I read something this week that said something along the lines of ‘if socialising energises you then you’re an extrovert, if it drains you you’re an introvert’. This was like a bloomin’ revelation to me, I’d been trying to put into words for some time how I feel when I’m out the house, interacting with people or socialising. Just to be clear, it’s not that I don’t like seeing people, I do like to talk to people and I love my friends fiercely, it’s just that when I do spend time interacting, engaging, creating conversation etc, I’m always a little bit worn out after. I realise how bad this sounds and if you’re one of my friends reading this, please still come visit me(!!)- it’s a good sort of worn out. I think this comes from a place of shyness and from past anxieties about what people thought of me. I do genuinely love to be around people for example, if the boys and their dad are out I feel a bit lonely but when they are back I’m more than happy to have a bit of quiet time reading a book (which coincidentally is about as likely as pigs flying with my two!) knowing that the hustle and bustle is going on around me. I think my natural state is a quiet one. I got told time and time again when I was employed that I was too quiet or that I didn’t appear confident and that was always used as a criticism, as something that I should be working on. It took me a long time to realise that being a quieter person isn’t a negative, you can have a quiet confidence and an inner strength without being the loudest person in the room and this is always in the back of my mind now that I’m self-employed. One of the reasons I started the business was to get away from this kind of negativity, it was just so draining and those past criticisms are the fuel that drives me to keep going, to try and make it a success and if it is, it’ll be two fingers up to those very people that dragged me down.
As a parent, I’ll be honest, some days I can feel completely and utterly drained at being climbed on, or pulled about, or just having the constant chatter around me whereas conversely, there’s really nowhere I’d rather be. I can sometimes feel like I’m all touched out. How I’ve managed this over the last four years is to allow myself time in the day where I do get a bit of space. So for example, I’ll encourage them to play by themselves for a little while, I might pop Cbeebies on, or I’ll nip them in the car and just let them enjoy the ride, leaving me to my own thoughts. Most of the time, once I’ve had a cup of tea and a chance to breathe I’m energised and ready for round two. The point of this is to encourage you to be true to yourselves. If parenting and socialising energises you then that’s fab and if it doesn’t then that’s ok too, you don’t need to change, you just need to allow yourself to do whatever you need to do in order to keep going. I spent years trying to change, to adapt to an environment that made no allowances for me – for my inner quietness, but I’m at an age now where I’m not going to change without a fight and I think I owe it to myself to stay true to myself.