If you’re just joining us for this series, you are definitely going to want to Check out the first 2 posts in this series:
Are we connected on Instagram? I would love for you to join our @claritywithcharity community there for more inspiration and encouragement for your Mama life! Aaaaannnddd! Exciting news, every number gets to hear from not just 1 Mama but 2 Mama’s with their same Enneagram number. You are not going to want to miss a post in this series, because we have a new round of Mama’s ready to share their wisdom and encouragement with you!
Type 3, Successful Achiever, Heart Triad
Hello. I’m Emily, an Enneagram three and mother of five. As a three, my basic desire is being valued for who I am. This stems from the fear of having no inherent worth outside of what I can accomplish – that I will be a nobody. Growing up with an alcoholic mother, I learned early on that affection came only when I performed well. Those moments were unpredictable and fleeting, leaving me with a broken sense of self worth built on what I could do, not who I was. For years, I hid the painful truth of my home life behind achievement. My dear friend, Jesus, and a few years of therapy shifted that inner-narrative allowing me to replace that fear with His truth that I’m loved and worthy just as I am.
As a mom, my three-ness shows up as being encouraging, consistent, optimistic, dependable, organized, and responsible. Speaking life into my family and guiding them into their God-given gifts and dreams lights my heart on fire. I want them to know they were made capable and there is something inherently good in hard work.
On the flip side, this root fear can show up as a headlong rush into anything that will be seen as success. The PTA bake sale needs twelve dozen cupcakes and no one has signed up – no problem! The coach needs a volunteer to plan and host the team party – I’m your gal! The drama club needs help building the set – count us in! The troop needs to sell 1000 boxes of cookies – consider it done! A project at work needs a lead – pick me!
You see where this is going. That headlong rush turns into overfunctioning which turns into stressed out mom which turns into me throwing my hands up and yelling, “I just can’t with all the things” at my four year old who just wants his string cheese opened. While this drive comes from a place of wanting to serve others well, being “on” all the time is exhausting. For years, this led to a schedule with no margin, little time for rest, stuffed down feelings of resentment, and discontent with my life. “Can’t they all see that I need help?” And when they did, “Here, just let me do it”. Tiger Mother much? I have cried privately in my closet time and again so no one could see me struggle. The truth is, I simply can’t do it all and that feels like failure and shame, the very things I’ve spent my entire life trying to avoid. Being human is messy and especially irritating when I’m trying to produce and my emotions or exhaustion get in the way.
The good news is that’s no longer my life. Well, mostly not. I’m what I like to call a recovering overfunctioner. When I came to the end of myself, God put it on my heart to be still and take off the mask of having it all together. I’ve learned to say “No”, give our schedule some margin, stop pushing my children to constantly win, and create some space for our souls to breathe. Now we focus on finding the balance between hustle and rest, practicing gratitude daily, and remembering not to take ourselves too seriously and laugh and love along the way.
What I like about being a three:
Being self-assured, optimistic, and energetic. Being a doer – competent and able to get things to work efficiently Being able to recover quickly from setbacks Being a top notch motivator
What’s hard about being a three:
The fear of not being seen as successful Struggling to hang on to achievement Having to deal with inefficiency Putting on facades to keep from being truly known
The freedom to be vulnerable is a gift I am still learning to accept as a Three. If I’m not careful, I can easily fall back into overfunctioning and believing the lie that my worth is validated by my productivity. I am learning that I don’t need to be perfect to receive love from those dearest to my heart.
When I’m willing to open up and be fearlessly authentic, I notice it opens a deeper well of trust for the those around me too. When I wonder if I’m messing up my kids, I focus on my Heavenly Father and turn my worry into prayer. When I realize I’m loving what I can accomplish more than people, I remember we’re created to do good work, but we’re also created for connection and joy.
So this is for you fellow threes – exhausted mamas, sisters, friends, who’ve set your dreams to the side, carrying a few extra pounds, questioning your worth, who just can’t with all the things some days, I see you. I see you because I am you. Lay down your mask. Lean into vulnerability. Owning your own story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do. This is the place of wholeness for a Three—the ability to rest from performing in God’s unearned-yet-unflinching love.
