I'm an introvert.
I've known it since the first time I heard the word, and truly understood what it meant. Reserved, quiet in groups of strangers, worn out by large groups of people, hater of small talk, harder to get to know, thought snobby by some, and completely overstimulated by noise.
Lucky for me I have really quiet boys...
The Introverted Mom
Unfortunately, when you're a mom of "those" boys—the ones for whom wrestling is a love language, and shouting to be heard is a way of life—noise is quiet common. Admittedly, it's the hardest part of being a mom for me. But it took me a while to realize that this handicap was intimately linked to the way God made me—introverted.
For years, I felt like my inability to think coherently around noise, be spontaneous, or let down my guard to be wild and crazy, made me less of a mom.
Just the other day, I was standing in the kitchen trying to make lunch when all. the. boys. started talking to me at once (even the big one, who was getting ready to leave for work).
"Mom, I can't find the scissors, do you know where they are?" (Oh no, he wants to craft. I hate crafting).
"Mom, can we ask Josh to come over today. I'm bored." (Ah man, that means MORE boy noise).
Ding, ding...Voxer message.
"Mom, I need the scissors. Do you know where they are?" (No, no I don't. I never use them. Or the glue. Do we own glue?)
"Mom, I asked if Josh can come over..." (It's raining. I wonder if Josh's mom would mind if I make them play outside?)
"Honey, can you edit this report for me right now? I need it before I go to work in ten minutes. (Ten minutes? Really?).
"Mom, I can't do my project until I have the scissors..." (Error, does not compute).
"Mom, would you text Josh's mom now?" (Error, does not compute).
"Honey, I've got to go..." (Someone help me...)
All. At. The. Same. Time.
As each person struggled to be heard, voices escalated—one shouting to be heard over the other—and I wanted to cover my ears and curl up in the fetal position in the corner by the door (and throw my phone out the window).
Either that, or go hide in the bathroom, which I sometimes do.
It's the life of a busy mom, I think. Probably everyone reading this can relate on some level. But if you're an introvert, you know what I'm talking about. That feeling that says, "my head is going to explode. I can't hear anyone, because everyone is trying to get my attention at once. Too much information. Error, does not compute."
"I just don't have what it takes to do this mom thing. All these people depending on me is just too much. I can't be fun and spontaneous. I can't think on my feet. I need time to plan. I'm just not a good mom. My boys are missing out because of who I am. Error, God must have made a mistake with me."
But what if God made us this way on purpose?
A Different Way
In the past, when I encountered a situation like the one above, I might've yelled back, told everyone to cease and desist or die (my dad was a Srgt. Major in the Army Reserves, I get it honest), and wallowed in self-pity thinking about all the ways I'm not good enough.
But that day was different.
Different because I made a conscious choice to stop complicating my life wishing I was someone else. I'm learning to be good at who I am—who God made me to be—and trust Him to fill in the gaps.
1. Instead of trying to fight against my God-given personality, or envy those who are better able to handle the noise of boys, I'm learning to embrace it.
I'm looking to God to send people into our lives that shore up my weak spots, creating something much more beautiful than I could ever hope to be by myself.
2. I'm also learning to be more at peace with who God created my boys to be.
Loud is who they are, and aggression is their love language. And while they probably need a good lesson in learning not to interrupt, together, we're recognizing our differences as an opportunity to love each other well. My prayer is that by doing this, we'll all become proficient at humbly considering others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), while still being our truest selves.
A Prayer for Today
"Father, you don't make mistakes. Variety in personality isn't a handicap, it's evidence of your creativity. Help us to see our differences as a way to better reflect you. Teach us to love you enough to love ourselves, not because we're so good, but because you made us good. In Jesus' name, amen."
Want to learn more about how personality shapes our mothering? There's an entire chapter devoted to this issue in my newest book (co-authored with Stacey Thacker), Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess. And when you purchase it this week, you can get three exclusive free videos from me and Stacey that take the content of the book even deeper. Click here to learn how to get yours!