14 September 2014

Melissa Jagears on Parenting: Introverted Mom Coping with Extroverted Children

Author Melissa Jagears

I always wanted a lot of children, the idea of molding people to be the best they can be was quite the lovely dream. Except I forgot to take into account how much of an extreme introvert I am....do you know how much alone time babies give their introverted mommas? Zippo.

And of course, God gave me what seems to be three extroverts to raise. (I’m still hoping the one year old will suddenly turn shy...but I’m thinking he’s acting too much like the other ones for that to come true.)

So the kids often cause me to struggle with feeling like a bad mom because I’m not meeting all of their extroverted needs for constant entertainment and play dates with PEOPLE! All I have to do is say, “Get dressed” and they say in chorus: “Yay! Where are we going!!!???” (Literally. Every day. They think getting dressed means we’re going to a party.)

So how to cope? First, I don’t let myself be swayed by the people who think parents should be their child’s best friend. To be my children’s best friend, I’d have to be someone I most definitely am not, and when you cause introverts to pretend to be extroverts...they generally turn into not-so-nice people.

I also don’t let my childrens’ disappointments push me to gratify their every need. My daughter has been forced to find something to do alone because Mommy just can’t be engaged all the time. So she’s discovered the love of reading. If I’d kept her busy with play dates and board games, she’d never have had to spend an hour alone and realize that a book was a good way to fill that time.

I’m not the best mommy, as my daughter says, “You’re the best mommy because you’re my only mommy.” Which is true, she’s stuck with me and that’s about as good as she’ll get. Though I will strive to become the best mommy I can be, I will never win the best mommy in the world award. And that’s okay—God made me their mother for a reason, and He wouldn’t want me to ignore who He made me to be to fulfill that role.
A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears

BIO:

Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance after everyone is asleep. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter is free to try. A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store should be available wherever books are sold. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com 

Link to her new release, A Bride in Store, on Amazon.

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of either of Melissa's novels this week, choice of format (international winners, ebook only unless available through the Book Depository.)  Answer the question - Are any of your kids extroverted and you're an introvert, or vice versa?

52 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I am extremely introverted with an EXTREMELY extroverted daughter. This was just what I needed to read today!

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    1. Friend Extroverts can make you exhausted, but child extroverts! Man am I exhausted! :) Glad this helped.

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  2. I wish more parents could take a page from your book! Parents are not intended to be their children's best friends. That's what their peers are for. Enjoyed the interview!

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    1. I never did think being a child's best friend was a good idea, but this is definitely a reason I couldn't even be if I tried. :)

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  3. I have 1 extrovert and 2 introverts, Guess I am more an introvert. Certainly rounded out my parenting :)
    I have A Bride In Store waiting in my TBR pile but certainly would enjoy a copy of A Bride for Keeps...

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    1. I was hoping for one to chime in with a "let's just stay home" occasionally, but I don't' think that's happening....

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  4. I'm a single introvert with no kids. I would love to read either of Melissa's books. Thanks.

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    1. But you've got a puppy it looks like! They generally are extroverts. :)

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    2. Caryl Kane! I've only met a handful of Carols who spell their name with a "Y" like my Mama spelled mine! Glad to e'meet you here at OWG!

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  5. No kids yet, but my rather extroverted husband got stuck with an extremely introverted younger brother, which was probably the root cause of being archenemies for their first 15 or so years of life ("archenemies" being their term for their relationship). Then, because my husband apparently didn't have enough time living with an introvert growing up, he married me, though I like to think I'm not introverted to quite the degree of my brother-in-law. Thankfully we are not archenemies; it would not bode well for our marriage.

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    1. Archenemy spouses would be hard--but a fun hero and heroine for a book! :)

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  6. Melissa, I love your post. I'm kind of middle of the road. So, I can go either way and be happy. Of my three daughters, one tends to be a bit shy and not out-going. One is a total people person--always on the go. The third one can go either way, but she is definitely not shy. It's fun to see how kids turn out, isn't it? My girls are all grown and I'm watching my grandchildren grow up.

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    1. I do love seeing them become their own little people, that's for sure!

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  7. I think we all tend to be introverts although there have been times when each of us has stepped out of our comfort zone for a while.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Sometimes you just have to step out of the comfort zone....and then other times you're forced. :)

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  8. I have no children, so I can't really answer the question. But I am introverted and the rest of my family is very much extroverted. I am the odd ball of the family for sure.