Come on. You believed in Santa Clause for seven years, you can believe in yourself for five minutes. You were made for more!
Emily is a writer, leader, empathy warrior, and mother of five encouraging women to embrace their own story and become fearlessly authentic. Her passion in writing is to inspire other women to not just “hang in there” but thrive in God’s calling on their lives. You can find her on find on Instagram and Facebook
Type 6, Loyal Guardian, Head Triad
Every little thing is gonna be alright.”
-Bob Marley (and a banner I have hanging in my basement)
I’ve been a parent for almost as long as I’ve known about the Enneagram—a little over two years. Our former church (we’ve since moved out of state) used it as a tool for spiritual development, and I’ve found it very, very helpful. I’m excited to share some of the ways the Enneagram has helped me understand myself and how I move in the world, especially with regard to parenting.
Strengths sixes bring to parenting…
First, I think a big strength sixes bring in parenting is preparedness. We have a skill for seeing possible issues in a plan and anticipating needs others might miss. Parenting is a lot of details and seeing and meeting needs, and I think sixes meet all of that with ease.
Another strength of sixes in parenting is that we’re very community-oriented. We think a lot about the common good. Though they’re young, I know my kids already see how I value community: I started a Buy Nothing group in our town, and I’ve made intentional efforts to get to know our neighbors. I also see my family itself as a little community and am always thinking of ways to intentionally foster a strong family dynamic.
…and challenges, too
The main sin, or vice, of a six is fear. I’ve never considered myself a fearful person, but learning my type has helped me see just how much low-key fear and anxiety drives my life. One way this manifests is in worst-case scenario thinking. I easily spend time thinking about terrible things that could happen and making plans in my head in case they do. (A long time ago, one of my teaching colleagues gave me “The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook” as a joke. Sometimes other people see you more clearly than you see yourself!)
Specifically, I have a lot of fear around my kids’ safety. I’ve realized how much potential illnesses and injuries are on my mind, and I’ve become conscious of my almost constant anxiety that it will be 100% on me to know exactly what to do if and when those things happen, since I’m the at-home parent. It’s a heavy burden.
Sixes are prone to self-doubt and often (whether they’re aware of it or not) try to find security in outside authorities. Another challenge for me in parenting is my tendency to continually seek information and guidance. In each new phase, I tend to go a bit crazy gathering information. Ready for solids? Let me consult four different friends about their experiences. Time to potty train? Let me carefully examine three different approaches. I love to read, but I’m almost embarrassed at how many parenting books I’ve read in the last few years. It’s especially bad because I have a 5 wing, which is a type that is an “information collector” and feels they can never know enough. This leads to overthinking and indecisiveness, which can be very stressful. We all know how many decisions you have to make as a parent!
How I’ve grown as a six parent…
The Enneagram has helped me grow in so many ways. I think the biggest way I’ve grown in my parenting is that I’ve learned to trust myself. This might sound a bit strange to say as a Christian, but I don’t think it has to.
I grew up in a Christian home, and along with the good things I also absorbed a message that I can’t trust (or shouldn’t) trust myself. I even chose Proverbs 3:5 for my confirmation verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” It seemed like trusting yourself was counter to trusting God.
The Enneagram has helped me adopt a healthy both/and perspective here. Of course my trust in God is everything: I know I’m not in charge of the universe, and I choose to release my desire for control over to the God who is. But it’s also been very freeing for me to stop doubting myself so much. To believe I have everything I need to be a good mother within me. I don’t need to read all the books; I can just listen to my mother’s intuition and my own instincts and trust that God speaks through that.
…and what I’m still working on
I’m only a few years into this parenting thing (my oldest will be three this summer), and I still definitely have work to do in the fear and anxiety department.
