What kind of mom are you? If you’d asked me a few months ago, I probably would have said something like, “Uh…I’m a good mom.” I had never given a second thought to what my “Mom Personality” might be. I was just trying to be what most women try to be: Perfect Mom.
Parenting is unarguably one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world, and yet so many of us are thrust into the leadership role of mother with little to no training. We don’t realize how our personality influences who we are as mothers or how to use that to our advantage. As I reflected on the parallels between my job as a leader in the United States Air Force and my role as a mother, I realized how ill-prepared I was for parenting. I have attended my fair share of leadership courses and mentoring sessions during my 15 years as an active duty member, but I never expected all this training to influence me so profoundly, particularly in my role as a mother.
During one course in particular, we students took a personality quiz called the “Four Lenses.” According to our answers, we were given a color (Orange, Green, Gold, or Blue) and a corresponding personality description. Prior to that lesson, my idea of leadership was simple and had little to do with personality but merely mirrored my misguided albeit well-meaning mindset toward parenting: strive to be the quintessential “perfect leader.” In my mind, the perfect leader—or mother—could reach anyone and developed a particular “style” from which she would never deviate. After the Four Lenses lesson, I learned that not only are there different leadership styles, but many times people (and my children!) need me to adapt my style to meet their needs.
But how? How could I adapt my “style,” when I didn’t even know what style I was using? Suddenly, I had an “a-ha!” moment: I no longer had to try to be a perfect leader or a perfect mother; I just had to know my personality and know my audience. Whoa! Why had I never thought of that before? Just like leaders, moms can also base their parenting style on what kind of “leader” their children need in the moment. Whether or not you made a New Year’s resolution to be a “better mom” or improve your parenting skills, the first step, just like in my leadership course, is to know yourself and the people you’re leading (in our case, our children and what they need from us.)
So, I broke it down into four basic Mom Personality types: Fun Mom, Nurturing Mom, Organized Mom, and Smart Mom. (Take my Buzzfeed quiz to find out what kind of mom you are!) I lean toward being “Fun Mom.” In my natural state, I’m spontaneous and look for excitement. And, as challenging as it may be for me, my kids rarely need me to be Fun Mom; they usually need me to be “Organized Mom.” It’s not my instinct to be Organized Mom, but my children thrive on structure and routine. Being spontaneous and always on the go stresses them out; their ideas of fun are much different than mine. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to “Organized Mom,” but I can learn things from her, just as she can learn valuable lessons from me, “Fun Mom.”
Sometimes we have to tap into different mom personalities depending on what our children need. The idea is to balance your Mom Personalities, which is so liberating and much more manageable than trying to be perfect. Instead of striving to be Perfect Mom, just put on a different hat. You still may be most comfortable in, say, a baseball cap or a fedora (e.g., whatever your quiz result was), but that doesn’t mean you have to wear it all the time. You can switch hats. You can change your hat depending on the weather!
Here are descriptions of each Mom Personality and some posts from fellow Alamo City Moms Blog contributors to help you tap into yours:
What I learned from Fun Mom: I appreciate Fun Mom’s ability to enjoy life and not stress too much. Like I mentioned before, it’s easy for me to naturally fall into the role of fun, laid-back mom, but it’s rarely what my children need. That said, I think it’s important to have Fun Mom around to lighten the mood.
When I use Fun Mom: The men in my house can be a serious bunch, so I bust out Fun Mom during morning routine. Things get hectic when we’re all rushing to get out of the house, so that’s the perfect time to take a breather and remember that I am setting the tone for my family’s day (and my own). I also think it’s important to tap into Fun Mom during big events like birthday parties, recitals, plays, and family pictures. Enjoying yourself puts others at ease. It’s easy to let nerves take over, but being Fun Mom lets me enjoy those moments that can be stressful if I let them.
Relax—and find your Fun Mom side:
Heather takes the guesswork out of finding fun local events.
Take Ashley’s hilarious advice and let your children decorate their own rooms.
Dawn shows us how to embrace our children’s obsessions.
Christin gives tangible steps to learn to play with our children.
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Check out Elizabeth’s witty take on lowered expectations.
Candice helps us find joy in the everyday.
Let go! Borrow some of Jill’s confidence this summer.
Exhale and find out how yoga is like motherhood, according to Michelle.
