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Old 02-02-2016, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Arizona
323 posts, read 251,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post
You may have noticed a couple of threads I've created here in recent months that detail the reasons for my sitting on the fence.

Chief among them is the fact that I'm a hardcore introvert.

My idea of the perfect home: My wife and I in a cozy 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with a cat. My idea of the perfect life is a simple one. I am also passionate about animal welfare and giving to the needy.

However, as I noted in my earlier posts, I sometimes get the itch to have a child of my own (preferably a daughter). My wife likes kids more than I do, and her stance is as follows: She would rather have a kid, but if we don't have one, then so be it. Given some of her health issues (thyroid, PCOS, etc.), she doesn't even know if she'll be able to conceive. Still, I don't want to deprive of her of motherhood.

There's a reason I keep posting these threads: I am highly self-aware. I have a keen sense of what I like and don't like.

However, I'd like to hear from other introverts who have taken the leap. How has it worked out for you? Is being a parent seriously at odds with your temperament? Has the lack of quietness and tranquility adversely affected your life in any way?

I want to determine if maybe I am overthinking things (hey, it's in my nature) or if it's my gut telling me that kids just aren't for me.
Hi Wordsmith...as you well know, I'm not a parent, but I am an introvert so I can relate. What I would recommend is maybe doing some volunteer work around children. Then, maybe you can get a better sense of them.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,514 posts, read 3,778,315 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post

So that's my biggest concern: That parenthood will suck me into a life of drudgery and will no longer allow me to indulge my bookish side and enjoy the peace and tranquility I enjoy so dearly.

It's not as if I'll be holding a baby in one arm and a book in the other. Lol.

For one thing, you aren't that highly self aware. Self-absorbed, maybe, but self-aware? You don't think every couple who considers having children doesn't go through this, wondering how their life will change, wondering how they will meet challenges that they can't even begin to fathom?

This isn't something that goes on a "Pros/Con" worksheet. It's a gut-level imperative. Either you want kids or you don't. It may be that this isn't the right time for kids. In my 20's, I wasn't ready for kids. But I think I was a pretty darn good mom when I was ready to be a mom my 30's. You may never be ready. That's ok, too. Your life, your choice.

Is having children "drudgery"? Sure. So is washing dishes and doing laundry and cleaning toilets and raking leaves -- but unlike dishes, laundry, toilets and leaves, children do grow up and out. :-) All depends on your attitude. If you love what you are doing, it's not "drudgery", it's just a less favorite aspect of a job you love.

I didn't notice that having kids particularly cramped my love of reading -- there were many times I was sitting there nursing the baby in one arm and reading a book in the other! Or putting my feet up during a nap and indulging in a good book to relax. Or rocking the cradle with one foot while finishing up a report on the computer. Not so much the first few weeks, when you are tired and cranky from the demands of a baby who hasn't settled into a sleep routine, but as I said -- they do grow up.

Children cause you to grow in ways that you've never dreamed of. So no, you can't imagine the kind of person you'll be after you have kids -- because it's a life-long process. You go from caring for every need to helping them conquer challenges (including learning to read!) and if you've done your job right, your kids are adults and your role has shifted to one of cheerleader and life coach. And along the way, you learn new things about yourself.

Here's the thing. No mom or dad is perfect. We all bring our own issues to the table, because we are human. No one has ever been the "perfect parent", because being a perfect parent is often dependent on having a perfect child -- and those just don't exist. :-) It's ok. It's the human condition. You just do the best you can, and try to be the parent your children deserve. Usually, you'll come pretty close. :-)

You can analyze this until you are blue in the face, but it comes down to a very simple question: Do you want a child? If you do, then all the analysis in the world won't talk you out of it. And it won't talk you INTO it, if you don't. Do. Or do not.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
84,992 posts, read 98,847,978 times
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OP: I'm an introvert, as is my husband. We both enjoyed raising our kids. He really related to the kids, and lost some of his introversion around them.

If you work full time, you will by necessity be giving up some of the more boring parts of parenting to someone else anyway, either your wife, or a paid care provider.