The virtue of the Enneagram 6 is courage. My favorite Enneagram book says that courage is “a way of being that is awake to the dangers inherent in the world and at the same time able to access a natural sense of confidence in meeting them.” I want this. I spend so much energy scanning for threats in the environment or ruminating on the bad things that could happen. I want to exude a sense of strength and peace to my kids instead.
I’ve heard it said that the most frequent command in the Bible by far is to not be afraid. I love that so much. But it’s hard to not be afraid, especially as a parent. The world is crazy. I’m working on remembering that all of life is grace. Every second I get with these little people is a gift, and I’m learning to surrender the what-ifs to our good God.
Any other sixes out there? I’d love to hear from you!
Amber Adrian is an at-home mama of two little girls and a freelance writer and editor. When she’s not doing dishes or laundry, the perennial tasks, you can find her with her nose in a non-fiction book or messing with words (hers or someone else’s). You can find her thoughts at http://alternativegrace.com and her pictures on Instagram
Type 9, Peaceful Mediator, Gut Triad
Chaos. Pure and utter chaos.That is how I often view my mothering journey. As a mom of three rambunctious boys, I often feel overwhelmed. I feel like a referee, continually attempting to break up fights and the chaos that comes from raising kids.
Finding out that I am an enneagram nine shifted my perspective. As a 9, I crave peace and a conflict free zone. An enneagram nine is considered calm, easy going, and agreeable. We go along to get along. A phrase I often repeat to my kids is, “Can we all just get along?”
A key motivation for nines is creating harmony. I feel that this can be a good asset in many areas. Many find nines easy to talk to and good listeners. Nines can be objective in many situations, as they find it easy to see different perspectives. Nines are known to make excellent counselors. However, it tends to be too much to handle because all a nine really wants is harmony. And this is not always possible. What we need to understand is it takes work to create true harmony.
How can this knowledge of a nine’s behavior help a struggling mom? For some, it helps just knowing that as nines, we have the tendency to neglect ourselves. So speak up. Let your desires and wishes be known. Speak up with your kids. I often find myself neglecting discipline with my kids to keep the peace. Having the knowledge that I default to this allows me to see what I am doing and stop. Discipline is not a bad thing for kids. In fact, God made us a guide for our kids to help them along in life. Talking to them about the hard things is necessary and good. Speak up for yourself before things get out of control.
Ephesians 4:15 says:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
How can I be a better mom when all I want is peace? Lean into the peace God has already provided, and do what it takes to raise kids for him. Because of Jesus, we already have peace with God. Therefore, we can speak up. We can do the hard things we are called to do as mothers. Our kids won’t always get everything right. But we can do our best to show them the right way, and encourage them to walk in it.
Romans 5:1 in the New International Version says:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can rest and live out life knowing that Christ has already become our peace. Through Christ, we have peace and we can offer it to others. Circumstances do not define us, or have to dictate our peace.
With Christ as our peace, we are free to live into the calling He has prepared for us. As mothers, we can step up and raise our kids with purpose and intent. It will be hard, it will be overwhelming, and sometimes it will be the complete opposite of peaceful. But in the end, it will all be worth it. Let’s agree to speak up for truth, no matter what feelings or emotions it may stir. Let’s agree to offer our families the best, because it’s worth fighting for.
Nines can often feel complacent, and tend to just let life happen. Perhaps it’s time to live life a little differently. Instead of just letting life happen, we can be intentional with our parenting. Be bold and make a stand for Christ.
Hebrews 12:1 encourages:
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let’s chase life, and the best that God has called us to be.
Brooke is a mom to three lovable and messy boys, and wife to her pastor husband. They live in central Pennsylvania, surrounded by beautiful mountains and lots of snow. You can often find her dreaming of warmer weather. Brooke likes coffee, reading, and all things crafty. You can find Brooke’s blog at notsoperfectpastorswife.wordpress.com, where she writes about being a boy mom, a pastors wife, and all things in between.
Just a reminder we will be hearing from one more round of Mama’s for each number! Sign up here so you don’t miss any posts in this series.
Have a wonderful week. I am praying for you!