Introversion and stay-home parenting

ย Picked for the week of 24th March ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve always known I’m not really stay-home mom material and this vacation is just reinforcing that. Let’s pretend I put in all the standard disclaimers about loving my baby, etc, etc and get to the juicy stuff, shall we?

Staying home with a curious toddler all day is the equivalent of having a conversation that never, ever ends. Or even pauses for breath and a snack. Here’s a sample conversation when we were reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 763,897th time*:

Source: Wikipedia

Chotu: Where is the caterpillar?
Amma: The caterpillar became a butterfly
C: How?
A: It made itself a little house and turned into a butterfly
C: Why a butterfly?
A: That’s what happens when a caterpillar grows up… Babies become boys and girls then men and women. Caterpillars become butterflies.
C: Who makes caterpillars?
A: A caterpillar comes from the egg
C: (thankfully doesn’t mention where eggs come from) Who makes the butterfly?
A: God makes the butterfly**.
C: What does God make?
A: God makes everyone. People, butterflies, doggies, cats, everything
C: Who makes steam engines?
A: Erm, people make steam engines
C: Why? Why not God? What if God? (totally lacking the vocabulary to express himself but making do with emotion)

Two thoughts that keep going through my head: How amazing is it that this little person can learn so much without getting exhausted? There should be some sort of cheat sheet to answering these questions. How am I even qualified to be answering these questions?

I’m completely exhausted by the time Chotu lunches and settles for a nap. I need to watch 4 episodes of 2 Broke Girls back to back before I can even get to Seinfeld. And then I need a few episodes of Seinfeld before I can function again and get a few chores done. By the time I’m done with my chores and ready to really relax, Chotu is up and it begins all over again. Introverts are not wired for such levels of intensive conversation with anyone. Even my lunches with friends end in shopping, silence, and small talk after an hour or two of extreme conversation.

So what does this mean? Am I a bad mother because I don’t have what it takes to spend 8-10 hours alone with my son each day while his dad is in office? That’s what everyone would have you believe but let’s be honest. We all know how much real work happens in an office.

How can a parent be expected to do so much more uncomplainingly? Not only does a stay-home mom have to be present for her child(ren) the entire day, there are other things to be done. Laundry, cooking, general tidying up, other chores, you know, the entire logistics of living don’t come to a standstill just because you have kids. Anyhow, I digress. That’s a different soapbox altogether.

The point I’m trying to make is that… I don’t know what point I’m trying to make. No, wait. Here it is. There’s nothing wrong with being a mother who needs a break from her kid(s) during the day. Not being able to do it all alone is not a sign of bad parenting. It’s a sign of honest parenting. We all have very finite resources and… No, that might not be the lesson. It remember it was something catchier.

Let me try again. Parentsย need to support each other the way The Goddess and her Hero do. The Hero makes sure I get some down time when I need it and last weekend I handled everything but Chotu-care. All men should learn from The Hero… No, that’s not it either.

This is the lesson: kids need school and play-groups. Only qualified professionals and other tiny human beings can keep toddlers occupied without going insane. Now I remember, this is the lesson:

A pox on all viral infections**!

If you’d like to read another introvert-mom’s perspective read the last post by noob mommy.

* The Hero prefers to take the genes activating approach. Peh, geek!
** We’re keeping Chotu away from school as a preventive measure because a particularly nasty viral seems to be going around there

12 Replies to “Introversion and stay-home parenting”

  1. I hear you and that’s why I stepped out to work again when Chirpy was 1 year old. I always knew I’m not a mom mom, and could never be a 24*7 motherly human being! I need my space and stuff to maintain my sanity, you know what I mean?

    It is okay to complain, whine and vent out like this or otherwise. We are fist humans and then we take up roles like mother, daughter, etc.

    As fas as conversations with the toddlers is concerned, tell me about it! It is not only never ending it is also so different from the stuff that we adults talk that yes a cheat sheet would be a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ but where do we get this? Who will write it for us? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. oh and I forgot to mention, The Hungry Caterpillar is one of our fav boosk and we can’t seem to get over it, even today, after 2 years of reading it repeatedly ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Nice to hear! Somehow, knowing someone else likes the same book as you makes you feel like you know them better, right?

  2. The only time I rejoice in my life are when my hyperactive toddler and the newborn are both asleep…I thought I am the only one..

    1. Newborn? Congratulations! ๐Ÿ™‚

      And no, you’re not alone. We are not alone. Parenting is very rewarding, no doubt, but it’s also a lot of hard work like any other job. So why not admit that we enjoy our breaks?

  3. Oh yes, agree! Here’s another aspect of parenting that really irks me too: needing to socialise with other parents and their offspring. I tried to avoid it for as long as I could but it was having a negative impact on my daughter’s integration into the playground. It’s still better than reading time though. I actually feel a little fearful when I see our dogeared copy of goodnight moon.

    1. Oh yes to the loathing for forced friendships with parents. I’m dreading the time when Chotu starts school full-time. But it’s one of those things adults just suck up and do. You should write something about Goodnight Moon. I’m very curious now ๐Ÿ™‚

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