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On Being a Highly Sensitive Mom

I have always been perceived by others as quiet, calm and, as my mom puts it, may sariling mundo. While I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, I find the most pleasure in my alone time. It is during this time that I can take it slow and just be silent.

No television. No loud music. Just peace and quiet.

Parisian WeddingThis is why it was quite a shock, even to myself, that I married such a loud man. Opposites do attract, eh? Unlike me, Arjay cannot stay put for a long time. He has to always do something…anything! His music needs to be loud. He talks a lot. Otherwise, he’d go crazy.

Although his thing isn’t my thing, we don’t try to control each other because when we do, it only sparks a really, really bad argument. So I let him listen to his music. I allow him to put the telly’s volume to the max. In return, he let’s me have some quiet time in our bedroom while he looks after the kids or he encourages me to have a spa day so I can relax.

It’s different with the minis though. I noticed that I snap so quickly when the minis scream or cry or whine at the same time. As in it feels like my brain will explode! When this happens, I usually find myself toning down music in the background or turning off the telly if it’s on. You can’t just tell kids to shut up or to leave you alone for a minute so I just tone down whatever I can tone down when they’re being loud. Then, I ask them to calm down. They listen to my request sometimes, but most of the time, they push me to my limits. You know how kids are.

update-2For some time I questioned my ability as a mother. Why do I get overwhelmed so quickly in situations when there are so many things happening at the same time? Why do high or low pitched noises make me feel like bumping my head on a wall? Do I have a psychological problem? Oh my gosh, am I crazy?!

I started to research on what I thought were symptoms of a psychological issue. I seriously prepared myself for what I may find out and already thought of how I can tell my husband that I need medical intervention. Hehe!

I eventually came upon an article that described me perfectly…and it’s written by a mom! I gave a sigh of relief when I read that I’m not the only person experiencing what’s happening to me.

Apparently, I’m a highly sensitive person. According to Abundant Mama’s article, the common traits of a highly sensitive person include:

  • Overwhelmed easily
  • Aware of subtle changes in environment
  • Sensitive to pain, noise, smells and touch
  • Desire to withdraw into solitude often
  • Overwhelmed by light and sounds
  • Extremely conscientious to the point of being insecure
  • Easily annoyed and frustrated
  • Avoid violence and confrontation, including on TV and news
  • Changes and transitions are very challenging and anxiety-inducing
  • Easily overwhelmed by too many options or choices

Guess what? I have 10 out of the 10 traits listed above!

Crisostomo Nuvali Sta. Rosa LagunaI am aware that I cannot control these traits so I just found ways to keep myself calm every day. I’ve been asked countless of times what my secret is to “surviving” this crazy thing called motherhood (and I’d add, married life). If you are highly sensitive person like me…or just going through a super crazy time, here are some of the things I’ve tried that have worked well in keeping me collected:

1. Wake Up Early

People are amazed by the fact that I wake up at 4 in the morning. Yes folks, I’m up that early! It gives me time to meditate, do some chores and work. By the time my three housemates wake up, I’m already done with my morning routine and have prepared my mind for whatever the day may bring.

2. Make Time for ‘Alone Time’

At the end of each week, I’ve made it a habit to spend some time with myself. If I don’t have the budget for an out-of-the-house activity, I just stay inside our bedroom while my husband and kids are in the living room. That’s when I take the time to read a book or write or just lie down quietly. If I do have some cash to spare, I usually treat myself to a spa day.

I’ve been observing the minis lately, too, and noticed that my daughter seems to be showing signs of being a highly sensitive person. Yep, she’s always telling her brother to tone down or asking her dad to lower the telly’s volume! #MiniMe 😀 When she gets overwhelmed, I take her to a quiet room, bring out her paint set and let her paint until she calms down. Sometimes, I give her a massage while I play soft music in the background. Recently, she has been my companion during my spa days…which she absolutely loves so she’s been asking me to make it a regular every Friday!

Piandre Salon Kera Girl Party3. Go Out With Friends

But I prefer one-on-one coffee, lunch or dinner dates. Going out with a large group only gets me even more overwhelmed and exhausted. Most of the time, I just go out on a date with my husband.

4. Talk To Your Family About Your High Sensitivity

For some time, my husband thought I was overreacting every time I walked out on him and the minis when they get too loud. However, when I told him about me being a highly sensitive person, he became more understanding. Now he just doesn’t say “Let them be” when the minis are getting too hyperactive because he knows that I just can’t let them be. When he notices that I’m beginning to reach my limit, he takes over the household and let’s me take a few minutes’ break.

Are you a highly sensitive person too? How do you handle it?

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22 Comments

  • Reply Jen Santos

    I consider myself an introvert and I enjoy me-time more than a regular person but I don’t think I’m highly sensitive the way it is described. Although there were times growing up when I thought I had some psychological disorder, turned out I’m just hanging around with the wrong people. Everything got better when I started living intentionally and really choose the people I’m around with.

    March 11, 2015 at 3:01 PM
  • Reply Liz A

    Easily annoyed and frustrated… hehehe this is something that I can definitely relate to. Mas may patience ako when I was still single in its truest sense but when I became a Mom, I became this especially at work and anything that concerns my son.

    March 10, 2015 at 2:22 AM
  • Reply Mylene Dela Cena

    Yun laging nasa kwarto.. hehe.. same here noon dalaga and even now. Most husband/father yata ganun, pag nagkakagulo na ang mga kids, sasabihin lang nila “hayaan mo sila”. Eh mommies tayo, hindi pwede yun:-) I want to meet Krisna in person, minsan meet up tayo;-)

    March 7, 2015 at 2:26 PM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Minsan let’s have a lunch date together. Malapit lang naman tayo sa isa’t isa. 🙂

      March 8, 2015 at 7:54 AM
  • Reply May De Jesus-Palacpac

    I don’t think I have all 10 traits, but I’m definitely ticking off number by number recently. I think I should take my alone time and time with friends a bit more seriously now. More on the alone time.

