7 Ways To Carve Out Alone Time As An Introvert Parent
Have you seen the TV show Humans? It’s one of my favorites and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already. It’s set in the future with technology advanced to the point where lifelike human robots called Synths are commonplace.
The Synths are just like any other electronic device. They have to take regular breaks to plug into an outlet and recharge their batteries. Every time I see this happening in the show, I feel a certain kinship with these humanoids. They sit down, close their eyes, and calmly wait to be filled with energy. Afterwards they can go about their business again as normal.
That’s exactly what I need to do as an introvert! I need to recharge my batteries!
Of course, real people don’t have recharging stations set up at the mall and many of our fellow humans don’t understand we have this need. Our society is not really set up with introverts in mind, so finding time and finding ways to recharge our batteries can be hard. And when you become a parent, it’s pretty near impossible.
Or is it?
In this article, I’ll list seven potential ways to help you make sure you get the time you need.
1. Explain your need to the people around you
You can’t expect your family to accommodate you if they don’t know what’s going on with you. Many people still don’t fully understand what introversion means. Explain it to them. Let them know it’s not personal. It seems like you are trying to get away from them, but it’s not because they have done anything wrong. It’s because of something you need to do for yourself. Your brain just needs more time by itself – that’s all.
2. Use headphones
I think headphones should win the #1 Top Most Amazing Most Helpful Invention For Introverts Award. I hope whoever invented them is very rich. Try noise-canceling ones or try listening to music that is relaxing to you. Be alone in a crowd. Be alone wherever you are.
3. Volunteer for routine household tasks in exchange for your spouse taking the kids
The difficulty of finding alone time reaches a whole new mountain top when you become a parent. And let’s be real here. Your love for your kids may be deep and unfailing, but that doesn’t mean their company is always pleasant. As a matter of fact, it can be insanely stressful, especially if you are dealing with multiple little ones. (I’m speaking from the trenches here with a wild child 6-year-old and 4-year-old twins who are discovering they have a will. 🙂 )
Often you getting alone time means that your spouse is then left to care for the kids, which we just established can be insanely stressful. 😉 This may be ok if you are a stay-at-home parent and your spouse is working and could use a little extra quality time with the kids on weekends.
But my husband and I both work and both have equal responsibility for child care, so it would be unfair to constantly leave him with the kids, while I lounge around getting quiet time. He is much more extraverted than I am though and likes being out and about. So he will often take the kids along to run errands, while I stay home by myself cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and performing other routine household tasks.
In other words, I’m getting alone time, while still contributing. And his reward is not having to scrub the toilets that day. 🙂
4. Have your kids watch some TV or play computer games
I don’t love letting my kids watch TV. In an ideal world, they would watch very little or no TV at all. But we don’t live in an ideal world. In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better for my kids to get an hour of screen time, while I recharge, and then get the best version of me for another hour, than it would be for them to get two hours of the drained me.
5. Work out on your own rather than with others
Instead of joining an exercise class or going to a crowded gym, choose a solitary sport like running or swimming.
6. Learn to say no to unessential social invites
With kids and work and running a household, any leftover “you” time can be extremely limited. If you enjoy seeing friends and going to parties and it adds something to your life, then do it. But if you say yes to some social invitations just because it’s “what you are supposed to do” and you don’t really want to go, learn to say no. Socializing is meant to be fun. If you have a better time reading a book at home, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The more you practice saying no, the easier it gets. This is your life and your time. Spend it in ways that are meaningful to you.
7. Reconsider your career
I’m not saying you should go and quit your job today. But your introversion is something to take into account when you consider your long-term career path. For example, sometimes the job we had energy for in our twenties may be too draining when we get to our thirties and add a family to the mix.
Are you an introvert? Do you find it hard to carve out enough alone time? If you have any tips to add to my list, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