The Introverted Mother

I haven’t been alone for ten months. Ten months with no solitary coffees, no gentle lunches tucked in the corner of my favourite pub, no one woman trips to the cinema, losing myself in a lighthearted comedy whilst commandeering an army of snacks. You are more alone when you’re alone outside the house. It is a delicious feeling.

In a different life, lockdown would have been my dream. Sorry friends, I can’t make it, it’s illegal to see you right now.

Too much noise muddles my senses.

Sometimes, in the before times (pre lockdown, pre baby) in the middle of a busy day I would close my eyes and imagine I were submerged in a scalding hot bath, counting the lumps in the artex ceiling. It was my own form of meditation that would carry me through the day until I could make the fantasy a reality.

Before, there was always time for myself. It was baked right into my routine. Every Tuesday and Thursday after work, my husband would play football and I would have time. Sometimes I would go to the gym or do stretches at home. Sometimes I would read or watch some trashy tv with a mug of tea and sometimes I would just sit. Just sit and let the silence stretch into every corner of the house. It was paradise.

Now these moments of quiet are fleeting. They are also more complicated.

Having a child during a pandemic has been a strange mix of feelings. I’ve truly cherished having all this time entirely to ourselves. There have been no interruptions, no endless streams of visitors, no relatives “just dropping by” and no pressure (or possibility) for me to go anywhere. We’ve had so much time. I’ve enjoyed all the little moments, every yawn, every stretch. We’ve had slow mornings bundled in the bed, hours idled by into the afternoon, mesmerised by his little noises.

I’ve also never been apart from my child for longer than the time it takes to shower and it’s created some intense separation anxiety. He’s no longer a newborn and could conceivably be without me for a couple of hours but I don’t want to be without him. I’m desperate for some alone time but I’m also desperate for us never to be apart. These emotions are confusing and difficult to navigate. Where I was once so fiercely independent I am now dependant entirely on this tiny human.

How does it work when you are an introverted mother? How do you balance a need for solitude with the needs of the baby? I honestly don’t know. Maybe when I’m able to square out an hour for myself I can puzzle it out.


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