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Old 02-02-2016, 10:27 AM
 
Location: USA
856 posts, read 922,919 times
Reputation: 962

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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.

I sense that the demands of parenthood can be at odds with the preferred lifestyle and temperament of an introvert like myself.

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.

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.

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'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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Denver area
21,134 posts, read 22,102,729 times
Reputation: 35503
Oh for goodness sakes. As far as I can tell your biggest issue is not being an introvert, it's your expectation that you can analyze the situation enough to make a decision with absolutely no risk or regret. Life doesn't work that way. Especially with kids. If you can't deal with that, then don't have them.

Signed,

An introvert
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:56 AM
 
76 posts, read 55,697 times
Reputation: 181
As an introvert with 2 children under 6 years old, being a parent has forced me to get out of my head / dreamworld and live in the moment. Kids live in the moment, not the past and the future as we tend to do. Personally, I think living in the moment is a healthier choice. I love to read also. The early years are harder, but so rewarding reading to my kids. Personally, I find it to be relaxing and therapeutic to sit on the couch with a stack of books from the library reading to them and getting into the characters while I read. And they learn to LOVE reading themselves. My older one has just started reading on his own and he was so proud to show me how he could read through a book he has owned for quite some time. My kids are close in age, and are often spending hours at a time making up games, creating with Legos, drawing etc, without me right there with them. They are like best friends, and love spending time together, and are both very creative entertaining themselves. I still get my "me" time and they get to independently entertain themselves. It can open a whole new world of creativity and learning to be less selfish and more in the moment (for me it has). It depends on your perspective and how you want life to look. With kids it could be wonderful, without kids your life could be wonderful too. Either choice, with the full realization you are choosing your life path and mindset, could work out to be very good.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:56 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,860 posts, read 18,875,631 times
Reputation: 25110
I think it's more difficult for a mom to stay an introvert than a dad. I know plenty of young dads who are totally obsessed with their own interests or hobbies, whether that's comic books, video games, social media, imaginary sports (like light saber practice), or whatever. They don't mind taking a picture of the baby or sharing a picture that the wife took, so they can get lots of likes on it, but when it's time to hold the baby or change a diaper or pay some sort of attention to the child, they're too busy. When the kid is a little older, Daddy's still too busy...too busy for the park, too busy for a conversation, spends the kid's entire birthday party messing with his phone, disappears during family gatherings to game online, etc.

You can't get away with that sort of thing when you're a mom, because your infant would die of neglect, or your toddler wouldn't learn to speak or get toilet trained.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,080 posts, read 3,060,892 times
Reputation: 8593
You're putting too much thought into it. Life changes whether you have children or not. And yes, you can absolutely hold a baby in one hand and a book in the other! I did it all the time. Now, once they're toddlers and running around, all bets are off, but don't worry. You'll have time to read. And I agree that moms are under more pressure with the kids, assuming you'll be returning to work soon after the baby is born. I'm an introvert, too, by the way.

But yes, little kids are boring. IMO, they get more fun they older they get. I'm in the teen years with mine now and that's a whole new ballgame. Not boring at all... but it will go back to being boring soon, because they'll move out in a handful of years. It's just a cycle.

There's no shame in not having kids... be a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters, or sign up to be foster parents for a while. Or just spend some time with nieces/nephews or your friends' kids. I don't know how old you are; this is a decision to be made now if you're in your mid-30s, but if you're in your 20s, there's no real rush. Just see what happens!
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:06 AM
 
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,730,432 times
Reputation: 31039
I think there is some truth to what you are saying, however I think you're over thinking it.

I am an introvert with kids. not everything about parenting is for extroverts, and there is no one right way to parent. Some situations will force you out of your comfort zone, and that's ok.

To me, it sounds like you are too worried about losing your free time. Yes, it happens, but if you want kids, it's worth it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:13 AM
 
1,931 posts, read 1,158,804 times
Reputation: 9146
I'm a serious introvert and I have two kids who are now nearing adulthood.

In the beginning, they will interrupt you and you have to be okay with that. Not being interrupted ever has little to do with introversion though. If you can't handle one other person in your personal space and taking up your personal time, you (general you) probably shouldn't get married or leave the house ever.

There is no rule in the parent handbook that you suddenly have to host parties or huge play dates or go to them and be the life of the party just because you have kids.

Of course you can't eschew social opportunities for your kids, but it really doesn't have to be something every day. Introduce your kids to wonderful things like reading and art and whatever other solitary or quiet, low-stress activities you like. Nothing wrong with your kids being introverts too.

