Being a mom is something that I believe changes you to the core. It is not just physical changes, but character and personality changes emerge as well. You are no longer the same on so many levels. These changes are both fantastic and severely challenging for me.
Some years back, I took a Myers Briggs personality test in a effort to better understand my tendencies. According to the test, I am an ENFP personality type.
“ENFPs are initiators of change, keenly perceptive of possibilities. They energize and stimulate others through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in fluid situations that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma. They tend to idealize people, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail.”
That description is SO me, but I contest the E in ENFP. It stands for “extrovert”. While I am outgoing in familiar social circles, I cringe at the thought of making new friends, or really any unfamiliar environment. Always have. Extroverts are said to get energy from others, while introverts get their energy from being alone. I feel like I get more energy from being alone.
Alone time. What is that? As a mom of two tinys, personal space and alone time is limited. Even when they are asleep or when I am physically away from them, I lack sufficient time to reboot. I am constantly in a “prepare and do” mindset. Dishes, food prep, laundry, budget, shopping, and don’t forget my actual job duties. I long to sit alone and read a book (that is not about cooking or parenting), or to get a massage, or just stare at nature. With no agenda.
One sweet bastion of sacred alone time has always been the shower. It is a place where I can literally stand under the water until it runs cold and just release thoughts. It is not uncommon for me to emerge from the shower with my back looking very much like I spent too much time in the sun. It is loud enough to drown out crying (sometimes) and time often stands still. When serving for a week in Mexico on a mission trip, my one mid-week shower honestly kept me sane. I cannot even talk about the value of my two, post c-cection showers.
Of late, my sacred space has been invaded. This invasion may happen for other parents much earlier than two and a half, but I have tightly guarded this arena, and not allowed Trevor to enter my space. Last week, in a momentary lapse of judgement, I gave in to his clambering to get “IN IN IN IN” while he tugs on his jammies to come “OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF”. In an attempt to silence the incessant requests…it began.
I can no longer turn on the shower without tiny footsteps running down the hall. What if this lasts for years?!?!?!
Is it possible that I long for alone time because it is non-existent, or is it because I have fundamentally been altered and am now truly an introvert? Did I get my energy from people in my younger years simply because I was not as comfortable in my own skin? It would be interesting for me to take the Myers Briggs test again to compare results. Would I still test the same in this phase of life? I doubt it highly.
This motherhood thing is an adjustment. A wonderful, fascinating and hard adjustment. It splinters us. The portion that is left for me is smaller, and that is OK. It is my current challenge to maximize that portion, and allow it to be used for renewal to fuel the other portions. It will level out I hope as the weeds keep getting shorter.
How do you carve out time to fuel your portion?