What I learned from Nurturing Mom: This mom values her relationships with her spouse, children, family, and friends and makes an effort to maintain them. She encourages the emotional and social development of her children and realizes parenting isn’t always by the book. It’s easy for me to lose touch with Nurturing Mom when Tired Mom takes over; I have to make sure I haven’t forgotten to nurture myself. When I don’t feel naturally nurturing, I make nurturing habits. They feel rote at first, but making a point to smile and tell each family member “good morning,” to say “yes” to my sons’ invitations to play, and to let my kids know that my “hug tanks are low” are all surefire ways to initiate nurturing opportunities.
When I use Nurturing Mom: To me, Nurturing Mom knows when something is up. I make sure I bring her to all potential conflicts, when I need to have my child’s best interests at heart. Doctor’s appointments, IEP meetings, and parent/teacher conferences are all times when I need my sixth sense. It can be easy to side with “the experts,” but I’ve learned that I am the expert when it comes to knowing my child. Nurturing Mom also shows up during my kids’ meltdowns by whispering, “Maybe he just needs a hug…” Her voice can be quiet, but it’s important for me to listen.
Nurture your Nurturing Mom abilities:
Check out Denise’s expert Attachment Parenting advice for all moms.
Brooke reminds us to nurture our intimate relationships.
Help your kids work through stress with Lindsay’s oatmeal aggression cookies.
Amy shares first hand how to react when our kids aren’t interested in arts & crafts.
Learn how to appreciate all the seasons of parenting with Jessica’s post about seasons of love.
Denise guides us with her experience in helping kids who learn differently.
What I learned from Organized Mom: Early in my marriage, my husband called me “Hurricane Amy,” complete with windy sound effects. He’s a neat freak and would get frustrated by my nonchalant approach to housekeeping. (And no, he didn’t expect me to do it all.) I used to argue that he made messes too! And creative people are messy! And hey! We live here! Then I secretly started scanning rooms one by one and realized that I did tend to leave a trail behind me. I had strewn clothes on the bed, a coffee mug on the end table, my makeup bag on the bathroom sink, and shoes in every room, among other things. I recognized Organized Mom was not my strong suit, and I borrowed three habits from successful and organized women I know: (1) use a planner; (2) keep a to-do list; and (3) set deadlines for myself.
When I use Organized Mom: Everything I do in my life that remotely resembles Organized Mom did not come naturally for me and has been learned. I have found ways to succeed in my military career by setting goals, writing them down, and crossing off tasks when they’re completed. They were so helpful to me professionally that I incorporated them into my personal life. I love using a tangible planner (not on a smart phone) so I can see the entire month’s events and appointments at once. I have eliminated the use of pockets (90% of the time) and have given all my important items “homes” to reduce my misplacing them. These simple changes have made parenting a lot smoother and help me get things done!
Tap into your Organized Mom side:
Taylor’s survived a Disney Trip and has the tips to prove it!
Prepare the family for a smooth move with Celina’s ten tips.
Bridget dishes on the daunting task of Lego Organization.
Kelly demystifies HEB digital coupons (that I still haven’t figured out!).
Marisa shares tips on how to juggle breastfeeding and a career.
What I learned from Smart Mom: Never stop learning and question everything! With parenting books, magazines, grandparents, and friends giving conflicting information and opinions, it’s Smart Mom’s job to process all the information, analyze it, and make her own choices. I used to hear or read parenting advice and take it as gospel. In order to make a smart decision, I needed to expose myself to opposing opinions and ask questions.
When I use Smart Mom: It is critical for me to use Smart Mom carefully. I can get overwhelmed with information, which makes decision-making even more challenging. Like Nurturing Mom, I lean on Smart Mom when making important decisions for my children. I research things like recommended medications, occupational therapy plans, trendy products, educational toys and activities, and discipline approaches. I trust the experts, but never blindly; I make informed decisions. I started using Smart Mom before my children were even born. I took control of my healthcare while pregnant, learning common medical interventions and risks during childbirth. Smart Mom allows me to ask questions, start conversations, and be an active participant in my child’s health, education, and overall well-being.
Open up your thought-provoking Smart Mom side:
Consider your kids’ digital footprint with help from Bridget.
Celina explains how engendered toys and clothes make an impact on our kids.
Get advice on when to keep sick ones home from Dawn.
Check out Erin’s research on the viral “Like a Girl” ads.
Learn how to cover sex talk with your kids with help from Maggie.
Delve into the controversy of circumcision with Katy.
It’s important to remember: there is no one perfect Mom Personality type! All four types have their merits, and we all have a little of each mom in all of us. At the end of the day, don’t forget to simply take care of plain ol’ Tired Mom!
How has your personality impacted your approach to parenting?