However, they may turn out to be extroverts, and if they do you have to be prepared to support that.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,026 posts, read 37,656,456 times
Reputation: 73631
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciesmom View Post
Oh for goodness sakes. As far as I can tell your biggest issue is not being an introvert, it's your expectation that you can analyze the situation enough to make a decision with absolutely no risk or regret. Life doesn't work that way. Especially with kids. If you can't deal with that, then don't have them.

Signed,

An introvert
Yep.

I'm also an introvert, but I didn't figure that our until AFTER I had kids. Guess I was not as "self-aware" as you, OP. Maybe I should have returned the children??

The thing that non-parents don't know about having kids (I had to learn this also) is that YOU grow up just as much as they do during the process of raising children.

At least the best parents do. They adapt to the situation, keeping the child's needs at the forefront. The worst cling to their own self-interests.

The fact is that no, you will not be able to sit and read a book in peace whenever you want, or for a few years, if you have a baby. You will get short bits of time to yourself, but as a parent, you are "on demand" much of the day and night.

Your identity will not be lost. It will change, if you let it. You COULD insist on rigidly keeping your habits, to the detriment of the dependents who long for your attention and care, but I wouldn't advise it.

You can't really expect to make a rational decision about it because, as a non-parent, you have nothing to compare it to. You are comparing the proven HEAVEN of alone time to the perceived HELL of having a child, which is not fair. There are benefits of being a parent that you haven't experienced. You will just have to decide if you can make the sacrifice or not. Your wife's health issues are another concern entirely, and VERY valid.

Do it or don't, knowing that millions of imperfect people before you have done it with mixed results.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Over yonder a piece
3,758 posts, read 4,293,189 times
Reputation: 5977
Sounds to me like you are not willing to give up your "me time" for anyone (and pity your child if you were to end up with a son since you say you would prefer a daughter).

Stick to your guns - don't have kids. Any selfishness you are exhibiting today (see: your post) will only be exacerbated by a child who wants the love and affection you can apparently only give yourself at the moment.

For the record, my sister is an introvert, and has a spouse who understand that occasionally she needs to be left alone to decompress from the chaos of having two extroverted kids. But she also knows that her kids NEED her and that the time for selfishness ended the moment she gave birth. And so she figures out ways to get a few hours a week of pure quiet. It might be when her husband takes the kids to the park for a playdate, or going to get a facial and massage, or taking a long bath with a good book after the kids go to bed, or simply getting up an hour earlier than the rest of her family when the house is completely still.

But from your post, I suggest you not have kids any time soon.

And parenthood? It's never boring.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:47 AM
 
721 posts, read 1,252,798 times
Reputation: 483
I'm an introvert with two kids, 6 and 8. I still read-- although of course not as much as I did in college. I hate kiddie birthday parties but luckily I don't have to suffer through too many of those anymore.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like you think you have it all figured out and everyone who posts a picture of their child is a certain way and they lead this particular kind of life. But really, you don't know because there are a million ways to parent. I don't go crazy over any child I see like some people, but my own kids are pretty amazing. We are the same in ways and different in ways. You may not really understand this right now but the kids are just my favorite people so I don't tire of being with them as easily as I might tire of others. There were years when I was never alone and now I am alone more but then I will miss them.

So no, I don't read as much. I still get to watch old movies from the 1930s-50s but now sometimes they watch them with me. Or we read books together or walk the dog or whatever. But it's not all about me all the time and it won't be all about you. To be a parent you can't be selfish and I definitely hear that in your post. I honestly don't mind giving up certain things for them because what I get in return is just so much better.

Also over the years my hobbies and tastes have changed so I don't like all the exact things I liked ten years ago. I didn't suddenly turn into a soccer mom and give up my interests. There were definitely years when I didn't watch a whole baseball game or read a book in any reasonable amount of time. I have PCOS and it took a while to get pregnant with my daughter and then my son was a quick surprise. So when I had 2 kids under 2 things were different but I ran 7 miles this morning. I still cook and bake and read and snowboard and even better-- I can share these things with my kids.

One thing I will say with kids is you have to love them for who they are, not who you expect them to be. My daughter is an extrovert and it can sometimes be a challenge to manage her desire for activity with my need for downtime. But she is also my best helper and so confident and smart. So I try my best to channel her energy so the rest of us are not exhausted.
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