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The Unique Struggles of Being an Introverted Parent

Photograph by Twenty20

By definition, introverts are primarily concerned with their own thoughts and feelings, and tend to shy away from or be uncomfortable in group situations. Do you prefer to spend an evening with a book, rather than on the dance floor? Do you make plans, then regret it? Does the thought of doing a presentation give you clammy hands? Does a large party make you want to leave? If so, you may be an introvert.

So while you're growing up and moving around in the world where it's just you, or you and a partner, you can effectively minimize interactions you aren't keen on having (hello, online shopping!) But throw a kid into the mix, and it's a whole new story. Suddenly, you no longer have the ability to quietly rotate in your own circle of family and friends, and it can take some getting used to.

RELATED: Motherhood Turned Me Into an Introvert

Here are 6 challenges only introverted parents can relate to:

Birthing a child. Even if you have a "no observers allowed" policy when you're having your baby, your hospital room can become a swarm of medical personnel when you're pushing a kid out of your vagina, which everyone seems to be looking at. C-sections are no better because you have even more people staring at you. Just stop looking at me, OKAY?!

Calling people. Okay, not everyone is a freak about having to call people on the phone, but I can tell you this—my life became infinitely easier when texting became a thing and I didn't have to actually speak to a live human being all the time. Of course, this doesn't work for calling the doctor, the school, or really anything official, which I seem to have to do on a constant basis. And while I've been doing this for 20 years now as a parent, I do still feel like a huge awkward nerd sometimes when trying to explain something simple to the school's nurse. Basically, don't call me, thanks.

I've sat through many "planning" meetings feeling super awkward and not saying a word.

Those first school days. Once your kid enters school, you suddenly have to interact with a bunch of people who are basically strangers. Your child's teacher, for one, but also the rest of the staff and other parents. They will also expect you to know what you're talking about, which, even though you totally do, may not be totally apparent to an outside observer.

Class parties. And if you volunteer to hang out in your child's classroom for class parties, you're going to have to get comfortable with other people in a hurry. The good news is that your kid's classmates will be the easy part—coordinating with other parents may not be. I've sat through many "planning" meetings feeling super awkward and not saying a word.

RELATED: How to Nurture Your Introverted Child at Family Gatherings

Birthday parties. Soon, your child will likely be invited to a birthday party outside of school for a classmate. When they're little, you may feel the need to stay with them, which can come at a price for you—socialization may be easy for your kiddo, but maybe not you, and the outing can feel like nails on a chalkboard.

Silence can be hard to come by. Introverts need quiet time and plenty of personal space to refuel and recharge. This can be a massive challenge when you have children crawling all over you all the time, chattering about what donkeys eat for breakfast and why is that man is wearing overalls, Mommy?

So don't forget to take care of yourself, get alone time when you can, and just avoid answering the phone unless you have to—because stuff and things and feelings. It's hard. It's all hard. But parenting is absolutely worth it, even though you dread having to tell the school secretary that your child stuck a pea up her nose and will be missing another school day.

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