Friday, April 16, 2010

The Best Parenting Book Ever

I first read about Motherstyles by Janet Penley on Laura's blog and made a note of it.

When I was ready to place my next order, I ordered it.

Well, it arrived about two weeks ago and I haven't stopped RAVING about it to everyone I meet. Everyone.

I'm so crazy I even managed to drag it into a meeting at work.

So now a colleague has also bought it and we quote bits at one another when we have a quiet moment :)


But seriously, this is The Best Parenting Book Ever.

It, together with Sister Lilian's parenting workshop, has set me free.

Whenever I buy a personality type book, I first flip to the summary to check myself out.


I'm a "How To" Mother!

(Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging)

Organized and comfortable being in charge, I know .how to. get things done, make things happen, and accomplish much on behalf of my children.

What's your mothering personality type? Take the MotherStyles quiz at!

Immediately, I identified not just with the strengths but more with the struggles (Don't you love that? She doesn't say weaknesses, but struggles.)

So, from the book...

I'm the "how-to" mother.

"We're the mothers you like to carpool with. Not only are we on time, we organize the driving schedule for everyone else"

  1. Organization and planning
  2. Teaching children practical skills for success
  3. Teaching children how to problem solve
  4. Social adeptness and people orientation

Right there already it explains why I'm not a newborn person and why I can't wait for real little people (who can reason!) - all of my 4 strengths would be great with older kids and the only one that is good now is organising and planning!

Now the struggles (I get a kick out of that every time - it's the small things in life)
  1. Sense of self
  2. Letting go
  3. Acceptance

I can write a blog post about each of those three things I have so much to say. But the major thing I want to say is this - it says I am frustrated when I can't make them eat their food or fall asleep on schedule.


There's a little box of tips for the ESTJ mother

  1. needs opportunities to feel competent separate from the job of mothering, e.g. paid and volunteer work, so that there are objective measures of her competence.
  2. needs a place where she can exercise her need for structure or a project that is "totally under control" - that's why I like some areas of the house to be totally organised and clean so that the kids' room and the lounge don't freak me out too much! And so on... I won't scare some of you with my need for control.

I'll write more about Motherstyles in the next couple of weeks but I wanted a start at the very least.

Do you know your Myers-Briggs type?

If not, here is a link to take the quiz - when you do, please let me know what your motherstyle is :)

P.S. Military Mama semi-cracked - I felt bad for the kids when they both woke as they'd had their measles vaccinations. Gave one milk bottle but then water all the way.


  1. Thanks for sharing may have to go on my "to read" list. I believe I am the same type of mother...can't even think about the newborn stage!!!

  2. Rebecca, absolutely - you have to read it! But in the meanwhile, tell me what you are :)

  3. Thanks for posting the little questionaire. I did it and found that I am The "responsiblity" mother. (ISTJ) What it had to say is very very true!

    1.Providing for her children's practical needs.
    2. Providing security (big on family roles and structure)
    3. Prepaering her children for life in the real world.

    1. Flexibility (so true! I have a hard time coping when things get unpredictable!)
    2. Being hard on herself
    3. Exhaustion

  4. Well you learned a valuable lesson today - that I am ALWAYS right. HA!

    I really hit my mothering stride in the late 2s and 3s. I deal much better with older kids who can communicate with me. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the other ages, but I have found it to be easier as they get older.

  5. I didn't expect this result - ESFJ – The "Happy Together" Mother. Some qusetions are geared more toward older kids so my answers might change in a year. Well, of course I expected the extrovert part. :)

  6. Hi, I've been reading here for quite sometime but never commented. I did the questionaire and enjoyed it. I am The 'Tuned In' Mother
    INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving).


    *Cultivating a one-on-one relationship with each child.
    *Interacting with her children.
    *"Tuning in" to feelings.
    *Building happy childhood memories.


    *Decision making.
    *Societal expectations.

    I think these qualities are true of me as a mother (not necessarily as a person or professional though) and I found the tips very good. So, thanks!

  7. Come on, rest of you, I want to hear your motherstyles :)

  8. Oh, I've got this book and I LOVE it!!!

    I'm borderline E / I (although getting more I every day, I think) then NTJ.

    IN fact, I just took the quiz again online and I'm INTJ... the 'individual integrity' mother... surprise, surprise! Thanks for reminding me about this book - I'm going to read it again!

  9. I'm also an ESTJ!! And let me agree with you that the first year was not the most fun. I thought things got good once they started walking. Now I just need to get them talking and we'll be in business!

    PS - found you through Mommy Esq. blog :)

  10. Being a psychology major, I am familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test. I took the mothering version, though, and although I already knew I am an INFJ, I was surprised how this translated to mothering.

    I am The "Know-Thyself" Mother.

    "Sensitive and family-focused, the INFJ mother looks for and encourages the unique potential of each child. In fact, she may value the mothering experience as a catalyst to her own personal growth and self-knowledge."

    Strengths: connecting one-on-one with a child, providing children emotional support, profundity, and creativity.

    Weaknesses: details, real life vs. the ideal, giving too much.

    I do think that I am detail-oriented and really organized, but when it comes to parenting, I'd rather let the laundry build up and spend time with my baby. I struggle to find the balance because I do feel pulled in all directions and want to give everything I have, which can make me feel overwhelmed. Josiah is my whole world, though. Being a mother is very much a part of my identity. And, I can recognize the individuality of my children. I may struggle if he wants to wear polka dots with plaid, but I think my joy of his creativity may overpower my sense of anal matching.

    Interesting perspective!

  11. So interesting! I look forward to reading the book. I'm a INFP mother and the thing that really hit home was the tip of needing time (unstructured). I find it so hard to get away unless I have a planned thing as an "excuse and always feel like what I want is just a bunch of hours to figure it out. Also interesting to me is that when I've taking the regular Myers-Briggs I'm a "J" instead of a "P"...hmmmmm

  12. I have enjoyed perusing your blog. I did click on the link to take the test. I came out to be ENFJ the "Heart to Heart" mother. My daughter is only just one so we will see how it evolves. I love finding a kindred spirit in a blog though it may be miles away and across a sea.


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