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    1. That's probably pretty tough at times! I bet you're tired a lot! Hope they give you a break to hide in your room occasionally. :)

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  9. My daughter is an extrovert, I am not. I've met a lot of people because of her. When she was really little, she would go up to people at church [or church conferences] and give them hugs. One time after she did this, the woman said my daughter must have thought she was someone else. I told her no, she just liked to hug people she thought needed a hug. It was her ministry! I think that even extroverts need to learn how to entertain themselves. My daughter is a great reader too. As a young adult, she is still an extrovert, but still loves to do solitary things like reading.
    pmkellogg[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Oh yes, almost from day one, I knew my EXTREME extrovert child was going to force me out of the house more than I would ever want to be out of it. I could literally tell that from just a few weeks; she was most content out shopping or with people. In fact I think shopping was one of her first ten words.....because shopping was when she knew mom would actually venture from the house and she'd see people, so she needed to know that word! :)

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    2. Oh, and yeah, she'll hug anybody and everybody...and I'm like extreme on the other end of the hugging scale, I barely hug family!

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  10. I think we are pretty much a household full of introverts, so I haven't had to struggle with this one! Thanks for the post, Melissa! We're happy to have you visit us again on OWG!

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    1. Enjoy your little piece of heaven there for me, Carrie! Not that I would trade them, but a month of just sitting in my house with my family and going nowhere would be grand. :)

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  11. Both of my children are introverts - like me. I come from a family of extroverts though.

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    1. I was lucky to have a mom who was introverted, but my sister, I believe, is extroverted, we didn't always get each other. :)

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  12. Enjoyed the post, Melissa and can't wait to read your book! My only....a daughter.. is 49 so I don't have a small child to comment about. lol
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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    1. Well, even the big out of the house kids can create havoc, I'm sure. :)

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  13. I don't personally have any kids but I come from a family of 9 kids and I am very familiar with the whole introvert/extrovert dilemma! I am an extreme introvert while my mother is an extreme extrovert. My dad has a balance of both but usually the extrovert side wins out and it seems like we are always doing one thing or another that I would much rather completely avoid! For instance today we had a church pig roast and most of my family was having a blast while I stood on the side bored and uncomfortable. It was made a little better when I took over running after a family friend's two-year-old! I'd rather watch 15 kids than spend 15 mins with adults I don't know!
    So I completely understand where you are coming from though I'd much rather be in your shoes with the most say in the matter!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh Abbi, I totally feel you on the church pig roast thing! My mother is introverted, I'm not sure how I'd have handled an extrovert mother, I feel tired just contemplating it.

      When we were first married, it took awhile before we had our first kid, and at our big family gatherings (not even strangers, but family reunion things) I told my hubby that I couldn't wait to have some kids so I could disappear for awhile and claim that feeding the baby or just having to watch them was necessary to give myself a break from people. So I'd be right there with the 15 kids with you.....or maybe with you, sitting with another introvert friend works too. I can handle being friendly with people one at a time, it's the more you add on the more uncomfortable I can get.

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  14. Thanks for your post! I am an introvert but my kids are not. Sometimes I feel so drained from being around their energy so much and I always felt so guilty---like shouldn't I want to spend time with my kids? Now that they're older, I just have to tell them to read or draw or find something to do. I realize I need to re-charge myself. I thought something was wrong with me but now I know it's not just me :)
    garfsgirl AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. It is draining! And it truly is better for them if I make the time to recharge even if that's not what they wish for me to do, because if I don't recharge, my parenting abilities (namely staying calm and being just plain nice) take a nosedive. My husband for awhile, thought that I didn't want to see him after work, because I would throw the kids at him (it's worse when there is a newborn 24/7 need baby) and then go work on the computer for a bit or go cook dinner or sometimes just go hide in my room. Now he knows I'm just at my wits end and need some silence and I'll come back! :) I think that's why I write in the middle of the night, I actually probably should be sleeping, but it's something I can do all by myself . . . well mostly, there's still nightmares, and feedings, and wet beds, and getting sick in the middle of the night, and needs for more water, etc.....but ALMOST by myself!!

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  15. I am certain you're the exact perfect mother for those outgoing little children of yours, Melissa. I enjoyed your post! What fun you must have. God has such a great funny bone! Carrie, thank you for sharing Melissa! I'm going to go now and like her FB page :) Hugs and blessings, ladies!

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    1. Thanks for coming to my FB page! And yes, I think my extreme extrovert child does get a bit of a benefit from me tempering her a bit. But there are certainly times when I wonder about why she was given to me when I think most other mothers would have been better for her, but at least I'm the "best mommy because I'm her only mommy" :)

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  16. Hi MELISSA, I loved reading your post!! Moreso for the fact that I could relate so well! :-) And you know what, I used to think it was a not so good thing, but I look at my kids now, all grown up, and see such amazing adults! They have the confidence and spunk I never had when younger, but then they also have the humility and gentleness also. So I believe, like mine, your children are blessed! ;)

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    1. Good thing to know that I likely won't mess them up too badly. :)

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  17. I love how you are so open about this topic, Melissa! I didn't realize I was an introvert until WAY into adulthood! Now I crave alone time but my family don't ever seem to leave the house at the same time! GRRR.

