I have been thinking about how to balance time alone for myself with the need to stay connected with my family and meet the demands of a toddler, at the same time of never truly being alone with a growing babe in the womb. In researching ways that other people handle the demands of family life while finding moments of peace for themselves, I found this description of an introvert fascinating on Sister Wisdom’s post on finding solitude.
I am an introvert. By that, I don’t mean that I find conversations painful, I hate parties, or I dislike people – all common myths about introverts. For the most part I like conversations, I adore parties, and I find people, if not always likeable, at least amusing. So there. However, people drain the energy right out o’ me. I don’t get an energy boost from parties; I get drained. Same thing with lots of conversation, interaction, and other people-oriented stuff.
I found myself laughing as I read this, since it describes my feelings pretty well. I tend to like to hole up in my room (or cave, as my husband once dubbed the room I spent most of my teens in), I like to get away from people, long periods of time where I don’t interact with others, no one even sharing a room in quiet pursuits. I even feel a difference in my mental state when there is no one in the house but me, versus my husband just being downstairs where I can’t here him (I still know he’s there).
After reading the rest of this post plus a few others, I find myself using some of the advice given to help have time where I can be alone around my child (because as mentioned in the link above, children never go away!) For example, I tend to like driving without the radio on. I like the quiet of my thoughts. On the other hand, hearing, “Where are we going?” for the fifteenth time has quite the opposite effect on my mood as the quite does. I’m sure other mom’s can commiserate. So the other day, when she asked for music, my initial response was to keep it off, since I really didn’t want to listen to music. Then I remembered that there is a ‘fade’ feature on car stereos that allows you to play the music in only the back of the car! Great! I can turn it on so I can barely hear it, and she loves music so much she’s usually quiet for a good portion of time.
So I’m making slow progress, still trying to balance my need for solitude and my family's needs. Today I got to go sit in a massage chair and get a manicure and pedicure, for over an hour of not being needed! It felt good, and I need to remember it is ok to have me time without feeling guilty. I’m also working on my lair, making a more comfortable and
decluttered welcoming space where I can escape and recharge. It always seems to be the last room that I get around to taking care of, and tends to be a dumping ground for all of my stuff, which I’ve decided needs a change of priorities. If this is my space to get away, I need to make it one.
(I also picked a color that is unusual for me – black with red sparkles! Maybe a sign of how far off center I’ve become, but I like it!)
What do you do that helps you find solitude in your day?