How to Love An Introvert

About weekly, I end up wishing for something I would call National Cave Day, occurring preferably more often that just once a year.

I just get overwhelmed. It feels like a people hangover. I suddenly lose all social skills and get this desperate urge to hibernate. 

I'm not the only one in the world. Actually, as my husband will tell you, everyone needs to retreat after socialization. It's just that introverts need to retreat sooner. They need to really care for their energy.

In my situation, adding many extras to my already-very-stimulating-home-life can tip the scale and make it hard for me to scramble up to a more balanced place. When I've "crashed" {lost all social skills and must find shelter}, I'm impatient, irrational, moody, irritable and generally not a very fun mom.

I've had to learn over the past few years, as naps have been dropped and bedtime extended, that it's my responsibility to care for myself, to guard against over-stimulation and exhaustion. Mothers especially have to be vigilant and intentional about creating quiet spaces and being aware of the things that refresh us and the things that drain us.

At the risk of seeming odd or hurting other's feelings, I have to put myself in the zone of stimulation that works best for me.

And so...some things I've learned along the way. Some Ways to Love Your Introvert:
1] don't feel rejected when she wants to spend some time alone
2] realize that he will be at his best when his needs are met
3] when you ask her to participate in a conversation, be patient as it may take some time to verbalize her thoughts
4] affirm his need for solitude, even if different from your own needs; no need to add guilt to an already conscientious person
5] be okay with silence  -- it isn't something to be afraid of
6] recognize her unique strengths

Susan Cain gives a great talk on the power of introverts. I love her image of camp -- everyone reading together in their matching pajamas.

Here's another interview with Susan Cain, her observations on how introverts fake it to succeed {so it can be really hard to pinpoint who they are}, and the idea of "group think" and her concern that introverts aren't being given time to get inside their own brain in order to be authentically creative.

And for more talk about personalities in motherhood and the introversion/extraversion spectrum, read Motherstyles by Janet Penley.
She says in her book, "If I spend too much time interacting with others, I feel my energy dwindling, my brain shriveling, and my judgment becoming shaky and ungrounded. To revive myself, I need to slip back into the cool waters of solitude." 

Do you find yourself losing social skills and becoming frazzled with too much social stimulation in your life? 
Have you found really great ways to cope as a busy mom?

**thanks to pinterest for the images -- source info here and here and here.