Are you a “happy together” mother or an “action adventure” mother or, like me, a “love of learning” mother? I came across The M.O.M.S Handbook (MOMS = mothers of many styles) twenty years ago when my children were aged 9 and 7. Based on the MBTI, its core message is that there is no one best way to be a mother, trust your own style and don’t compare yourself with other mothers. And, importantly, remember to look after your own needs as well as your children’s.
People need different amounts of interaction with other people. Some of us naturally focus our energy on the outer world and are more extraverted, while others focus our energy on our inner world of thoughts and feelings and are more introverted. Nobody is wholly one or the other – if they were they would be a 24/7 party animal or a hermit. But the balance between the two is different for each of us. Knowing where your balance lies means you can take care of your needs for interaction or time alone.
A more extraverted mother probably enjoys lots of interaction with other people and may find it difficult to be alone with a baby all week. It’s not selfish to acknowledge this, and do some things that will energise you, such as meeting friends, having a night out, or joining a group. A more introverted mother might find it difficult to be constantly in the company of noisy and demanding toddlers and other mothers. It’s ok to take some time away from them to recharge your energy levels. Looking after yourself in these ways gives you the energy to look after your children.
Parents often worry when their child is different from them. A more extraverted mother with a more introverted child may worry when their child doesn’t want to do after-school activities but prefers to play quietly at home. A more introverted mother with a more extraverted child may worry that their child is hyperactive or over-talkative. In practice, most children are absolutely fine and not worrying that they are different from each other and from you is probably the best approach.
Happy Mother’s Day!
The M.O.M.S. Handbook, (1998), Janet P. Penley and Diane W, Stephens