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I am an introverted mother who lives in one ditch or the other.
Let me explain. I have an all or nothing personality, so I either do something 100% (after analyzing it to death) or I just don’t do it at all. You can see this firsthand when examining my homemaking struggles.
To me, cleaning means I have to go through and organize all the drawers, wipe down the inside of the cabinets (after taking everything out to sort), clean out the garage, etc in addition to washing the dishes and sweeping the floors. This leads to either a spotless home (and an exhausted mama who worked all day and didn’t pay attention to her child) or a mess because I was too overwhelmed to even consider attempting all the tasks. I have to say to myself every day, “Allyson, just do something.”
This mindset plays out with my parenting as well. I’ve been researching the impact of an extremely introverted personality on parenting and how I interact with my son. As I continue reading more, I recognize the need to take intentional breaks (no, not just binging on Netflix). Living in the ditches as an introverted mother means that I believe that I MUST take the time each day for self-care. I am constantly looking forward to nap time or bedtime when I can “take care of myself.” Ultimately, this leads to a discontent mother who struggles to enjoy her child.
The other ditch means I acknowledge that I am an introverted mother, but I also want to be a Pinterest perfect mother. I begin to make motherhood an idol (a constant struggle for me), and I play a martyr, never resting and never asking for help. I have to be the perfect mom who is always doing everything. Obviously, this also leads to burnout and exhaustion.
What’s the Biblical response to living in the ditches as an introverted mother? Is there a good middle ground?
Here are three Gospel-centered tips for the introverted mother struggling to maintain her sanity.
1. Don’t Excuse Sinfulness
I never considered myself an angry person, and then I became a mother. Motherhood teaches you the depths of your selfishness. No matter how much I desire alone time or how badly I feel that I need to take time for self-care, my personality is no excuse for yelling at my son. Being an introvert is no excuse for harboring bitterness toward my son or my husband during the moments where it is not possible to take time to myself.
Greg Morse wrote an excellent article at Desiring God about this very idea. He says,
Even though every imperative in the Bible protests against it, every identification of sin condemns it outright, every discussion of holiness and God’s judgment warns against believing it, we too excuse sin tendencies as our personalities.
This unassailable sense of self is contrary to biblical thinking. Our personality must bow to God’s standards, never vice versa.
Just like I mentioned last week, let your attitude and words reflect who you are in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Remember, your identity as a new creation, a child of God, is of greater importance than your identity as an introvert or even as a mother.
2. Humble Yourself
Why do I strive to be the stereotypical, Pinterest-perfect mother? Is it because I desire to do all things for the glory of God? No. Whether I have moments of success or am wallowing in pity because I failed yet again, my martyr mother complex is rooted in pride. I am thinking of myself and how great of a mother I am or I am thinking of myself and how I can never measure up.
If you are an introverted mama, remember grace. There was nothing you could do to accomplish your salvation. You cannot be your child’s best mother outside of the Holy Spirit. Turn to Him and ask for help. In addition, see the recommended resources below for more about self-care as a mother.
3. Look to Christ in Each Moment
If you are able to take a moment of solitude, use it wisely. Fill yourself up with words of truth from the Scripture. Meditate on these words throughout your day. If you do not have a quiet moment during your day, trust that God is good. Trust that He sees you in this moment and that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work within you (Ephesians 1:19-23).
Every mother faces challenges, not just the introverted mother. Let these opportunities drive you to see who you are in Christ.
What Do You Think?
What unique challenges does being an introvert add to motherhood? How do you keep your eyes on Christ during these challenges? Please comment below!
Resources for the Introverted Mother
Think of Yourself Less – A sermon from Jason Meyer
Self-Care in the Busyness of Motherhood – A podcast and list of additional resources from Risen Motherhood
I want to thank author Crystal Brothers from Serving Joyfully for recommending the article by Greg Morse and encouraging me to seek Christ more than my needs as an introverted mother. I pray that I conveyed in this post that physical needs and the unique needs of our personalities are not inherently bad, but they are also not an excuse for sinful selfishness and pride.
As an introverted mother, it may be time to evaluate your habits if you find yourself “taking breaks” by spending all your time on your smartphone. I have frequently used my phone as an escape from reality, scrolling mindlessly instead of leaning on Christ. One way I put away this distraction was to participate in a 30-Day Digital Detox Challenge. I created a free printable with everything you need for a successful challenge. Click here to learn how to put away your phone and be intentional with your time.