Books? You can do audio books, or if you don't like that, read when the baby sleeps. Little babies sleep a lot (sometimes anyway). You can switch your analyzing proclivities to child-related issues, child development, disciplining, early childhood education, etc. You don't need dogs.

Parents who found some of this kid stuff mind-numbingly boring before kids, get into it with their own.

Just my 2 c.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,448 posts, read 10,143,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post
...Many parents say that parenthood can be boring, especially during the kid's first years...
Yeah, right - I doubt you'll find many mothers agreeing with you on that. Hopefully, if you do choose to have a child, you'll learn not to be so self-centered.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:06 PM
 
Location: here
24,472 posts, read 28,750,429 times
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I think you don't want kids and are trying to justify it.

An aside, I've talked to several younger people lately (Millennials) who can't even fathom having kids. They just don't even understand how people do it. It is odd to me because it seems like my generation was more of the mindset that it's just what you do. It was somewhat expected that you grow up, go to college, get married, have kids. In that order. No one my age ever said to me that they just didn't see how anyone could have kids. They just did it. I'm Gen X, BTW. I don't know if they are more self-centered, as a group; or if they are just waiting longer to get married, so they are more set in their childless ways.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:40 PM
 
Location: The point of no return, er, NorCal
6,925 posts, read 4,232,501 times
Reputation: 8909
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post

I sense that the demands of parenthood can be at odds with the preferred lifestyle and temperament of an introvert like myself.
Can there be struggles or challenges as an introvert? Yes. But you learn to adapt to your unique situation and your role as a parent.

I'm INF(or T)P, as is my husband, and while we like our downtime, quiet time, it is something we've learned to incorporate into our lives, even as parents, however and whenever we can. It's definitely doable. You make it work.

Quote:
I live in my head -- a lot. I love reading, writing, and immersing myself in movies and documentaries. I have a passion for learning, particularly about the subjects that most interest me (history and psychology). I love thinking about and analyzing things, like why people act in certain ways.
Being cerebral, which both my husband and I are, can actually positively influence how you approach situations and various parenting nuances. You're not going to forgo (or you shouldn't) certain intellectual pursuits and interests because you become a parent. You simply find ways to pursue these interests. There's a balance. (Humanities is my field of study, and am a stay at home mom with four kids, three in school. I make it work. I start a graduate program this summer. You can do all of these things if you make them a priority, or important enough to continue whatever routine you have set. Now, it's also wise to realize that finding that balance may take time. You can't have major expectations within the first few years of becoming a new parent. It is such a major life event that can disrupt your "normal" for quite some time. So don't expect to find a balance or adapt to the changes and create a new normal for some time.)

Quote:
My biggest fear is that becoming a parent will strip me of my bookish/introvert tendencies, which account for a big part of who I am. I relish peace, quiet, and privacy. I use my reading and writing time as an escape from the monotony of daily life -- meetings at work, arguments with friends, and so forth.
I am a writer (fiction and academic). My husband is also a writer (and artist). We both enjoy reading, writing (binge-watching TV shows and movies on the regular) and other bookish pursuits (studying for pleasure, and I used to engage in formal/informal online debates on a daily basis for many years. This was a sure way to keep me mentally sharp and intellectually stimulated). Being a parent hasn't really affected this. We both find ways to read and write, though I don't write as much fiction because I write mostly academic right now.) My husband works freelance and has part time hours, so his schedule is very open and flexible and allows us to pursue the things we like. We have developed somewhat of a routine. We typically enjoy some of our interests when the older kids are in school and when our youngest (14 months) is down for naps or when they're all in bed. Usually twice a day my husband takes walks with our daughter, which gives them their bonding time and me my recharge/quiet time. This is also when he listens to audiobooks or podcasts. It's when I can get other things done.

Also, when our older kids are home, when they're doing their own thing it allows us to catch up on the things we do/like. These sort of dynamics develop overtime, and you adapt when/as necessary. It also helps that our older two are introverts as well, and big into readying. My 11 year old currently binge-reading a book series right now. She and my 9 year old are perfectly content doing solitary, introverted things as well. (my 6 year old less so, but it's something I've had to adapt to because he is more extroverted, which is different for me. It's an ongoing exercise of mindfulness and adapting to not only your unique situation, but each child and their personality and temperament.)

