I have been trying to write this post *in my head* for three days. Turns out that when you have a new baby, your brain leaks out at night and you have to start all over again every morning. Hence, this is technically the third draft of this post, although I have no recollection of the first two.
Can we discuss introverts who are partnered up with extroverts? And by discuss, I mean that I will ramble on, and then you will comment and then I will reply. If we were in real life, we could just converse like normal humans. Oh, wouldn’t that be great?
Which brings me to my first point. I like real (and virtual) people. I feel energized when I am around them. I like to talk for the most part. On the introvert/extrovert scale, I am only slightly extroverted. Which means I am not a total wilting flower when left alone, and appreciate some time by myself. However, I don’t need tons of recovery time after social activities.
I married an introvert (INTJ). (By the way I ❤ INTJ’s. Can’t think of one that I haven’t gotten along with swimmingly, but they are anything but simple.) Many of my favorite people on this earth are introverts. I’m attracted to them, and count many of them among my friends. This does not mean they are shy. Introverted is often interchanged with the word shy, and that is simply wrong. It also has a negative connotation which bugs the crap out of me. They are often just misunderstood.
I have linked to this article before, but I HIGHLY recommend that you read it if you live with someone who is introverted. Or if you yourself are introverted, link your significant other to it so they will know how to care for you properly. It’s not very scientific, and a bit satirical, but has some good points. Go now. I will wait…
You are back! Or you’re just faking like you read it. For those of you who fake-read it, just know that basically introverts lose energy from being around people, and extroverts gain energy. Introverts need a recovery period for every hour they spend with other humans.
This brings me to the meat of my story. I swear to you that Justin and I are both reasonable and intelligent people. But two weeks ago we decided to freaky Friday our lives. I, the slightly extroverted girl (ENTP) who worked at a big office with lots of people around all day, decided to stay home alone with a young baby. Justin, the introverted guy who has been a student without a full-time job for many years, decided to go work at an office with people who talk to him all day long.
SQUARE PEGS, ROUND HOLES.
So this is an interesting transition for both of us to say the least. It is the best thing for our family and we are determined to make it work.
Did I mention we have a 9 week old baby in the mix? Yes.
We are both sticking by our decision and neither of us want to complain because we both are silly in love with our new jobs. And we are both extremely lucky to have them. That being said, there are some things that we need to figure out about our new lives.
Maybe your life is set up in a similar way? Example: I have been home all day, talking to no one but myself, the baby, and the interwebs. This is all well and good, but naturally I am excited when it is time for Justin to come home. We are buddies and I miss my buddy. 5 o’clock hits and I get antsy. Often 6 o’clock comes and goes as well. Around 7, I am dying to see him. I want to talk about the day and be with him and do family time stuff.
He is happy to see me, but the difference is that he is arriving home already exhausted from being around people all day. No matter how much he loves his job, he can’t be himself unless he gets some recovery time alone. He will be a crazy person without it. This doesn’t have to happen immediately when he gets in the door, but by 9 p.m. he is basically telling me to go to bed. SAD FACE. It’s not anything against me personally, but it still stings. This is one of those things I am trying to be understanding about, but it isn’t easy when I have been alone all day and am enjoying real companionship.
Here is another example of how this introversion thing works: If we are going out to a social thing, he will be very social and have a great time while he is there, but then he needs twice that amount of time to recover from this event. This usually isn’t a big deal to me, as I have gotten used to this over the past 7 years. It is second nature, unlike the new 9-5 weekday thing we are figuring out.
My new worry surrounding this issue, beyond driving my husband crazy, has to do with family activities. Since Benton is still a wee baby at the moment, we don’t take him out a ton. But what happens when the weekends become less about lounging and more filled with outings? Will Justin be OK?
We excitedly discuss all the fun things we want to together as a family, but they are likely going to take place during the weekends. I am not suggesting that family activities will be as socially draining as the workday is; I’m pointing out that they will take time out of the recovery period that he needs as an introvert after working with people all week. Does that make sense? And what happens when we have more kids and there is even less time to spare? Are there any introvert breadwinners out there with a bunch of kids that have it all figured out?
I am assuming we will adjust and find somewhat of a balance, but he is forever and always going to be introverted. I don’t want it to sound like a bad word, it just means he is always going to need his own time. So my guess is that he will have to have dad-is-recovering period at night when we are all in bed. Sleep will likely get pushed further down on the priority list.
Does anyone reading this have a similar situation? Any tricks or wisdom to share?