Parenting an Extroverted Child

Before I get into today’s topic, let’s start with a small aside. The other day I was riding in the car with my youngest, and the song “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith came on the radio. I was singing along and she asked about it and I started to tell her about the movie Armageddon and then I had to stop because I was very, very close to bursting into tears. Over Bruce Willis dying in a cheesy action movie recalled over an AEROSMITH SONG.

I am thinking it is possibly time to turn this blog into a Journey Through Perimenopause because of this story. I don’t really want to explore this issue any more than you do, I’m sure, but at the same time I was thinking about how many of the blogs I read when the kids were little were written by fellow young moms, and sharing our mutual horrors and joys at raising kids created amazing bonds but also helped you feel like you were not alone and that everything was going to be okay.

So from time to time, I may share stories of my progress towards becoming a Woman Of A Certain Age, which apparently, involves weeping over Aerosmith songs on your car.

I feel like these years will be just one long apology to my family. Sorry about this, guys.

Anyway!

We are into summer vacation and so far I have spent it driving. Both of my oldest are in summer school for July, in two different locations, and so every day is drop off, run home, serve lunch, drop off, run home, try to work for two hours, then pickup, pickup. It’s been bananas and next week the third one is going to a week long day camp at a THIRD location and I am going to have to clone myself to survive.

Until then, though, I have my two extroverts – the girls – home every morning, and then one extrovert – the youngest – home alone each afternoon. I am the most introverted of introverts, and I feel like that is potentially becoming a problem as I age. This summer especially, I feel like the girls are suffering, especially the youngest, by the fact that I have booked too much work for the summer, but also, prefer quiet around the house in general.

Here’s how they would prefer to spend their summer: friends over every day, or going to a friend’s house, or maybe having several friends over for a bit of a party/hang out, or else meeting a group of friends at the park, or talking on facetime with several friends at once, and then going for a pool party with friends every evening.

Here’s how I would prefer them to spend their summer: sitting quietly in a corner reading, with occasional requests to go the library for more books.

I could easily spend the summer with the Captain, who is as introverted as I am. When it’s just the two of us at home, you won’t hear a peep. We will occasionally check in with the other one to see how they are doing, and sometimes if we are keen to do something social we will watch a TV show together, before retreating to our respective corners.

But the girls are always at my elbow, asking if people can come over, or if they can go somewhere. And I know it would be SO GOOD for them, that’s what they need, that’s what will make this summer awesome. But I am busy and I am tired and the thought of negotiating playdates and arranging more pickups and drop offs, or else dealing with more noise and activity in my house, is just ugh, you know?

I feel like, when the girls grow up, this will be one of those things that they were denied as children. Like, I was never allowed to have long hair as a kid, so my daughters (and also, my son) all have long hair and can have it as long as they want. They may also have all the gum they want, something that was banned at my house.

When they grow up, they’ll probably tell their kids they were never allowed to have people over (never being a HUGE EXAGGERATION, but compared to how often they would LIKE to have people over, I’m sure it feels like never) and then let them have all the friends over they want.

Of course, they will probably birth introverts and all their kids will want to do is spend the day at Grandma’s, reading quietly in the corner, with occasional trips to the library.

Anyway, until then, I am trying to do better, to be a better Mom To Extroverts. I am trying to say Yes more often, when they want someone over or want to go out. I am trying to do all I can to make playdates happen and to support their social lives. It’s a hard thing, to say yes when you really want to say no. But I feel like that’s going to become norm as they pass into the teen years – when they were toddlers, it was all about saying no when you wanted to say yes, but now it’s about saying yes when you really want to say no, for so many things.

Parenthood – it’s weird, right?

11 thoughts on “Parenting an Extroverted Child

  1. Oh so many thoughts on this…. When I was a young teen, I definitely arranged my own social life and did weekend sleep-overs with friends and biked where I could (no small feat considering we were in the country surrounded by farmland…) As a parent, I’m more of an ambivert but the boys in my family (including my husband, the biggest boy of them all) are all introverts – happy to sit in front of computers and do not much of anything. Maybe some of that is teen stuff, but I get really antsy after a while. Having no girls in my family, I also feel the lack of female energy and doing female things – it’s a weird dynamic because I’ve never been very “girly” and now I want to reclaim pink just because. So you know, you get what you get and you learn to make it work I guess. Kids definitely “stretch” us as people and parents, don’t they?

  2. Zhu

    I wonder if the extroverted/introverted label is right, sometime. Aren’t most of us a bit of everything?

    Mark is definitely more social than us, and I’m trying to keep it this way because after all, why not?

  3. I so empathize. The only reassurance I can give is that it is much better to be the extroverted child of an introverted parent than the other way around. Sounds like the next few years of your life are going to be interesting!

  4. Marianne

    When you need a reprieve, get your youngest to call my eldest. She would be thrilled to have her over, or to meet at the park for awhile.

  5. nicoleboyhouse

    I actually really love the Journey into Perimenopause idea. For us old-school bloggers, well, we are all approaching that age.

    I think we are opposites. I love love LOVE having a houseful of kids. I much prefer when my kids invite their friends over here, than when they go over to friends’ houses. I spend much of the time feeding the kids, which is why our house is popular (waffles and cookies). But then I don’t work from home anymore so it doesn’t interfere with my job, having kids around.

  6. Smothermother

    I’m with Nicole ^^. You need to make the Journey into Perimenopause a thing. It’s a roller-coaster ride and I want to commiserate with everyone!

    At home I’ve got the same issue but the other way around. I’m an extrovert parenting an introvert. I want Max to be out and socializing and going to the pool and hanging out. But he is more than happy to stay inside, read, play video games and watch YouTube all day. He is very lucky that the parent home for the summer is also an introvert. Which drives me insane as I see it as them wasting their summer away, and they think it’s just perfect. I usually MAKE them both do stuff during the weekend though. Some time they even come willingly.

  7. Kathleen

    You are absolutely right. Parenting is weird.
    And it stretches us (good point,Lisa!), no end.

    But most importantly, you should definitely be blogging the hot flash fantastic!

    Despite my advanced years, I am still waiting for all the hormone swings of perimenopause to just pack it in, already. I would really appreciate hearing from those in the same rocky boat.
    I know lots of others who would read it, with gratitude for the support. I await your take on it!

    While you work on that, maybe we can come up with a better term for the equivalent of a Mommy blog / Mommy blogger, though. Cuz otherwise it’s going to be hard to get behind, as a movement. None of these really work that well, do they?

    GO PERIMENOPAUSE BLOGGER, Go!
    GO INCIPIENT CRONE BLOGGER, Go!
    GO WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE (or LIFE STAGE, really) Blogger, Go!

    Ladies, ideas?

  8. Pingback: Nicole’s Favourite Things: July Is The Best Edition

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