Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Read. This. Book.

MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths by Janet Penley

If we're being really honest, and I try my very best to be, we all have secret shames about ourselves as mothers - things that make us feel inadequate and guilty. Likewise, we all have things that we feel we're great at, and doing those things makes us feel on top of our game.

You've probably taken the Meyers-Brigg Assessment at some point. It's the one that gives you the result with the four letters (E or I, N or S, T or F, and J or P). All in all, there are sixteen personality types, and knowing which one yours is can help you capitalize on your parenting strengths and make peace with, even develop strategies to bridge your weaknesses.

What do I mean? I'm an INFJ. This means I'm Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. What I perceive to be one of my greatest strengths as a parent is my drive to seek out information, to find the "best" way to do things, to have a vision of where we're going. This is thanks to my Intuitiveness. Then again, my flakiness? That's also part of being Intuitive. Another (confessional) example? My great shame as a mother is a function of my Introvertedness. I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to always be "on" for my little guys. Being the excited, bouncy, big-smiling playtime mom of young children is exhausting for me, and I'm envious of moms who seem to have endless energy for toddler play. But my Introvertedness also lends itself to the relaxed, comfortable demeanor I will admit to getting compliments on. As much as I feel guilty about not being the other kind of mother, I know that my serene presence will be a gift to my children in other ways. MotherStyles wisely suggests strategies to bridge my shortcomings. For example, Penley suggests enrolling in Mommy and Me-type classes both to provide my babies with a type of stimulation I'm not gifted at providing and to give myself a break.

I promise that if you read this book through, you'll be rewarded with numerous "Aha!" moments, and you'll probably also be more understanding of your spouse/partner after you learn more about why he/she does the things he/she does. Maybe best of all, you'll be a little more kind to yourself when you're evaluating the job you're doing as a mommy.

Bottom line: Yes, this is a parenting book that's about the parent. But taking a realistic appraisal of who you are and what you bring to the table of motherhood is well worth the time.
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  1. After reading your review and then looking up the book on amazon i'm going to have to buy it and read it!! I have that issue with the introverted thing!! Question: do you think you feel the book could be read by men to get a better perspective on being a dad??

  2. I added it to my Amazon wish list and hopefully when I get a chance to read again I'll be able to read this =)

  3. Absolutely, yes, dads can benefit from this book as well. I think there's even a short section where the author mentions that.

  4. I had to come back and post a follow up... i am about half way through the book now and its GREAT! it really helped me understand myself and my parenting style, but my husband told me his and all of a sudden stuff HE does makes so much more sense to me!! Turns out our core type is different!

  5. Thanks for updating! Isn't it amazing?! So glad you're enjoying it.


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