    March 6, 2015 at 5:25 PM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Ako naman, I’ve had all 10 since I was young. My mom used to be so annoyed that I always stay in my room. Tapos ayaw ko ng maingay eh malakas boses ng mom ko. 😀

      March 7, 2015 at 10:06 AM
  • Reply MrsMartinez

    It’s nice to know that opposite do really attracts. And you and your hubby are not alone ; ) Yes, I am the extrovert and he is the introvert one hehe

    xoxo
    MrsMartinez

    March 6, 2015 at 5:22 PM
  • Reply Shiella A. (Balot)

    An introvert… 🙂 I’m thankful there are other people who shy away from too much arguments and debates other than me, this is comforting 🙂 And I also prefer being alone or having coffee with one or two friends than in a group.

    March 6, 2015 at 1:35 PM
  • Reply krisna

    Si Caleb pala yung nasa pic! Not Kelly. Sa’yo kasi ako naka-focus. 😀

    March 6, 2015 at 11:49 AM
  • Reply krisna

    Kim! I love your candid pic with Kelly. Nakakatuwa! 🙂 Nagulat ako nasingit yung pic natin. Hehehe! Anyway, ganyan din ako. I tend to snap very easily kay Yzia pero when I read the book, Kontento ka na ba sa pagpapalaki ng Anak mo? I was surprised na kaya ko pala magtimpi tuwing may issue ang bagets.. Pareho tayo, I prefer one on one coffee date with an amiga o kaya with M, mas relaxing di ba? IMY, muther! :-*

    March 6, 2015 at 11:48 AM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      The problem is, when you’re a highly sensitive person, mahirap magtimpi. Sinasabi kasi sa akin ni Arjay yan eh, drown out the noise. Pero for HSPs, we can’t just drown it out. May something talaga pag masyado nang noisy ang surroundings.

      Yes, I prefer going out in small groups (but one-on-one is always the best option for me). Ang sakit sa ulo pag madaming kasama tapos sabay sabay nagsasalita. 😀

      March 6, 2015 at 4:17 PM
  • Reply Lique Dimayuga

    I easily snap when my kids cry and whine too! And relate ako, I thought I was crazy too! haha.. kasi quiet person din ako. Kids are really a test of patience, but I love them to bits. Sometimes I tell my husband and he would oblige to take care of the kids for a while as I try to get my sanity in check, hehe. Thanks for sharing this.

    March 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • Reply Kit Kat

    Mommy, feeling ko, ako yung nagsusulat, parehong pareho ng traits.

    March 6, 2015 at 12:44 AM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Haha! Did you feel like you have psychological issues too? =))

      March 6, 2015 at 8:54 AM
  • Reply Maan

    I have my moments but I’m a generally extroverted person. On the contrary, parang I was reading a description of Yuri above. 10/10 din sya! Now I understand my son more.

    March 6, 2015 at 12:28 AM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Thank goodness nga I researched about the “symptoms” I am experiencing. I would have really thought I am crazy. 😀 Now that you know Yuri seems to be an HSP too, you’ll know how to handle him better. 🙂

      March 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • Reply sarah tirona

    i can relate so much to this,now it makes sense! 🙂

    March 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM
  • Reply J A E D A ' S T I A R A

    I feel that you are introvert, me too!

    March 5, 2015 at 10:45 AM
  • Reply Camille

    It made me smile to find that the little Princess is your spa day companion. I’m not as sensitive as you are to noise but I get overwhelmed when the kids throw tantrums at the same time. I get pissed so easily too, maybe because I’m not used to doing everything on my own. I agree with having an alone time. Back in the Philippines, it’s nail care and blog events. Now, it’s just sitting 5 minutes without being called. 5 freakin’ minutes! My mom always reminds me to enjoy these times, nagging and tantrum-throwing kids, good and bad times altogether. They’re gonna grow up soon and we’ll be spending most of our times in solitude by then. So yes to opening up to family too!

    That’s too much rambling already. haha. My point? I miss you. 😀

    March 5, 2015 at 1:01 AM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Diba? You’re not a highly sensitive person, but the kids’ tantrums and whines are annoying na- imagine how my brain feels! Haha! Recently, my alone time is just sitting 5 minutes without one or both kids asking for my attention. Arjay has been so busy with work and I’ve been very busy as well so matatahimik lang ako minsan sa isang araw. No wonder I’ve been complaining about a migraine for days!

      I miss you too, Camille! Kailan ba kayo babalik? (Balik agad eh) 😀 Take care!

      March 5, 2015 at 5:43 AM
  • Reply theflowerduet

    Hi Kim!

    I just want to ask something. I read in your older posts that you don’t own credit cards now, because you don’t want to be in debt. And I’m just curious, how are you getting paid by you clients? I’m starting to work from home now, and I’ve applied for a debit card.

    Thanks!

    March 4, 2015 at 5:33 PM
    • Reply Kimberley Reyes

      Hi there! My clients pay me through wire transfer or through PayPal then I withdraw the funds to my bank account- no credit card needed. 🙂 With PayPal, though, you need to verify your account with a credit card. I used the credit card my mom gave me before (it’s no longer active now) to do that, but I think there are banks like Unionbank who can verify your Paypal account for you if you have an account with them. Hope this helps!

      March 5, 2015 at 5:52 AM

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