I'm an Innie

Remember when you were little and people would ask you if you had an innie or an outie? In my experience it was far more common to have an innie than an outie. In fact, if you were someone who had an outie, everyone knew it. "Oh, Katie? You know, she has an outie." What a bizarre thing that we cared about, but I suppose we knew that everyone had a bellybutton, and there were two kinds to have. It gave us something to talk about, another way to separate each other into phylums and categories. I don't think we ever used it to make judgements on people's character, it was just information. As an adult, the only time the bellybutton conversation comes up is when a woman is pregnant, "has your bellybutton popped out, yet?" I have to say, that even with my twin pregnancy, my bellybutton never popped out. I feel a little defective as a result.

Well, I'm not talking about bellybuttons here today (God knows, I talk about them enough at home. Somehow the four year-old is under the impression that it's a potty word, and I'm sort of going along with it because he says 'bellybutton' instead of 'toilet' or 'poopy.' I can handle that in public), I'm talking about character. If you take the Myer's Brigg's personality profile, you will find that you fall squarely into one of two camps: Introvert or Extrovert (marked by either an I or a E accordingly). I'm gonna drop a bomb here, so hold on to your wigs and keys, I am an introvert. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I know. It's true. This wordy, won't shut up, quirky, character is an introvert.

According to the Myer's Brigg's evaluation, whether a person is an introvert or and extrovert has to do with where they get their energy. Introverts obtain gratification and energy from within, and extroverts from outside the self. By this definition, it is possible for a person to be gregarious and outgoing, and still an introvert. This is my "problem." Because I am an outgoing person, people automatically assume that I am an extrovert. It is equally possible for a person to be shy in social situations and a complete extrovert. According to research, there are more extroverts than introverts in our culture.

I have been thinking a lot about what it's like to be an introvert as a parent. I am prepared to make the official statement that any and all moments that I feel like a failure as a parent are directly attributed to the fact that I am an introvert. Introverts need more time than extroverts to be alone and recharge. Naturally, as a parent, those moments don't come with any dependable frequency. The nature of parenting is that you give and give with no promise of recharging. I am not saying that this is easy for an extrovert, I am saying that it's extremely difficult for an introvert.

What's the point of this? For me to lament about my introverted challenges as a parent? Nope. Really, no. It's only to say that the awareness of whether you are an introvert and an extrovert can lead to some self forgiveness around how you "are" or what you "need." We tend to judge ourselves as either "normal" or "not normal." I have beat myself up over this. I need time to myself, and that is not "normal" because "most people" don't need that.

Here's the deal: I'm all about forgiveness, I'm all about self awareness, and I'm really all about not being "normal."


  1. This really resonated with me, especially the part about the most challenging parenting pieces coming from this need for introverted recharging. Really, the last week just snapped into perspective: preschooler home sick with pink eye and wanted constant companionship = very little opportunity to recharge.

  2. As a fellow introvert (and stay at home mom) I completely understand what you're saying. I used to think I was being selfish for enforcing a "quiet time" every day when my kids no longer needed naps. But I realized, quite early on in my parenting journey, that I need the time alone to be a better mom/wife/friend/daughter/person. My kids have benefitted from this in many ways too. It's our normal.

  3. Great post.

    I am not really sure where I fit into the introvert/extrovert part. I should probably think about that.

    I am defiantly with you about being "all about NOT being normal."

  4. I'm totally an introvert. It means I have to schedule myself recharge time. :)

  5. I am an extrovert. However, just being around people does not recharge me. They have to specific people. I get completly recharged when I go for a run with my best friend. Not those long silent runs, but the ones where I'm all out of breath from talking about the week's events and getting great support from my cohort. It's similar to you introverts who need space to think inside your head. I just need space to "think outloud" with someone who loves me and does not judge.

  6. oh wow, i sooooooooooo understand. i appreciate your writing this as it's nice to relate to somebody when oftentimes i feel isolated!


Comments are cool, being mean is not, so please... just don't do it. Hey, thanks!

Have Keeping Her Cool Emailed to you!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Popular Posts