Monday, January 22, 2007

Executive Mother Perfectionist

Once upon a time, I took a personality test. Eight years ago. I was registered, then, as an Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking Perceiver...(ENTP per Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). That was far before my Mommin' Days & the many changes/challenges brought about by having children. In a recent Parents magazine (published since my daughter's birth, and lost in a large pile of "to-go-through" items until this week), I found a great little snippet on parenting styles. Here I am, as Parents Magazine describes me:

From "What Style of Mom Are You?"*
The independence mother (ENTP)
Energetic and self-assured, the ENTP mom encourages her children to be independent and confident. A big-picture person, she points out options and possibilities along the way, but wants them to learn the consequences of their own decisions. The ENTP is also action-oriented. She likes going places and doing things with her kids, exploring all life has to offer. She's less concerned with rules and routines, and more interested in challenging her kids with new activities.
Stay-sane tip: You need stimulation and variety. Paid or volunteer work is often a necessity for you, but if that's not possible, make plenty of social plans with friends.

Add to that a heavy dose of perfectionism and a lot of stress, little
restful sleep & recent impatience and I think I am falling more into this Executive Mother model now, replacing Perception wtih Judging:

The executive mother (ENTJ)
This mom organizes the needs and schedules of the whole family. Within her system, she provides her kids with direction and limits, but also gives them space to develop independence. A problem-solver, she listens to her kids' concerns and then strategizes with them about how to improve the situation — either by intervening on their behalf or letting them do it on their own.
Stay-sane tip: You need to realistically examine — and then reject — the myth of the Supermom. Accept your vulnerabilities, and you'll enjoy parenting more.

Right. I'm not ENJOYING parenting much right now. My daily exercise is a non-stop bend at the waist, as I trek around behind my two active children like a push toy that gobbles up shapes on the floor. I feel like everyone has to be kept in line--cleaned up & dressed up & doing something productive. And when we aren't I feel overwhelmed by the gap. The gap is wipening so significantly that I think it will soon engulf me. Is that Depression?

I love the idea of variety in our day-to-day life, but also lack the creative capabilities I once knew as a nanny. Mommin' takes a different energy all together because it is a daily consistency that can weigh me down. Wash dishes. Put clean dishes away. Do it again in 5 hours. Vacuum. Put dirty clothes in wash, then into dryer, then into hamper & fold. Do it again in 5 days. Wipe down counters, wipe down the dining room table, wipe down the children's sticky chairs. Provide nurturing. Provide comfort. Provide snacks (do it again in 5 minutes!). Then, of course, once I'm already wiped out...Be available for my dear husband at the end of the day.

There was a recent magazine survey in which they asked moms to try to write a job description for their homemaker role. I wrote this (but didn't win the contest):

CCO/CFO/Executive Administrative Assistant/Event Planner/Household Manager.

Creative leader/mentor must joyfully coordinate all aspects of domestic housekeeping, including sterile waste disposal. Demonstrate exceptional skills in negotiation, communication and compassion; work gracefully under pressure; multitask with ease; be available to respond calmly to all emergencies 24/7/365. Capitalize on teachable moments. Report on weekly expenses & savings; cut costs wherever possible. Create diversionary tactics in areas of discipline. Peace-loving demeanor required in face time with medical professionals et al. Report to God, Society, scrupulous peer, elder and strangers’ review. Foreign language study helpful. No degree required. Volunteer position paid in priceless charitable rewards. Driver’s licence required. Scrapbooking recommended.

Brush teese, wash face an hanns, wipe bobbum, give baffs, tiss boo-boos, huck arms

Dream, hope, plan, create, develop, study, labor, deliver, capture, lift, present, hold, nourish, nurture, thank, praise, serve, watch, listen, respect, touch, pray, guide, balance, bounce, discern, lead, correct, provide, cleanse, care, dry, maintain, limit, help, allow, test, negotiate, resolve, relax, breathe, demonstrate, escort, attend, support, respond, read, laugh, explore, protect, rescue, coordinate, cultivate, save, reflect, cry, record, report, share, accept, release, be, remain.

Is it any wonder I sometimes need a VACATION? But this "job" doesn't come with vacation least, not without the kids.

How I LOVE my two precious & most beautiful miracles. But, boy, do I need a breather.

Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

New International Version, The Bible

*Parents Magazine
(Excerpted from MotherStyles: Using Personality Types to Learn to Parent From Your Strengths, by Janet Penley with Diane Eble (May, Da Capo Press).)


Jen S. said...

As moms I think we need to cut ourselves some slack sometimes. The good news: Your creativity with your kids is awesome, and it has often inspired me. The bad news: Trying to be "Super-cool-creative-mom" all the time will DRIVE YOU INSANE! Oh ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it's exhausting at the very least. Since we are at home all the time and we can't clock in and clock out, we need to carve out little moments of rest for ourselves, and if that means that I give Luke spaghetti-os for dinner once in a while instead of making the perfect meal from scratch, well then so be it. We've got to give up the guilt! I know I have often felt like I have to "be productive" all the time so my working mom friends don't think I just sit around watching soap operas all day. But ya know, most of them probably don't think that anyway, and if they do, too bad! But my point is, I think it's ok if we occasionally take some time to do something completely unproductive! And maybe it's ok to let our kids sometimes do unproductive things as well, if it means a little break for us. I'm not advocating plopping our kids in front of the tv for hours at a time, but if he'll watch Sesame Street or play a computer game for a half hour so I can unwind and take a breather, that's cool with me! (Everything in moderation, of course!)

And I agree with that assessment that we should let go of the myth and accept our vulnerabilities. I've made peace with the fact that I will never, ever be a successful scrapbooker! I think it's a great hobby, but I know myself, and I know that if I bought all the stuff, it would sit in a corner collecting dust, making me feel guilty for not following through with it! So I just say NO to scrapbooking! :) We can't do every craft, make every recipe, read every parenting book. We just do the best we can, and know God (and our kids) still love us just the same.
Wow, how's THAT for a long-winded comment?? :)

ModMomMuse said...

Long-winded is good, Jen. I agree. I'm discovering MORE of my weaknesses as a mom & many of them are Let It Go topics. Like, Let Go of perfectionism--it's unattainable. Let go of neurotic creativity--the kids are doing great. I'm not a Soccer Mom, driving my children to 18 events in a week or anything, but there is another drive in me that doesn't want to mess it all up! If we keep a marriage together & give the children love every day then we will give them more that so many children ever see. If we laugh together & worship together & climb mountains together, play games together & enjoy each other we'll also enjoy mutual respect.

I just feel so confused about this drastic adjustment in Logan's personality--from Angel (ha ha) to, well, NOT angel! LOL.