Solitude gets a lot harder to come by when you enter marriage and parenthood. As an introvert, solitude is crucial to my well-being. But it is now a luxury–something that only happens when all the stars align. It is afforded to me in small increments of nap times of my husband’s work schedule.
Lately, we have had company in and out of the house. The Mister has had several days off in a row and has been home for every one of them. The baby’s schedule is jacked up thanks to said company, so naps are hit or miss. This leaves me surrounded by people at every turn. Someone ALWAYS needs SOMETHING. The neighbors need to borrow the mower. The baby is like having the Tasmanian devil in the house 24/7. The husband is an ISTP, who has ZERO concept of personal space and I haven’t had 2 seconds alone in daaayyyys. He is like a kid with a puppy; he loves it so much he hugs it to death (I am the puppy). I am lucky to pee alone or take a shower without someone else in it. I’ve got three meals a day to cook, laundry and dishes to keep up with, floors that refuse to stay clean, a dog that wants in or out or to be fed. There’s always people coming and going, needing something, making last minute plans to do something THAT night. There’s the friend who talks my ear off, mostly about shallow things. Don’t even get me started on the noisy neighbor waking the baby from a much-needed nap. The one day I get out of the house kid-free turned into a disaster–the girl’s day out with a friend went to shit fast when she bitched out the salon receptionist and stormed out. That was awkward.
All of this has left me feeling suffocated. Like I need to get up for air and something or someone keeps pushing me right back down. I am drowning in a sea of shallow people, noise, crowds, awkwardness, demands, changes-of-plans, and inconveniences. I love my family and friends more than anything, I really do. But let’s be honest–sometimes I just want to watch some sappy lifetime movie uninterrupted, eat something I don’t have to share, and let out a fart or 2 without someone around to make a big deal about it. I’d like to shower alone and have the whole thing to myself and take as long as I damn well please. I want to pee without fighting the baby for toilet paper. I want to eat a whole row of oreos without judgement. I want to fold laundry in peace and quiet, and not have a toddler unfolding it all immediately afterwards. I do NOT want to watch Elmo, or one of my husband’s car shows.
How do you tell the people you love most in the world that you need space? How do you explain to them that it’s nothing personal, in a way they will understand? I find myself suffering through it, feeling cornered, suffocated, irritable. But I love being with them. It’s such a contradiction. I go back and forth, arguing with myself. If I had alone time, I would be a much happier person. I would be a better mother and wife. But what kind of good mother and wife WANTS to be away from her family, just to do nothing? It’s an internal struggle only an introvert would understand.
Fellow introverts: How do you recharge your batteries without hurting people’s feelings? What words do you use that help them understand without sounding selfish or weird?