Quote:
In short, I fear losing my identity. I've seen moms on Facebook who engage in child worship and post nothing more than baby pictures and inspirational quotes tied to motherhood. They've lost touch with pop culture and everything else they followed before becoming moms.
I haven't lost my identity. I am a parent. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Truly. But it isn't my entire world. My kids aren't my everything. I'm also an individual with my own interests, passions, ideas, desires, goals... that are mine, that don't necessarily involve my children, that serve to enrich my mind and personal well-being. A lot of the things I do, the interests I have, are for me, and I do share some of them with my children, but they're my interests that I'm passionate about.

No doubt, I do share photos of my children on FB, but not disproportionately compared to non-parenting/children things. A lot of what I share on a regular basis is current events/politics and nerd/geek related (the most recent post is a Deadpool ad). Also, I've been a parent for 11 years, and have never been to or had the desire to attend a mom group or playdate. I don't do small talk, I like most people in small doses, and have NO desire to talk baby-things/children the way a lot of some newer parents do. (I am perfectly okay with my online groups and forums as my form of interaction)

Quote:
I'm not saying I wouldn't be able to adapt to the life of a parent. The bigger question is whether I really want to.
Precisely. It isn't a matter of ability. Obviously when put in the situation you make it work. You adapt to your new normal and find a way to maintain your identity. The real issue that requires further introspection (which I'm sure you're away of) is whether you want to *have* to make those changes.

Quote:
I'm also someone who tends to be very nostalgic. I often reflect on my college years and miss the freedom and intellectual stimulation that the college experience afforded me. Once I have a kid, will I spend all day reflecting on my childfree days?
I've been a parent for over a decade, and I can't say that I look back and reminisce about "better days." A lot of those doings and happenings just feel like a different, past life, and I was a completely different person back then (no joke). Sure, things were different, but not "better."

At the time I met my husband (second), marriage and children were NOT on his radar. He was undecided about having children (also introverted). It wasn't that he didn't want children, rather, he wasn't sure it was in his cards since he was 35 and no closer to finding a truly compatible partner with whom he'd want to have a child with. He was a bachelor before, having spent no more than five years in a relationship (spanning multiple) over the course of 17 years of adulthood. So you can imagine that perhaps for him there might be some nostalgia for his former life as a childless bachelor, right? I mean, I "get" it, I do. It's a completely different dynamic once marriage and children enter the picture. But the reality is, our daughter was the best thing to ever happen to him. She is the light of his world. He adores her to pieces, and it shows. He was anxious, yet beyond excited during my pregnancy, and when she arrived, he was completely smitten. He truly amazes me, and I love watching the two of them together.

He loves showing co-workers and friends her pictures, and talks about her and is just enamored with her and everything she does. This is all new to him. Seeing it from my perspective, watching him evolve into this role as a parent, is truly special. You can imagine the delight on his face when his baby girl is chasing him around with a lightsaber while making sound effects, or seeing the sheer joy on her face when he shows her is vintage C-3PO figurine and she runs toward him to take it and play with it. It's the little things, and the big things.

He may have had a quieter, low key life, sans kids, before we met, but this life, he wouldn't trade it for anything. He says this often. He truly means it. I can see it in his eyes.

Quote:
I don't mean to come off as snooty, but the fact of the matter is that most people around me aren't as cerebral and introspective as I am. It's just a fact. I often tell my wife that I'd be happy leaving the TV off when we get home and just enjoying reading in silence. She says she can't stand it when it's that quiet.

Most people might find a noisy, chaotic home with three kids and two dogs to be the ideal lifestyle for them. My idea of the perfect home: My wife and I in a cozy 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with a cat. My idea of the perfect life is a simple one.
I am also passionate about animal welfare and giving to the needy.

However, as I noted in my earlier posts, I sometimes get the itch to have a child of my own (preferably a daughter). My wife likes kids more than I do, and her stance is as follows: She would rather have a kid, but if we don't have one, then so be it. Given some of her health issues (thyroid, PCOS, etc.), she doesn't even know if she'll be able to conceive. Still, I don't want to deprive of her of motherhood.
And there's nothing wrong with that. You do you. If you think you are happier child-free, that's fine, and if you think you may eventually want a child, that's fine, too. Just make sure it's something you truly want, which I know you know.

