I was pondering the discussion about extroverted kids with introverted parents, which started in this thread. I am apparently an ambivert. (A little of both. My E/I test results are always just about 50/50.) My husband is likely the same. And it seems like The Rhymer (who might also be an ambivert) tends to use up all of our extrovertedness. The older he gets the less social we feel the need to be. It feels almost backwards. We're lucky to have a good set of IRL friends, but now even though we have sitters we like and the kid can stay awake until a reasonable hour, we seem to want to go out less than we did when he was a baby. And this could be money, or age (We're Not Young [warning: youtube link]). But, that discussion made me think "I think the emotional energy being expended on interacting with The Rhymer is all I have room for now." And, I think that made me feel a little better.
Anyway, anyone else have this experience? Or want to comment on how you deal with your kids extro/introvertedness?
PF and I are both pretty introverted - neither of us is shy but we (especially me) definitely need a fair amount of recovery time. #1 son is a lot like us and gets cranky when he doesn't have his downtime. #2 son, on the other hand, is the poster child for extroverts. He loves team sports, will play anything if someone else will play with him! It has been a hard road to hoe for him to live with a bunch of folks who can go all day without bothering with pesky "words". Luckily I was able to pawn off a lot of #2's social needs on his older brother, but it was definitely really helpful to get and keep him in daycare/preschool where he was able to socialize his little tush off.
I'm largely introverted with a heavy need for conversational stimulation... just not in groups. Oddly enough, with three kids, it always feels like a group and it's really really hard, to the point where I've almost cried in public because I can't tell who's talking to me and I can't answer anyone and I feel like all I can hear is bickering and whining.
My kids have always been in daycare and my oldest in particular has a huge need for social interaction (she's 9 going on 15). I get to the weekend and I'm so fried from work and trying to keep things together that I just. can't. face. having another batch of extra kids (their friends) in my space. I don't know if it gets better as time goes on but I feel awful. All she wants is her friends to come over to play. I want my house to be a place where kids are comfortable hanging out. But I can't face more entities in my space because I'm too tapped out from the week.
Anyone else this badly off? I'm not sure how to manage this one.
We're lucky that with only one, when he has a friend over that means they play together and we don't need to entertain him. It's a break. Spouse and I are both introverted, but only in the sense that after hanging out with people we need some quiet time in our own space. Luckily that is true for our friends as well, in varying degrees. This means that we have a good balance of time with people and time with ourselves. And at this point, I have a core small group of friends (people who moved here at the same time as us) and I find that less exhausting than social events with lots of strangers to talk to.
Small person is an extrovert. He loves to get out and be with friends. But he uses that up between school and Tae Kwan Do on the weekdays. Weekends can be harder. This is why, like I said, I appreciate when he has play dates with friends. I imagine this will continue to get easier as he gets older. What we DON'T do is what some of our friends do. Their kids are in activities. Tons of activities. They are constantly going to practices and meetings and rehearsals. It sounds dreadful. Small person gets ONE activity besides school. When he gets older maybe he can add a second. But that schlepping kids around from place to place to place? We don't have time or interest for that.
I think at certain times in life you have x amount of energy to do things. Just because that energy is being sucked up by your primary life demands isn't weird or bad. You just have tapped out your energy. It will probably come around to where you have more again for extra people. When I was teaching ENORMOUS classes my energy and patience was sucked out by those classes and my kid. And I barely had enough left for him. I just hung in there until those classes were out of my life. :) When I'm doing a show it's the same way. Hell, I bailed on dinner and seeing MY OWN SHOW with my friends one night because I was so exhausted of people I started crying and said I just needed some time alone. Luckily my friends are awesome and understood.
Huh. I learned a new word and concept today! I guess that means I'm an ambivert too... On the Meyers-Briggs, I have scored both E and I, and in either case I'm right on the border between the two.
Both of my kids are on the autism spectrum, the older with Asperger's and the younger with moderate to severe autism, so judging the whole I/E thing is difficult. But I do sympathize with the situation you're in. As a fellow ambivert, I waver a lot between needing company and needing alone time and it DEFINITELY correlates with how much forced socializing I'm required to do.
You also have a new baby, right? That contributes to fatigue and the overall "fuck everyone, I need my space" mentality. At least, it did for me.
My kids tend to use up a lot of my energy, too. I can deal with them fine, but one is a baby and the other, while very high energy at times, also needs down time.
I find myself disinterested in hanging out with people due to not having much energy left, but when I make myself go I end up having more fun than expected.
Like Wookie, I feel bad about not having children over for playdates more often, but I can't stand a group (even 3) of kids shrieking and fighting and scattering every toy all over the house for me to pick up later while holding a baby in my arms. Every time I think of a playdate I get anxious--that must be a sure sign I shouldn't be having any. I feel guilty that we get invited to other people's houses and we so rarely if ever return the invite.
I think maybe I'm more surprised that I'm ok with the status quo. I didn't want family to be my only focus and it's not. But, I'm also happy that I'm happy with my family. And that I can hang out with them on the weekend and wake up in the morning and not be exhausted, hungover and poor. And I don't have to justify my ditching other people to hang out with them. I just don't make plans or I say no.
And Wookie's comments about the conversation clarifies things, too. I like conversation. It's what I thrive on whether the group is two or eight. It's actually why I prefer groups of 4 because conversation seems most likely then. It's also why meeting up with people with kids is exhausting--because conversation is very, very difficult. And I can converse with The Rhymer now.
As for the playdate, I do ok with them without parents. I'm actually an ok "cruise director" or activity planner, so I'm comfortable setting out things for the kids to do and letting them go to it. And we are getting the age that he sometimes disappears with a friend into his room and they emerge an hour later (having destroyed the room). But, I get stressed in negotiating the kid issues with parents around. I'd rather just say "Rhymer, X is our guest, please let him take the toy", than I am in also dealing with the parent who is saying, "No, no, my kid can take turns, too." That just gets confusing to the kids and more stressful to me.
But, basically, yes it is exhausting keeping little (or big) people happy. And I'm not trying to spoil him, but just dealing with the reasonable emotional requests is exhausting. For those of you with kids who are more demanding emotionally, I'm in awe.
Great thread! Never really gave this a lot of thought, although lately on a daily basis I am strategizing who may be willing to take my cat off my hands because I know at the end of the day when the girls are in bed I don't want anyone/anything making sounds wanting my attention, or needing to be touched, or making any demands whatsoever on my time/energy. I so need to find the cat a home. We are both miserable with this arrangement: she refuses to come into the house when the girls are home (even though they've never done anything to her), and if I spend a night away she revenge pukes in strategic places/on strategic things. On another note: I don't even like cats so much.
I think I'm an ambivert with a tendency toward extroverted behaviour. I still really enjoy socializing, but it is increasingly done at my house and with just one or two people and centred around TV and movies: I have a Mad Men night, for instance, whereby we watch in silence for an hour and then talk after the show. I like the low-key aspect, and the conversational focus, and the fact that I don't have to pay a sitter or get a cab home and can walk straight upstairs to bed. I went out last night with ambitions to have a late evening out and, as usual, at midnight I started getting grumpy and tired and had to leave. I guess without a partner, I seek out more socializing because I don't have another adult in my home to talk with at the end of the day.