The Complete Extrovert’s Guide To Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

As soon as I found out I was expecting my first child four years ago, my husband and I sat down and discussed what we would do about childcare. We live several states away from our parents, so family helping out was not an option. We lived in a rural area, so there were not a ton of childcare options to pick from and I wasn’t at my dream career job. Also, I was already feeling jealous of whoever would be taking care of my child while I was at work, so we agreed that I would be a stay-at-home mom.

I envisioned my days filled with baby snuggles, home-cooked meals, and a tidy house.

My mom was around a lot when I was little and I was eager to offer the same situation to my kids. I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and thought that I would feel completely fulfilled doing it. As my due date approached, I quietly thought, “This is what I was born to do.” I had never been more sure of anything. 

However, just like everything in motherhood, my preconceived notions were shattered soon after my daughter’s arrived. I loved her more than anything in the world… but I started floundering. 

Instead of endless hours of baby snuggles, I felt bored and starved.

Infants don’t do much, even though they are insanely needy. I spent my days feeling busy 24/7, doing everything and having nothing to show for it. I counted down the hours every day until my husband came home and there would be another adult to talk to. On the rare occasions I saw friends, I would talk incessantly, likely to their annoyance because I felt so desperate for non-baby interaction with people. 

thumbs down mom

A picture of how I felt when my daughter was about 7-months-old and I had yet to sleep more than four hours at a time.

A few months in, I wondered if I could keep living like this.

I was at the beck and call of a sleepless, uncommunicative baby, isolated in my house. I felt like I needed something else; I needed more, somehow. Should I get a job outside of taking care of my daughter? Some days I wanted to, but it was still important to me that I stay home and be the primary caregiver for my children. Something had to give. 

My big breakthrough was reconnecting with my own personality traits.

Extroversion vs. Introversion. Most of the time, when you think of an extrovert you think of someone who is the life of the party {loud and outgoing} and an introvert is assumed to be someone who is quiet or shy {someone who would rather stay home}. Those are sweeping stereotypes. In reality, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert depends on where you get your energy from.

Introverts recharge best by spending time alone in the inner world of their thoughts and feelings.

Extroverts recharge best by spending time with people, feeding off other people’s ideas and energy.

extrovert moms

I have always been an extrovert. Like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, “I want to be where the people are.” {She’s an extrovert, too!} During my first year of motherhood I was so exhausted that I usually wanted to spend my free time reading a book or napping. As a result, I thought that this transition in life had somehow changed me from a strong extrovert to an introvert. Turns out, I was just an extrovert who was just really, really tired. I recharge best around other people and the isolation that often accompanies being a stay-at-home mom was draining me, day after day.

With that in mind, these are the things I do to make being a stay-at-home mom more amendable to my personality type:

  1. Get out of the house every day. This one is non-negotiable. Every day, I must leave the house, even if it’s just to go to the store to pick up one thing. If I stay inside the walls of my house all day long, I get exponentially grouchy and life is fun for no one. Playing at the park, going on walks, running errands, storytime at the library, catching up with friends, and getting involved at church have all really helped fulfill this need for me. Sometimes nap schedules make things tricky, but you have to persist. Usually by doing our daily outing during the morning “shift” before lunch and naps give the day a nice, predictable rhythm and cuts down on isolation.
    mom outside, kid carrying

    One of my first walks after committing to getting out of the house more. It was March and I literally felt squinty; like I had been inside too long and the sun was too bright!

  2. Be intentional about your social calendar. One of my least favorite things is looking at the calendar and seeing that we have nothing to do or nowhere to be. I used to wait until people asked me to do things with them, but no more! These days, I initiate playdates and purposefully fill up blank spaces if my extrovert self needs it. I started a baby and toddler playgroup called Mornings with Mommy – Chesaning a couple of years ago to connect moms with each other, and I get a lot of fulfillment and energy from that. Take the initiative to seek out others who will build you up.
  3. Keep your cup full. Sometimes, there are just times when being a stay-at-home mom is hard, like when kids are sick and we can’t get out of the house. Whenever you find yourself getting drained, drag your extroverted self to the phone and call someone. Ask for someone to come visit you. Even listening to podcasts helps me sometimes {it’s kind of like talking to another person, right?!}. Whatever you need to do, fill your cup so you aren’t running on empty, because they say you can’t pour from an empty cup and they’re right. 

Extroverted mamas might have to try a little harder, but you can make being a stay-at-home mom work for you. 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect your experience of motherhood?

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