Not that I thought parenting was going to be easy, but it is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.
I love my kids. I love snuggling with them, hearing about their days, and seeing them grow as people. They are amazing.
But I honestly think parenting is even harder if you are an introvert.
I’ve learned to tolerate the hour a day it takes to pick them up from school.
I still dislike sitting through dance class week after week, but I manage, mostly because I plan ahead with books and snacks for the child stuck sitting with me.
Then there is all the other things you have to remember to do, like buying new fall jackets after they lost theirs at the zoo. Or, just in general, noticing their pants are getting too short or they need new socks and underwear. There’s the yearly purchase of winter gear etc.
These are all things I can handle. I may not be good at them, but I an handle them.
Then there are other things that you feel obligated to do because kids should experience them even if you would really rather not. Really, really rather not.
Like the children’s museum.
Or a water park.
Or state fair.
I hate crowds. Hate them.
Too many people. Too much noise. Too many distractions.
I feel overloaded.
Add to that trying to keep track of two children in the middle of all of that, one who wants to go, go, go, and the other who wants to walk slowly and observe everything and you have an introvert’s nightmare.
This was brought home to me when I made the mistake of going to the state fair with my husband and kids.
Before children, we never went to the state fair. It was of no interest to us. Then some friends invited us to go with and bring the girls. My husband took them, and I stayed home. My allergies thanked me, and he and the kids had a great time, and I got some quiet alone time. Win-win.
Then this year there was a spate of shootings right before they went to the fair.
Fueled by fear, I begged my husband not to take the kids. The last place I wanted them to be was another large public venue.
He said he wouldn’t live life in fear, he’d promised the kids the fair, and they were going with our friends.
I am not entirely certain why I chose to go other than fear. Fear that I wouldn’t be there to protect my little ones if the unthinkable happened. Not that I could do much other than throw myself over top of them, but it still seemed like a smart idea in our quiet home that morning.
It wasn’t a good idea.
The fair is everything I hate.
Hot. Crowded. Overstimulated and Bored.
Is that possible to be overstimulated and bored at the same time?
I wouldn’t have thought so, but it is. I felt assaulted by smells from food vendors, noise from the crowds and bands, and the visual panoply of booths, rides, and people. Add to that the heat, the low grade fear from the evening news, and the very real need to keep a close eye on two energetic kids.
But none of this entertained me.
I couldn’t enjoy my time with our friends as I was too stressed. Sitting and waiting for my kids to get off of rides was not exactly exciting. And the heat made eating less desirable. Even when I was hungry, nothing tasted all that good because of the assault of smells from everything else.
Still, I tried my best to give my kids a great time. This was made all the more difficult by not knowing what to expect, so being unprepared for it.
My husband is great at going with the flow of things, and I figured he had everything all set for the big day.
Love him dearly, but no.
I will stick to what I am better at.
Next year, when/if he takes the kids, I will stay home. I will make sure he has enough cash, sunscreen, and water bottles packed in a backpack. I will make sure he has tickets and ride bracelets. I will make sure they have a spectacular time.
While I enjoy the quiet.
I accept I am an introvert. This means there are some thing I won;t be able to give my kids other parents can. I also think this means we are not doing Disney.