Recently some parents have seemed impressed with my mommy skills. In full disclosure, I’m not a mommy superstar.
But sometimes I have a really stellar mommy moment. The kind that makes other moms (and sometimes dads, but they are harder to impress) exclaim “wow”. Granted, these usually are inspired by sheer desperation or Universal intervention. Sometimes they are stolen from other parents. Either way, here are some of the techniques that help us avoid temper tantrums and other kid-related annoyances.
This is perhaps the most brilliant of the bunch. We took a trip to NYC. The first day was a NIGHTMARE. The girls threw a fit on every block. They said NO to everything. They were disagreeable. We were miserable. Marlee even dumped coffee all over Lila Pearl (it wasn’t malicious but it was frustrating.)
The next day I declared, “today we are going to be yes girls”. I described that everyone had to find ways to say YES all day long. To my astonishment IT WORKED. The girls not only said YES but made it a game.
Sidebar: this would not work on a daily basis. Save it for a trip or special occasion.
Why? Why? Why? Whhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
There is a simple way we get our kids to stop asking, “why”.
We respond, “why not?”
They are either stumped or distracted by this question. Either way, they stop asking why and start asking more productive questions.
Apathetic. Until last week that was my attitude towards the PTA. With a demanding job and even more demanding kids I was positive I didn’t have time for the PTA. Not now. Possibly not ever. Though Jill 10-years ago imagined becoming a super-involved-soccer-mom, Jill today loves her job and needs down time.
My main source of school related information is my friend Rachel. My primary motivation to do anything is guilt (“Mommy, EVERYONE is going to such-and-such event”) followed by my intention to minimize the amount of time my children will spend in therapy (I accept they will likely need therapy; the challenge is to minimize how much time they require with a therapist).
If the PTA blink – or Rachel — doesn’t explicitly tell me what to do and when to do it, I ignore it.
So how did I go from a potential path of indifference to nominating myself for PTA president?
One day I told my therapist, “I JUST WANT TO BE ALONE.”
She replied, “I can’t believe I never noticed this before. You are an introvert.”
I am? Sure enough, she was right. I am an outgoing introvert, which I think makes me an introverted extrovert.
Most people describe me as an outgoing but I’m actually quite shy and often feel out of place. My therapist defined an introvert as someone who gets energy from within themselves, not from external factors such as a social environment. That is undeniably true.
Confession #1: Silence is my weapon
When Josh and I started dating I was very unsure…of everything. He embodied all the characteristics of a perfect boyfriend. I wanted to keep him interested. But he was a lot cooler than me (still is!) and I was certain that I must not fit in with his friends. I won him over, but making friends with his friends seemed impossible.
My response was to stay quiet. Silent, in fact, for a few years.
Eventually I got over myself and now I can’t shut up.
Confession # 2: The first meeting is the worst
That time between “Hi, I’m Jill” and the moment I find common ground with someone is alarming. My brain says, “Don’t be a bitch, don’t insult anyone, and for goodness sake don’t be BORING…wait, what was the person’s name again???”
The worst questions are: what do you do? what’s new?
WHAT’S NEW? Let’s see: are you interested in potty training? Temper tantrum control tactics? That I knit something I’m wearing? How my FIOS isn’t working properly? About my most recent attempt to stuff a pill down my cats throat? How I have 50 pairs of shoes but primarily wear Birkenstocks or clogs?
Confession #3: I fake it
I can usually connect with people but I still dread the get-to-know-each-other-phase. Maybe it’s because I’m not great at small talk. Or maybe it’s because I feel like wall flower in large crowds. When in doubt I revert to silence (see confession #1 ) or I fake it.
Like the time I started a new job and my first day was a company team-building event. Scariest work day ever. I was surrounded by a hundred new faces all wondering “who is the new girl” and I knew I had one shot to make an impression.
So I faked it. I summed up the courage to proactively introduce myself, crack jokes, and participate in the event. To this day my manager (now friend), doesn’t believe that (a) I faked it (b) I was terrified (c) I’m an introvert.
Confession #4: I prefer to be alone
I love to be around people — especially that fantastic group of people known as my family and that other group of fun people known as my friends. But I have a strong, natural desire to be alone. I need quiet time to relax, regroup, and rejuvenate.
This is a common trait of introverts as described in True Facts About the Introvert
“Contrary to popular belief, introverts do enjoy social interaction. They simply require less of it than their more boisterous extroverted cousin. As such the introvert seeks out the company of a few select people, also dogs and cats”
That explains A LOT.
So which is it? Introvert? Extrovert?
I’m still a little baffled about which camp I belong to so I’ll make up a new word: IntroExtroVertedness.
Noun. Adjective. Verb. (with made up words we have the luxury of using them in really interesting ways)
1. The state of mind of an outgoing, friendly person who wants to get past the newlywed phase of relationships quickly; Enjoys days of solitude.
Use it in a sentence: Her IntroExtroVertedness really shines through in this blog.
Final Confession: I love to blog
Blogging is great. I can write when I feel extroverted, about how I feel introverted, when I am all alone. I can read my words carefully to make sure I don’t violate anything mentioned in Confession #2. I can share without subjecting myself to immediate reaction. And I thrive when people make comments.