    LOL. Can't wait to read your new book!

    Cheers, Sue

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    1. If I'm anything online, I'm open. I'll have no secrets left soon! And my hubby thinks taking one or two of the kids away from me will give me a break.....uh, no, they must all go together!

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  18. I don't have any kids of my own, but I come from a big family (9 kids) and work with kids on a pretty regular basis. I have experienced this from both sides-- I am very introverted, but my mom is more of an extrovert; and I've also dealt with some very extroverted kids. It can be rather exhausting either way. It's hardest for me as an introvert to go ahead and encourage a kid to be their natural extroverted self. But I do try because I know how it feels having an extrovert try to get me to "overcome" my introvertedness.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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    1. Yes! It is a bit strange to encourage them to be their extroverted selves when you're thinking "that's the last thing on earth I'd want to do"

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  19. I don't have any kids yet, but I'd love to win!

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  20. I think my kids and I are too much alike sometimes. But in the end, it all works out. Now, they are all adults...
    Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your books--they sound good.
    Vicki

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    1. My mom and I are both extreme introverts, sometimes being too alike can cause problems too! Like two introverts don't always communicate enough.

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  21. Sounds like a very good read. Would share with my daughter in law.

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  22. I am more of an extrovert, and my kids... I think my oldest is an introvert and my younger son is an extrovert. My step daughter is an extrovert and my baby girl is only 2 months, so it's hard to say... Thank you for sharing

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    1. I wanted a mix, just so I could have somebody on my side! ;P Didn't get it though, but I bet a dynamic of mixed kiddos introvert/extroverts comes with its own problems.

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  23. I'm probably a bit more introverted than extroverted. My biggest challenge is dealing with crowds.

    ~Cindi Altman

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  24. Hi, Melissa!! Enjoyed your post - thanks!!

    Both my adult children are extroverted, I tend to be more extroverted now - but it hasn't always been that way. When I was in the first grade - my father had to spank me all the way up our sidewalk to get me on the school bus, and I never enjoyed school. I would walk down the hall with my head down so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone. My youngest son was always much taller than the kids in his school class and was self-conscious because of it. He started playing football in Jr. high school, developed confidence, and is now very out-going.

    I am pretty much an open book now online, and off - I think age/maturity often has something to do with our personalities. The older one becomes, the more he/she realizes it doesn't matter what people think about them - it matters only what God thinks. Glad to see you're being you own self, Melissa - the person God created you to be!!

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  25. Wonderful post, Melissa! So nice to learn more about you! I was blessed with 6 children so I especially enjoyed reading your mom philosophy. And I agree! Mine are adults now and we have 3 grandchildren. I haven't read your books but definitely can tell God has blessed you with a gift of storytelling. I definitely look forward to reading your books. By the way, I think of myself as an introvert but whenever I say this, everyone starts laughing. They think I'm an extrovert. LOL

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  26. Hello ladies. Interesting conversation, but one that is hard for me to take in. I've hardly known an introvert I guess in all of the people I have spent time around. I definitely never had trouble talking to anyone who will listen, and my whole family(7 siblings) were all like me but maybe not so loud. I've always been told to shhh! talk lower. I told them I learned to talk loud so I could be heard when I was growing up. And all of my kids like to be with others and don't mind crowds. As far as I know all of my 12 grands and 19 greats also. So it gets very loud when we have family gatherings.
    Melissa, I bet it is hard with children if you feel that way. Thy are a handful. I too think its not your job to try and be your childs best friend. We are their mother and supposed to teach them how to be a respected thoughtful person and about GOD. My youngest wanted to be her daughter's best friend and later she couldn't do much with her. Of course the way things are now, it is sometimes hard to correct them without getting in trouble. my folks spanked us if we didn't do what we were suppose to and we learned where the bounderies were. They were the best, most loving parents GOD could have given us to. None of us grew up hating them or getting in trouble. we are all respected adults. And I always knew about GOD from the very first. But now that I'm older and alone, I have no problem with being alone a lot. God bless all of you my friends. Maxie

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    1. Maxie, I was an introverted child and didn't like being around lots of crowds or having much attention focused on me. But then I became a teen and I was a baton twirler and you have to have some amount of extroversion (or maybe just exhibitionism!). I think I am pretty balanced now but tend toward introversion but I love to be with other people who are believers. There is that communion of the Holy Spirit that just lifts you up. Blessings!

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    2. Last but NOT least MAXIE!!! Congrats on winning!!!

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