Some Thoughts on Introverted Mom by Jamie Martin

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Today I’m looking at Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy by Jamie Martin.

It’s an important topic, both for me and many of the women I’ve met in this season of life. After all, as Martin says, “When our quiet nature collides with our often loud role, frustration and guilt result.” And believe me, I’ve definitely experienced both. Some days, it can be hard to recognize my tendency toward being overwhelmed as anything other than an indicator that I’m not cut out for this gig. But Introverted Mom reminds us that even Jesus took breaks for time by himself:

“The needy and the curious continually sought him ought, and just like us as mothers, he was often surrounded by people who wanted something from him. He knew how to serve, sacrifice, meet their needs, yet also how and when to retreat. […] Jesus’s life on earth offers introverted mothers the best example of all: a pouring out of ourselves followed by a filling up so we can pour out again, yet never run dry.”

A lot of Martin’s suggestions would be helpful for women just starting out as stay-at-home parents — and I think the book might have profited from being a bit more narrow-focused, instead of trying to target working mothers, single mothers, and full-time homemakers equally. Many of these are suggestions I’ve already implemented: such as continuing quiet time beyond nap time with the use of audiobooks, or journaling/blogging as a quiet place to sort through all the sensory input of mothering.

The distinction between self-care and self-improvement is one I’m still grappling with, and found very illuminating.

I also appreciated the repeated assurance that a little screen time for kids in exchange for a saner mama is a fair trade. I sometimes struggle with that particular guilt trip, even though I sense Martin is right.

One beef I had took me by surprise. I rejoiced when the introduction first announced that Martin would draw from the wisdom of four famous introverts: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d just told a friend recently that Austen and Montgomery are almost certainly my forever-favorites! But those sections felt a bit forced to me, and it didn’t help that only two of four were actually mothers — and one of those introvert moms profiled eventually killed herself. It’s not that they aren’t good role models for introverted writers, just that they aren’t a perfect fit, I don’t think, as fodder for introverted moms.

I’m not sure it’s the top resource I’d offer someone on the subject — Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking was an education for me on introversion, and I feel like I gleaned a lot of helpful ideas at Kendra Tierney’s post on the subject of introvert momming generally when I first had Pippin. Still, Introverted Mom reads like what it is: the book Martin needed when she was in the trenches of young, introverted motherhood, and that’s always going to be a valuable starting place. Martin’s wise words are a valuable source of affirmation on days when it feels like X.

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