What the heck is an ambivert you may be asking. Fair question because I know most of us have heard of the personality traits Introvert and Extrovert. Ambivert is used to describe those of us stuck somewhere in the middle. We are currently doing an 6 week book study on Hope For the Weary Mom by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothin. We just finished up Chapter 2 where they discussed that each of us has strengths and weaknesses that God uses to further the Kingdom and bless our children. They talk about how there are usually 4 categories that women (or really any human) falls into: Introverted Doers, Introverted Relaters, Extroverted Doers, Extroverted Relators. Though she does say that the categories are not exclusive she doesn’t discuss what I have found myself to be: Ambiverted Doer.
So what is an Ambivert anyway? It’s someone who falls in the middle of the Introvert-Extrovert spectrum. That seems pretty simple doesn’t it? But what I found more interesting was what the definitions of Introverts and Extroverts. I had always understood that being an extrovert, which I always thought I was, was someone who was good in social settings and didn’t mind being in large groups and not fearful of talking to strangers. That isn’t necessarily true. An extrovert is someone who does seek out those situations but not because they are necessarily good in them but because they are energized by them. Where as an introvert needs that solitary time to recharge themselves. Introvert can absolutely be good in large groups and speaking in front of people but it saps them and they are refueled by seeking out time to themselves. So where does an ambivert come in…it depends. Ambiverts can slide up and down the spectrum depending on the situation (Source). They can pull from the strengths of both introverts and extroverts.
What does this mean for me? It means that while I can do enjoy being around groups they are usually smaller, more intimate groups. And you know what? I do enjoy these times. But I also NEED my alone time. I work so much better when I am alone. I get distracted easily when I work in a group setting or with others. That is probably the extrovert in me.
What Kind of Mom Does That Make Me?
That is the question that was still eluding me after Chapter 2 of Hope For The Weary Mom. They discuss that the category you find yourself in helps in defining your feeling of your successes or failures as a mom. It’s important to note that it defines only how you feel about how good a mom you are and not how good a mom your actually are. Us women tend to be our biggest critics in not just photographs but also motherhood. If I am on one end of the spectrum then I am going to naturally highlight my deficiencies, those that can be found in other mothers on the other side of it. I will tend to compare myself to those other moms and that is dangerous. Why is it dangerous? Because when I focus on what I don’t have I don’t get to enjoy what I DO have! In those moments I let the Devil steal my joy. I miss the laughs I get to share with my boys because I am an extroverted-doer and are all bouncing together on the trampoline and instead still feeling defeated because I was unable to really sit down and communicate God’s love to my son this morning at breakfast like good Introverted-relater would have done. I am missing the best parts that God has set aside for me! Instead of dwelling on what I don’t have I need to take Brooke and Stacey’s advice and just “be good at who [I am]- who God made [me] to be…let go of what [I’m] not, and hold on to what [I’ve] got.”
So does my ambiverted doer classification actually fit me as a mom? I think it does. I do tend to pull from both sides of the spectrum when dealing with my children. I tend to not be a great heart communicator, having emotional driven discussions, but I do SHOW them that I love them with things like small notes in their lunch boxes and spending quality time by joining them at their lunch hour or taking them out on a bike ride or to the park (Introverted Doer). I love to goof around with them and am not afraid to have silly fun when we are together. We like to jump in puddles and wrestle with one another we also enjoy making crafts and memories together like fun family vacations (Extroverted Doer)!
I struggle with feeling like I don’t connect with my kids on a heart level. I am afraid sometimes that I am missing opportunities to show them God’s
grace and teach them the important things needed to have an eternal perspective. But just like they talk about in Chapter 2, I need to lean on that same grace I want to teach my kids about, that amazing God given grace. I need to let Jesus use what I see as my weaknesses. In those moments where I don’t think I have what it takes, I need to lean more on Him to fill the gaps. I need to have faith and trust that he will use my weakness to bring glory to Him. He will use my strengths as an introverted-extrovert-doer and He will even use my weaknesses.
So what do I need to do. I need to let God. I need to follow my introverted tendencies and sit and be still with Him. My alone times are very very important to me being the best mom that God created me to be. The alone time recharges me so that I can give my kids the best me that God created me to be. If I am exhausted then I am impatient. If I am not listening to God speak to my heart during my quiet times in the morning then I tend to let the Devil still my joy throughout the day. The joy I should be experiencing in this season of my life with my boys. If I do not get my exercise alone time then I am not going to be healthy and available to be the extroverted-doer mom that my boys get a kick out of bouncing with and wrestling and riding with.
So whether God created you as an Introvert, Extrovert, Doer, Relater or a little of all of them, you are EXACTLY what God created you to be. Embrace it and share in God’s grace and strength when we do fall back on Him in our weakness. In him I am everything that my boys need me to be. I am their mom, the mom God created just for them.