Okay, maybe not those last two. But . . . they certainly made a huge deal about it.
So, when Agent E was three month old, I gave it a try. I came home (early) to a hysterical baby who wouldn't take a bottle and simply missed her mommy. This was early in my mothering and a lot of my parenting philosophy hadn't really come together for me yet. (More on that here.) I tried again two more times (over the course of the next couple of years). While the second attempt turned out okay (in that toddler E did fine with Dad and Momma didn't have a panic attack), I ended up coming home early from the third attempt to nurse baby Agent J.
To sum: I did not have fun, I missed my baby as if a part of my own body were cut off, and I spent the entire evening uneasy.
Still, I listened to the voices that insisted I had to leave my baby, I had to teach her to get along without me, I had to do this for myself. This was great for moms and I needed it! Right? Why didn't this work for me? Why wasn't I looking forward to this? What was wrong with me?
Turns out, nothing. It's just not how I'm wired.
Not until I participated in a Bible study some time later did it finally hit me. A chapter in the book we used described introverts and extroverts in a way I had never heard. I always assumed that being an introvert meant you didn't like to be with people, and being an extrovert meant you did. It made perfect sense that I wasn't that into MNO as an introvert, but there was more to it. I don't dislike being with people. I enjoy family gatherings, small group discussions, meeting other moms at the park, and joining friends for coffee. However, that's not how I energize myself when I'm feeling low.
Being an introvert vs. an extrovert is more about how you refuel when you need to recharge your batteries. An a-ha moment for sure. Somehow I had managed to find myself in a group of extroverts who thrived on being able to go out once a month (or more) and let loose, have a few glasses of wine, and be part of a big group in a festive atmosphere.
I, however, much prefer to go out during the day. I am not a night person. I absolutely hate leaving my babies at night. (Even my oldest "baby" who is now almost six.) I don't feel recharged; I feel on edge and restless. I need "mom" time, just like every mom does, but in a different way.
What do I do instead? I do the things that help me (not the mom next door, or my best friend, or well-meaning relatives) to refocus and enjoy parenting with a clear, relaxed mind. I get up early to have some quiet time for reading, writing, and thinking. I employ the use of a sitter a few hours a week (early in the day) when Hubby is out to sea for extended periods. When I meet with friends it's during the day, not at night, not at bedtime. I arrange mom/kid play dates with one or two other families at a time, and avoid big, organized "mom and tot" events.
And that is what works for this introverted Momma.
How about you? What energizes you?