Saturday, November 23, 2013

Book Notes: MotherStyles

"Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths"
by Janet P. Penley with Dianne Eble

"Mothering calls upon such a vast and conflicting set of skills that everyone will struggle with parts of it." (p.40)

I would just like to say how liberating this book is for every mother. "...perhaps the most important factor in choosing Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type theory as the basis for my work with mothers was how positive and affirming it is. It is one of the few psychological assessments developed for use with healthy, normal people. It isn't designed to measure pathology, and all personality types are considered equally valuable." (xvi)

This book is soooooo illuminating (extra o's for emphasis). When I was folding down every page corner, I basically just decided that I needed my own copy. I had so many AHA! moments as I looked at my family of origin, my husband's family, and our core family. If you've never dived into type talk (or here) and you are a mom, this book is 100% the best place to start. Or if you're just having one of those days where you wonder if you're doing anything right, this book will give you a great pick-me-up.

Favorite Quotes:

"I've gone from comparing myself in a defensive way with other mothers, to using them as role models for how to incorporate their gifts into my own style. I've always felt that the best thing about psychological type is that it makes human goodness easier to understand, which makes it easier to imitate."

"In a sense, a child with different type preference represents the undeveloped or untrustworthy parts of our selves. Because their way wouldn't work for us, we think it isn't likely to work for them either." (Love this!!!)

"The stronger you are in your own self-valuing and self-acceptance, ...the less you feel that someone being different is a negation of you..."

"Limitations are... not necessarily flaws." (p. 53)

"At the tip of the pyramid is mindfulness of the whole family's dynamics: family culture, strengths and blind spots, differing needs for togetherness/autonomy, odd man out/special affinities, and cooperative parenting." (Penley's Parenting Pyramid - top Whole Family Dynamics, middle Person-to-Person Connection with Each Child, bottom - Parents' Self-Knowledge)

"My mother told me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso."

"Ultimately, you want to be Judging enough to keep your children safe and Perceiving enough to be open to who your children are. And, I believe, knowing when to take control and when to let go is the cutting edge of maturity and wisdom."

Type Talk:

I am an INFP with close kinship to the INTP and ISFP types. (How do I know I share ISFP tendencies, because the author actually recommends that this type hire a housekeeper, yes!) I'm very intuitive (N), but have learned some complementary behaviors from my strongly sensing (S) mother. My Introvert tendencies are very strong, along with my Perceiving, but my Sensing/Intuitive and Feeling/Thinking are much closer to the middle.

My husband is an ENTJ. I thought we were complete opposites, but finding out that we both are intuitive helped me focus on our common ground. Our living preferences, IP vs EJ explain why we enjoyed dating more than living together. Allowing each of us to have our personal space in the house has been helpful with this. Our personality cores are similar as we are both flexible with our F/T, so as a couple we tend to be NT. We get along very well, we just struggle to live in the same space.

Struggles of the Perceiving Mother (p. 87)
      * Keeping your household organized and in order; doing chores on a regular basis.
     * Keeping yourself and your children on task and on time.
     * Not leaving things until the last minute or letting things go too far.
     * Not taking on way too much.

This sums up well why I often feel like a failure as a mom. "Our societal standard for productivity is tangible outcomes, not pleasure in the process, so the Perceiving mother may feel out of step at times." When I tell myself that I should be a better mom, what I mean is a more organized one.

"Finding meaning is very important for Intuitive types." (p. 52) This explains why I struggle to do things if I cannot see the point or find a deeper meaning. For motivation, I tell myself that cleaning is a way of blessing my family.

Intuitive moms over- and underestimate how long things are going to take. We try to fit too much in, or avoid something because it seems like too much. This is so me. I feel like making pizza will take forever so I don't do it (actually 20 min) but I'll check out 20 books from the library thinking I'll have time  read all of them.

Advice for Intuitive moms - focus on moderate refinements vs. sweeping improvements (hard to sustain). Do a little rather than nothing. This is definitely an area of weakness for me, sustaining change.

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