at it and there is nothing wrong in that. Which is what I felt like I needed to know – it is OK to not always be the ball of energy, it is OK to take a moment to be just ME.
Over the course of last few months, I have changed my perspective a lot. There are a few things that have helped me become the “exciting/fun” mom:
- Managing my own expectations: Self- acceptance was key for me to realize that it is who I am and trying to change would be fighting the tides. So instead of fighting it, I embraced my introvert-ness. I accepted that I may not have the most exciting things to talk about all the time but that was okay. I had “things” to talk about and if I said in an interesting way, it was enough for my toddler to be happy and excited. That I am enough for my baby.
- Letting myself be: Once I stopped worrying about trying to be someone else, I became happier in general and that automatically brought new ideas and simple but fun things to do with my toddler.Children are very perceptive and they also don’t need much in life. They need happy people around them. It is all about the simple pleasures.
- It is okay to learn from others:I used to beat myself down for learning to engage with my toddler. And then an epiphany later, I asked myself, so what is wrong with that? We all learn. I do that work all the time!
- Getting some “Me Time”: An important self-awareness that I stumbled upon was that I needed “my time” – time for myself all by myself, without anyone. This was the time I would do whatever I needed to do – look at pictures, write a blog, browse, read –the stuff that was important to me.
I strongly believe that life is journey and we will continue to learn and evolve through the way. Things change, but it is important to take a pause, reflect, adjust and move on. Reflect on your journey through parenthood so far and share with us your “aha” moments.