Introvert dad

Having a child is, quite literally, a life-changing event and it ushers in a life-changing experience. Just about every room of my home is now occupied by burp cloths and receiving blankets. My daily schedule is now dictated by feeding times and diaper changes. And the way that I’ve come to interact with the real world outside of the home may have been impacted too.

Even though I am quite public with my life, both on this blog and through social media, I self-identify as more of an introvert than an extrovert. That could be perhaps part of the reason why I decided to go into business for myself in the first place, because it meant that I could buckle down in front of a computer without the “distractions” of cubicles and coworkers around the water cooler. I’m not antisocial; I just prefer to keep to myself.

But when you have a baby–who will eventually grow up to become a toddler, a child and a teenager–you don’t have much of a choice in the matter. You’re going to get social. You have to get social, because you want the little one to be comfortable interacting with all sorts of different people in all sorts of different situations.

The Granny Magnet

For better or for worse, even the shopping mall experience has changed. I used to be able to keep to myself, happily going about my business without much human interaction with other random shoppers. These days, it’s not uncommon for those fellow shoppers (particularly of the granny variety) to stop and ask about the infant I have in the stroller.

Oh, what’s her name? How old is she? Well, isn’t she the cutest thing? She’s an absolute doll.

And it’s not that I am upset by these interactions; it’s just that they stray outside the norm for me. As an introvert, I’m typically not the one to initiate conversations with strangers. If they approach me, however, it’s not so uncomfortable and not so difficult. This kind of experience will continue to expand as she gets older and I inevitably start networking with other parents at daycare, preschool, and so on. And this will get increasingly more proactive and progressively less passive.

I’ll have to reach out to other people.

An Emerging Personality

At this age, there’s no real way for me to determine what sort of personality Adalynn will develop. She may end up being as reserved as I am, being more selective with her engagements and interactions. Or she may be more proactive, leaving her introvert of a dad behind as she blossoms into a very sociable human being.

And if that were to happen, I can take solace in knowing that I’m not alone and it can be par for the course for many parents.

Until that time, I have the responsibility of making many of these decisions for her, choosing how much of her I want to “put out there” in the public eye. After all, she already has a blog… though I am struggling with whether or not this is really a form of exploitation. I have noticed that I get more “likes” when I post photos of her on Facebook. But I digress.

The Introvert and His Kid

While introversion is neither better nor worse than extroversion, modern mainstream society tends to reward those who are more outgoing and gregarious in nature. So, stepping outside of my normal comfort zone as an introvert will simply be another one of the many sacrifices that come along with parenthood. Life will never be the same.