Surviving Mompreneurship As A Highly Sensitive Introvert
As someone who spent many years not understanding who she was, I am still navigating this journey of parenting two boys and entrepreneurship as a highly sensitive introvert. My work from home mompreneurship balancing act would be better described as the mother of all hot messes where life, parenting and business are constantly overflowing into one another all while feeling like I am barely keeping my head above water.
Parenting in itself has plenty of day to day highs and lows but for the highly sensitive introvert, this can create moments of anxiety that quickly erupt into complete emotional overwhelm. Kids are naturally high energy and their curious spirits and unpredictable mood swings can be especially challenging for those who are easily overstimulated and overwhelmed.
If you are a highly sensitive introverted parent, you know all too well that having peaceful moments in which to recharge ranks right up there with having air to breathe and water to drink. I honestly could have hours and hours of quiet time alone so I personally know the struggle that happens when life and little people are raging around you without a minute to catch your breath emotionally and mentally.
When we ignore ourselves and the time we need for inner reflection, our mental well-being is jeopardized. I unfortunately find myself quite often lashing out in frustration due to sensory overload that quickly turns into an emotionally charged household. I am left feeling guilty knowing that my children are absorbing the stress and negative energy that surrounds them and I beat myself up for another epic fail parenting moment.
As I have been digging deeper into learning more about myself, I have discovered it is possible to navigate the complicated world of mompreneurship as a highly sensitive introvert. There is no easy how-to guide when it comes to parenting but with a little bit of communication, self care and grace it can be a more manageable and pleasant experience for everyone.
I don't pretend to have all the answers as I am still working through many of my personal areas of growth but I hope these 6 tips will put you on a path to better understanding your needs as a highly sensitive introverted mom and business owner:
1. Communication. I used to be ashamed to admit I was a highly sensitive person and an introvert. I saw it as a weakness. I felt guilty that I needed alone time away from my kids. They are only little once. This time should be cherished and I put a lot of pressure to make the most of every single minute. When I started communicating with my kids prior to having a blow up, they were much more understanding of the time I needed to regroup.
When I catch myself about to turn into Monster Mom, I take a deep breath and tell my boys I am feeling overwhelmed, am about to get upset and just need a moment. I let them know its not them, after all they are just being boys. I tell them mom is very sensitive to loud noises and needs a few minutes of quiet time.
Being open, honest and vulnerable has led them to be more respectful and they will usually go into another room and make an effort to play more quietly for me or I will go into another room for a few minutes to put my emotions in check. This has worked out so much better for everyone verses me having a meltdown which only leaves them feeling confused and wondering what they did wrong.
Start communicating with your kids about how you feel. It not only gives them a whole new perspective that you have feelings and needs too but you are teaching them how to better work through and communicate their own emotions. A definite win win for everyone.
2. Music. I love music. It immediately uplifts my mood and calms my soul. When I feel myself about to fall off the deep end because the kids are in a heated argument for the fifth time in 30 minutes, I will put some music on and it brings a whole new level of energy into the space not only for me but for my kids too. All of our moods lighten and the vibe is shifted.
Try putting some of your favorite tunes on even if its with ear buds to create some mental space for yourself during those moments when you feel your emotions closing in on you.
3. Me Time. As a mom I get this is easier said than done. With a husband that works a lot of hours, a child in school with lots of homework every afternoon and a younger one who has not started school yet and home with me full time while I run two businesses, I know all too well how hard this can be to put into practice but I also believe that there is always a way to find time for yourself.
• 20 minutes to take a soothing bath with your favorite essential oil after the kids go to bed
• Finding a high school student who can come by after school for an hour while you run out and grab a coffee and take your laptop to work in peace and finish that blog post
• A family member who can play with the kids on a Saturday morning while you grocery shop alone
• A neighbor who you can work out a reciprocal agreement with once a week so you can browse your local farmer's market all by yourself while giving her some much needed time to herself too
Self care time is crucial to your well-being so making the time is important and must be a non-negotiable. Give yourself permission to make it a priority and there will always be a way to figure it out. Our family relies on us to give them a safe space of stability and we can't give them that when we are overloaded and irritable. Bottom line is that you won't have the time you need unless you make the time.
4. Know your limitations. As an introvert, too much people time is not a good thing. If you know your kids have a busy week coming up with sports and tournaments or you have family coming to visit for a few days don't jam pack out your calendar leading up to this busier than usual time. You will be emotionally exhausted with a shorter than normal fuse and this isn't fair to the people around you. Its not their fault you overloaded your schedule and your emotions.
5. Set a schedule. Create a workable consistent routine for yourself to work and time to unplug and stick to it. It would be an introvert's paradise to have 6 hours of quiet time without interruption to work but that is not a realistic expectation when you are a mom wearing 57 hats and trying to run a business. Expecting that much time to work during the day is only going to lead to frustration and resentment that will not go well for you or anyone else in your family.
Instead break up your day to make it more manageable. Work for an hour ensuring it is highly productive and then unplug. Schedule another hour that you can work and then wrap up your day for another hour after the kids go to bed. Its about being more intentional and efficient with your time. You can't waste 30 minutes on Facebook knowing you need to get a blog post finished and then get aggravated its not done because little people are demanding your time. Have a plan of exactly what you will work on as soon as you sit down at the computer and stay away from the things that you know are going to suck up your time with nothing to show for it.
6. The power of "I'm sorry". I wish I could say that with all the inner work I have done and changes I have made to my daily life that I no longer have moments where I completely lose it but I can't. I am human. I still struggle with my emotions getting the best of me.
One of the most important lessons I have learned through this is an apology goes along way with my kids. When I have a complete melt down, I don't try to pretend it never happened. I don't brush it under the rug. I own it and take responsibility for my actions. I sit down with them and allow myself to be open and transparent. I apologize for my outburst and for any hurt feelings that it caused them. I let them know I love them.
Its an opportunity for all of us to show one another some grace and forgiveness. Its not if people will hurt them in their lives or if they will hurt others but when and hopefully they will be prepared to give and receive grace and forgiveness through my example. I can't be the perfect mom for my kids but I can strive to give them the best version of myself, even when I mess up.
Mompreneurship has its share of challenges and for those like me who are sensitive to the energies that surround their space, it brings its own unique set of challenges and circumstances. Do the deep inner work to understand yourself better and above all else, love yourself through it xo
P.S. Are you looking for a supportive community where you can be mentored through your mompreneurship journey? Learn more about The Creative Gristmill. We would be honored to have you.
April Williams is the #CreativeMomista of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Woman Warrior Of God • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • A vintage soul passionate about living a simple life with a modern approach to business and branding