Quote:
Many parents say that parenthood can be boring, especially during the kid's first years. Even now, I have a hard time staying awake at kids' birthday parties.
We don't do parties. Between four kids, I've done two parties. We do birthday outings, which typically includes lunch/dinner (or pizza), seeing a movie, shopping for a couple gifts, mani/pedi, and cake/cupcakes and ice cream at home. Simple. I love simple.
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:29 PM
 
Location: USA
858 posts, read 924,975 times
Reputation: 967
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post

An aside, I've talked to several younger people lately (Millennials) who can't even fathom having kids. They just don't even understand how people do it. It is odd to me because it seems like my generation was more of the mindset that it's just what you do. It was somewhat expected that you grow up, go to college, get married, have kids. In that order. No one my age ever said to me that they just didn't see how anyone could have kids. They just did it. I'm Gen X, BTW. I don't know if they are more self-centered, as a group; or if they are just waiting longer to get married, so they are more set in their childless ways.
I am indeed a Millennial/Gen Y (30 years old) and have noticed people in my age group are waiting longer to have kids. Perhaps the recession has had something to do with that.

I think having kids because it's what "you're supposed to do" is completely wrong-headed. Just because most people go down that path doesn't mean I have to.

For example, most adults I know have a college degree, but there are a couple who don't. Some people I know have kids, but haven't gotten married to their partner.

Getting a degree and marrying before having kids are more conventional approaches, but I would never chide these individuals for taking a different route than most people. I think the same should apply when it comes to having kids.

Last edited by Wordsmith12; 02-02-2016 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
1,539 posts, read 1,596,309 times
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The way I see this is different. I too am an introvert and yet raising my children has been the greatest calling and joy of my life. I think what you are struggling with is selfishness, honestly. I hear a lot of "I like, I want" and honestly to me the issue is not with your introversion but rather your rigidity and inflexible nature to have things your way. I could be totally off base and I apologize if I come off as harsh. Having kids is huge and I commend you for thinking hard about it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:21 PM
 
Location: here
24,472 posts, read 28,750,429 times
Reputation: 31051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post
I am indeed a Millennial/Gen Y (30 years old) and have noticed people in my age group are waiting longer to have kids. Perhaps the recession has had something to do with that.

I think having kids because it's what "you're supposed to do" is completely wrong-headed. Just because most people go down that path doesn't mean I have to.

For example, most adults I know have a college degree, but there are a couple who don't. Some people I know have kids, but haven't gotten married to their partner.

Getting a degree and marrying before having kids are more conventional approaches, but I would never chide these people for taking a different route than most people. I think the same should apply when it comes to having kids.
I'm not saying either is right or wrong, just making an observation about the different generations, and the extreme views of the Gen Yers that I know. Not just that they don't want to, but that they just.can't.even.consider.it. You are smart to think about it before doing it. There is such a thing as overthinking, though. I mean, to not have kids because you might not get to read as much as you'd like? really? If you don't want them, that's fine. Just don't have them. You don't need to look for reasons. When they're very young, you read when they're in bed. When they get older, you read while they play video games. When they're teens, you read while they're out. You adjust. But if you don't want to, you don't have to.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:42 PM
 
Location: USA
858 posts, read 924,975 times
Reputation: 967
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmeck View Post
The way I see this is different. I too am an introvert and yet raising my children has been the greatest calling and joy of my life. I think what you are struggling with is selfishness, honestly. I hear a lot of "I like, I want" and honestly to me the issue is not with your introversion but rather your rigidity and inflexible nature to have things your way. I could be totally off base and I apologize if I come off as harsh. Having kids is huge and I commend you for thinking hard about it.
You're not off base. I am selfish with my time -- and I make no bones about it. That's not to say I won't change should my wife and I elect to have kids.

I knew I was going to get some heat on this board, which (correct me if I am wrong) leans pro-parenting. But that's precisely what I want. Childfree boards will simply goad me to use my reservations about having kids to inform my final decision. I want to get the other side's take, too.
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