I'm not your ideal Mom.

12:29 PM


Has everyone heard about Meyer's Briggs?

   I have an almost unhealthy obsession with it, consulting the descriptive lists on different personality traits,  asking family and friends what they are, and then consulting lists again to try and make some sense out of people and our many different quirks and craziness.

   In general, it has been really helpful.  Shedding light on all of my strange idiosyncrises and helping me wrap my mind around just a little bit better of what makes me, me.  But lately, it hasn't been quite so helpful, and it's almost been more harmful.  Causing me to feel discouragement and despair, and even more susceptible to comparing myself to others than before, and that's saying something.

   You see, I'm an ENFP.  And for the first 3 decades of my life, I would say that has served me very well.  As the descriptions reads:

ENFPs are a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic and compassionate, the 7% of the population that they comprise can certainly be felt in any crowd.
ENFPs are imaginative and open-minded, seeing all things as part of a big, mysterious puzzle called life.
As they observe, forming new connections and ideas, ENFPs won't hold their tongues – they're excited about their findings, and share them with anyone who'll listen. 
All this adaptability and spontaneity comes together to form a person who is approachable, interesting and exciting, with a cooperative and altruistic spirit and friendly, empathetic disposition. ENFPs get along with pretty much everyone, and their circles of friends stretch far and wide.

   As you can see, the above traits would well suit a teenage/twenty-something single socialite who is always up for a new adventure and truly sees the entire world as a glowing beacon of opportunity.  However, some of the weaknesses of the ENFP are:

When it comes to conceiving ideas and starting projects, especially involving other people, ENFPs have exceptional talent. Unfortunately their skill with upkeep, administration, and follow-through on those projects struggles. Without more hands-on people to help push day-to-day things along, ENFPs' ideas are likely to remain just that – ideas.
It's hard for ENFPs to maintain interest as tasks drift towards routine, administrative matters, and away from broader concepts.
All this overthinking isn't just for their own benefit – ENFPs, especially Turbulent ones, are very sensitive, and care deeply about others' feelings. A consequence of their popularity is that others often look to them for guidance and help, which takes time, and it's easy to see why ENFPs sometimes get overwhelmed, especially when they can't say yes to every request.
While emotional expression is healthy and natural, with ENFPs even viewing it as a core part of their identity, it can come out strongly enough to cause problems for this personality type. Particularly when under stress, criticism or conflict, ENFPs can experience emotional bursts that are counter-productive at best.

  So basically that same ENFP that was thriving at 21 and found herself in a state of near-constant euphoria at the very excitement every new year held, now finds herself at age 30 in the trenches of parenting, and that's when it all starts to get a little tricky.  ENFPs are easily distracted, find it difficult to focus on the task at hand, drained by mundane and routine tasks, get overwhelmed and are highly emotional, particularly under stress.  Hmmm, sound like an ideal parent to you?

  And this is where I really get tripped up.  There are other personality types, that are nearly the opposite of the ENFP. They aren't thrill-seeking and they shy away from the spotlight, but it doesn't matter, because their true joy and fulfillment is found in the home.  All they want is to nurture and care for their family.  Mundane tasks take on a high and holy calling to them, because to them, it IS a high calling.  It contributes to the emotional well-being of their family, and that is their highest aspiration.  And so within the parameters of motherhood, they shine their brightest.

   ENFPs, on the other hand, are best suited as actors or journalists or dancers or interior designers, or basically anything that allows them to follow inspiration, experience personal growth, and leaves plenty of room for artistic expression.  So basically, it feels like some personality types are DESIGNED for motherhood.  Completely customized to create the optimal, practically-perfect-in-every-way Mom.

And I'm not one of them.

   To be honest, sometimes it feels like I am set up for failure a little bit.  Don't get me wrong, God doesn't make mistakes, and I truly am grateful for the gifts and characteristics He has given me, but sometimes it feels like they don't apply very much to where I am in life.  They might come in super handy if I was an actress or a musician or a world-traveling anthropologist, but I'm not.  And so the challenge is to recognize how my weaknesses might actually be working against me in motherhood, and turn them around.  Or at least capitalize on my strengths a little more and give myself grace for the rest.  Because the fact remains, we just aren't all made the same.

   Motherhood gets shoved into a giant one-size-fits-all box with everyone having a sort of mental image of the ideal mother, and that's the problem right there....one size will never fit all.  Motherhood shouldn't look the same for everyone because everyone is different.  And we need to recognize that first within our own parenting, and then give everyone else around us that grace too.

   Oh and if you're curious now about what you might be, take the test over here and then tell me what you are.  And even if you don't like what you are, try not to freak out.  Learn from it!  Take some tips.

That's what I'm trying to do.

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