My youngest loves to play with dolls. She hugs them and kisses them and rocks them and takes them for walks. I continually tell her, “You are such a good mama.”
My oldest might occasionally grab a doll…dragging it by its arm or hair or whatever appendage is available. She throws it high into the air and takes it out in the rain and leaves it in the mud.
I do not tell Eden, “You are such a good mama.” I just shake my head and think. Hmph. The apple sure didn’t fall far from the tree there.
When I discovered that I was pregnant (wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles), I had only one friend give it to me straight…and I ADORE her for it…for knowing me…and knowing that I could do this mothering thing in my own unique way. She simply said, “Oh brother. This kid better be tough.”
And…she is…praise Jesus.
So recently I read a book on mothering…best book I’ve ever read…MotherStyles by Janet P. Penley. (Thank you, Melissa Drouegemueller for the suggestion.)
Basically, it breaks down your unique mothering style based on the Myers-Briggs personality type thingy. Love, love, love. My husband tells me I like a good label…and it’s true. If I can give something a name…a category…it brings me utter joy. (That would be the judging part of my personality.)
Anyhoo, not only has MotherStyles helped me feel confident in who I am…in what I bring to the mothering table…it has unearthed a feeling of peace and appreciation for other mothers…you know…the ones I compare myself to…the ones I use as my yardstick to determine whether or not I am doing it right. Now, when I see other another mom “doing it differently,” I don’t freak out…thinking that either I am doing something wrong…or that she is! I can simply swim in that sea of peace as I appreciate a different mothering style at work.
And Eden? I vow to start telling her, “You are such a good mama.” Cause you know what? She is gonna be a good mama. She’s got a lot to bring to the mothering table. Her offering will be a bit unconventional…but boy, will she rock the mothering thing…albeit, a bit messily…with lots of giggles, bumps, adventure, and discovery.
So…if you are a mom…run, do not walk, to get your hands on a copy of MotherStyles and be encouraged!
Oh, and if you too like a little labeling action, here is a brief listing and description of the 16 distinct mother approaches…compliments of Myers-Briggs:
- ISTJ = The “Responsibility” Mother
- ESTP – The “Action Adventure” Mother
- ISTP – The “Give “Em Their Space” Mother
- ESTJ – The “How To” Mother
- ISFJ – The “Tender Loving Care” Mother
- ESFP – The “Totally There” Mother
- ISFP – The “Giving” Mother
- ESFJ – The “Happy Together” Mother
- INFJ – The “Know Thyself” Mother
- ENFP – The “Kids R Fun” Mother
- INFP – The “Tuned In” Mother
- ENFJ – The “Heart-to-Heart” Mother
- INTJ – The “Individual Integrity” Mother
- ENTP – The “Independence” Mother
- INTP – The “Love of Learning” Mother
- ENTJ – The “Executive” Mother