I’ve always been a classic extrovert. I thrive on being around others and staying busy. As a kid, young adult, and through my early adult-life (basically, the time before kids came into the picture) it was basically my life’s mission to fill every spare moment of my time – and not only that, but to fill it with activities involving other people. Never did I think I’d become an introvert (sort of, anyway).
In high school, my spare time was spent doing the typical teen stuff, like going to the mall or the movies with friends, practicing with the golf team, or spending time with the boyfriend that I inevitably felt like I had to have to fulfill my social life dreams. (Sorry, Mom and Dad – you were right).
In college, I joined a sorority at Indiana University, where roughly 80 girls lived under one roof, ensuring that I had company at any moment that my naive college-student heart desired. And in law school, I surrounded myself with some awesome friends, started volunteering with the youth group at church, and spent every spare minute with my law school boyfriend. (He’s now my husband – no regrets, there!)
Admittedly, there was a learning curve when I moved back to Dayton for law school. I left the comfort of college, where I had learned to have built-in company at a moment’s notice and instead was living alone for the first time in my life. I spent a lot of spare time studying at Starbucks, just to be surrounded by other people, rather than sitting alone in my apartment.
I say all of this to explain that truly, I mean it when I say that I’ve always been an extrovert.
Then, I had children. And you know what? Suddenly, I don’t feel the need to be around people every moment of every day. Now, I’m an introvert (sort of, anyway). I still love my social life, and I fill plenty of my free time with activities with friends. I love my boot camp community, my running group, and my book club, just to name a few of my social outlets. But you know what? Sometimes, all that I want in the world is the opportunity to be 100% completely alone.
Recently when my husband has been out of town for a few nights, I couldn’t believe how excited I was for the evenings alone after the kids went to bed, to do whatever I darn well-pleased. Bubble bath, trashy TV, reading a good book – anything I wanted, on my terms, with no conversation necessary. Seven years ago though, as a newlywed? If my husband had gone out of town, I would have spent his entire trip sulking and counting the minutes until he returned. My, how the times have changed.
More often than not, I still love to be around other people. But the realization that I now crave alone time, too, was a fascinating new phenomenon for me. We all know that motherhood changes us in more ways than we can count, but this change was one I never expected.
Has motherhood changed your outlook on having time to yourself? Do you have classic introvert moments now, too? I would love to hear your thoughts.