Friday, September 24, 2010

Motherstyles - are you a P or a J?

I am a serious slacker.

I've had this post on my "to blog" list for 3 months now and I just don't get around to it but I've decided I can't go into October with this still on my list.

So here goes:

For me, P vs J is actually the easiest part of the Myers-Briggs style to spot in people.

I wonder if it's the same for you?

P means perceiving and J means judging - I don't know why they use those words because I don't get the correlation.

In a nutshell, the P is about options, possibility, spontaneity, flexibility, not closing doors while the J is about closing the loops, certainty, order, planning, structure, keeping to deadlines.

As you read those descriptions, check in with yourself.

Did you twitch when you read about the J characteristics? You're likely a P.

Did you twitch when you read about the P characteristics? You're likely a J.

Ps don't plan unless they absolutely have to. LOL

D and I are both Js.

My boss is a P though.

A quick work example - in my job in business development, we see many different sorts of business ideas.

In about 70% of the instances it's clear early on if we're going to do business or not.

I always want to tell the people the deal is not going ahead as soon as we're sure about it while he likes to keep things open and think about who-knows-what for a while longer.

We used to butt heads on this sooo many times until I asked him once, "what exactly (that's S-speak) is keeping you from simply telling him no?"

He said that he likes the people and may want to do business in the future (can you see he likes options and possibilities?).

So I've swayed him to my way of thinking which is, "we like you and think you're fabulous BUT this particular deal is not right for us now".

Now we're both happy.

If you're unsure if you're a P or a J, it's about personality versus choice. In other words, your first impulse.

There's a great example in the book about the mother who is cooking supper (let's just pretend even if you don't cook) when her child comes into the kitchen and says, "come look at the frog outside".

A typical J response is to first want to finish cooking (as she doesn't want supper to be late) and then go look at the frog while a typical P response is to happily go look at the frog as she's spontaneous and probably wants to see the frog herself :)

Both mothers might act against their preference but their first natural impulse is to act according to type.

Let's talk time.

Both J and P mothers have very different ideas about time. "On time for supper" for a P mother could be anywhere between 5 and 7 pm while for a J mother 15 minutes past 5 is late :)

I relate - the babies eat supper at 4 on weekdays and 4:30 on weekends because we consciously run a bit later. I must admit, I start getting antsy if gets to the 8:40 or 4:40 mark and breakfast or supper is not ready :)

Some of the J mom strengths are...

  • organising and planning
  • having set meal and bedtimes for your kids
  • a smooth-running, orderly household
  • they approach motherhood as a responsibility

while some of the P mom strengths are...

  • being tolerant and accepting
  • being spontaneous, easy-going and relaxed
  • being responsive and open-minded to your child
  • being relaxed about clutter, chaos and disorder

(I just noticed that the word BEING is in all the P mom strengths and that's a big struggle of mine, personally :))

I loved the tips for the J and P moms in the book. There are 7 for each but I'll only highlight 1 each.

One of the biggest tips for Js that I found helped me the most (actually before I read this book but was then affirmed by the book) is to have a place or project to control to your heart's content, where you can keep things exactly as you want them or do things exactly as you prefer to do. It's about regaining a sense of order in at least one aspect of life.

A tip for the P mom is to create space for freedom from a tight schedule every week, to do things slow and unscheduled, and have time for spontaneity.

So.... what are you? Are you a J or a P?

If you've been following along with the whole series, leave me your complete style in the comments. Otherwise, you could always take the quiz (link in my first post) and then come back to let me know.


  1. I am....very indecisive I love you passion for M-B, but I can never commit to one side or the other. I look at every detail and absolutely hate labels(although I love organization).

    We eat around a general time, but the meal is almost always planned (with back-ups for when we're stuck in track). Bed time is set in stone during the week, but the weekend are a bit lax. I constantly pick up toys and tidy the house through the day. I plan out our next activities follow the next nap, stay on top of my accounts, plan out the days and weeks ahead. With that being said, I plan for flexibility. I never know just how horrible traffic will be from one day to the next, so I like to keep some slack in our schedule and make sure the girls have some free, unstructured play to explore and "be kids". What does that make me?? A pj?

  2. I am SUCH a J!!! Through and through!

  3. P, definitely LOL

  4. Def a J. I get extrememly stressed out if my plans get messed up.

  5. I'm a J. Joel and Vannan are J's. Tim pretends to be a J, but he's a P at heart, just like Kendra. And I pretend to be a P. Go figure. But there are a lot of P's in our family, and they just don't understand my getting bent out of shape when somebody changes my schedule. On the other hand, I really have problems with the concept of time - maybe because my mom was a P and time was pretty much meaningless to her too. LOL.

  6. Hi Marcia
    I'm definitely a "P" when it comes to parenting and MBTI. My husband is a "J", so some interesting dynamics. I'm not sure if you're interested but I'm blogging about parenting styles and personality titled "Parenting: One Size Doesn't Fit all". If you're interested, check it out :) I'll start following your posts. The author of MotherStyles told me about you :)


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