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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mothering Style

While playing around on the Internet a week or so back, I stumbled on a website about mothering styles that caught my interest. I took this test to see what a quiz like that would have to say about me and my mothering style. Here are the results:

Your type is: infp —The “Tuned In” Mother

“Inside our children, I believe, is a truth that tells them what’s best for them. I am always listening for that truth.”

Aware, astute, and understanding, the INFP mother is sensitive to her child’s needs, feelings, and perceptions. By observing and listening to the cues of the whole child, she is “tuned in” and naturally develops an intuitive feel for what he or she needs. Responsive and helpful as well, she tends patiently to those needs as they arise.
The INFP mother is comfortable letting her children follow their own course of development and make their own choices. She offers encouragement and uses her insights to head off trouble and difficult issues.
The INFP mother takes vicarious pleasure giving her children good experiences and watching them enjoy childhood. She’s happiest creating pleasant, memorable times for the whole family.

Reading this description of me as a mother surprised me with how utterly it rang true. I have often felt different from other mom's, and have faced some annoying comments, and bits of advice from well meaning family members. When Sugar Bear was an infant, I found myself breaking through tradition, and forging my own path through this journey called parenting. The things that felt natural to me and Sugar Bear, were foreign and peculiar to those around me. We co-slept, breastfed on demand, and enjoyed being close at all times, so I often wore Sugar in a sling of some type. I can not express how often I heard that I was "spoiling" her, as if she was a melon gathering fruit flies. I was warned that I would NEVER get her out of my bed, and that she would be a whiny "mama's girl". I didn't listen...with the exception of my heart and Sugar Bear's signals.

As Sugar has aged, my discipline is gentle. I re-direct, and offer choices. I encourage her to try new things, and give her a big helping of encouragement each day. I honor her feelings, while teaching her to respect the feelings of others. I honor her opinion, while teaching her to respect the opinions of others. I follow her lead, yet teach her about safety. I hear her voice while teaching her to listen. It is my job to help her be successful. She needs loving guidance.

The above description of a "tuned in" mother melted my heart, as I often remind myself to slow down and listen to my girl. What is she needing? What underlying emotion is making her act this way? How can I help her be successful in this situation? How can I say "yes" instead of "no"? How would I feel if this were happening to me? What would I want? Would Sugar Bear want the same? If I just listen hard enough...I will hear what is right for us.

It works for us. Sugar Bear is generally successful. She is adventurous, and kind hearted. She is courageous, yet cautious. She is delightful, yet not afraid to tell me when she is upset. I love that we feel like a team. A team on the same side working towards a common goal....her success. It certainly works for us.

What I loved about this website, was how it honors all the different mothering styles, and encourages mothers to except their style, and know that it is working for them. There is no one right way to mother.....there is just one right way for you to be a mother. It is a blessed thing....being a mother. Life is Good!

Care to share what your mothering style is? I'd love to hear about it! Let's celebrate our differences and similarities!

10 Live It or Love It:

Boricua in Texas said...

This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Corey! Here is what I am:

Your type is: intp —The “Love of Learning” Mother

“I keep the encyclopedia in the kitchen so we can look up things together while we eat.”

Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.
The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.
Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.
Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.

Autumn said...

Well, much to my surprise I am the same as you.
Your type is: infp —The “Tuned In” Mother
I think the difference between us is that I try to be this way all the time but don't always succeed. That is why I was surprised that I got the same result!
I see you living it and succeeding with Sugar Bear. That is why I love reading your blog, it helps me to see a mother excel at things that I often struggle with.
Thanks for the link it was very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hm. I am the "Responsibility Mother" who likes to make lists and be practical. Yup!

Lori said...

No surprise, here's me:

Your type is: entj —The “Executive” Mother

“My mind is always going. How can I fine-tune the system to everyone’s advantage?”

Competent and confident in a management role, the ENTJ mother organizes the needs and schedules of family members into a workable family system. Within the system, she provides her children with care-taking, direction, and limits, but she also gives them space to develop their own self-sufficiency and judgment.
Analytical and adept at problem-solving, the ENTJ mother listens to her children’s concerns empathetically and then strategizes with them how to improve the situation—either by intervening on their behalf or backing off to let them solve problems on their own. She particularly enjoys watching them take responsibility and accomplish something they find important on their own.
Intense and insightful, the ENTJ mother is cued in to her children’s intellectual and emotional development. She uses her quickness and communication skills to talk things through and help her children connect with people and better understand life.

**I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I have four kids. If I just had one or two I think my style would be very different.

Maude Lynn said...

Well, I'm the Tender Loving Care Mother!

* Gentle and kind, the ISFJ mother provides her children with generous amounts of tenderness, affection, and the comfort of daily routine. Her aim is to “be there” for her children, physically and emotionally. She is sensitive to their feelings, offering closeness, understanding, and quiet support.
* Loyal and devoted, the ISFJ mother has a strong sense of duty and consistently puts her children’s needs first. She delights in taking care of the little things that matter to a child, making each one feel loved and special.
* To provide her family with security and warmth, the ISFJ mother tends to the practical and domestic, aiming for a smooth-running household and an attractive home. She also observes and conveys the value and importance of family traditions.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I'm the ENFP - The “Kids R Fun” Mother

(Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving)

“Whatever I enjoy—playing tag or singing in the car—I can do it with kids around. And it’s totally legitimate!”

* Playful and energetic, the ENFP mother finds her children to be good company and enjoys being with them. In fact, she says being with children justifies her own “being a kid again.” And children say she’s fun to be with — spontaneous, hearty, and imaginative.
* Naturally drawn to introducing her children to the joys of life, the ENFP is something of a free spirit. She is less concerned with rules, routines, and schedules, and more inclined to give her children plenty of free time to play, explore on their own or with her, and have fun together.
* Tuned in to her children, the ENFP mother enthusiastically encourages each one’s individuality and unique potential through a great variety of experiences. She is also quick to identify with others’ feelings and thoughts, making her an empathetic supporter of her children, not to mention her mate and many, many friends.

I think that kind of sounds like me??

Fun test Corey.

Donetta said...

Like Ingred above I am the
isfj —The “Tender Loving Care” Mother.
I like that this celebrates the difference. Women so often abase themselves through comparing. We all shine in our own true beauty and Glory.

Anonymous said...

If it works for dads, I came out as ENFJ, the "Heart-to-heart" one.

ENFJ - The “Heart-to-Heart” Mother
(Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging)

“We have so many good talks, I think I understand my children better than they understand themselves.”

Expressive and warm, the ENFJ mother is adept at talking about personal concerns, both her children’s and her own. She is likely to initiate heart-to-heart talks frequently and provide her children with an open forum for articulating their feelings and perspectives.
Tuned in to each child as a unique person, the ENFJ mother nurtures her children through affirmation, praise, and encouragement. She takes great pleasure when they reciprocate, offering admiration and encouragement of her, a sibling, or a friend.
Organized and energetic, the ENFJ mother is a competent, efficient family manager. She is involved in her children’s lives, providing structure, direction, and guidance.
The ENFJ mother is also socially adept, relating well to people wherever she goes. She strives to keep her children connected to family, neighborhood, and the larger community.

Neat perspective. Thanks Corey!

kouredios said...

I figure it's just a straight Meyers-Briggs test, right? If so, I'm an INFP too, no surprise I'm sure. :)

Anonymous said...

No suprise to me, I'm a "tuned-in" mother too. :) Like you I did the co-sleeping, nursing on demand, wear my baby close style. And we loved it.

Fun quiz, thanks for sharing it!

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