I hope your April is off to an amazing start. Its hard to believe that we are almost at the end of this incredible Enneagram and Motherhood series. My favorite part has honestly been just learning about other Mama’s who have different numbers than I do. Its fun to see the things that Mama’s share in common regardless of number and interesting to learn how the experience of Motherhood can differ depending on their Enneagram number.
If you are just joining us, Welcome! I am so glad you are here. If you’re not sure what your Enneagram Type is, you can take a FREE ENNEAGRAM TEST HERE.
You will also want to make sure you check out the other posts in the series:
The Enneagram & Motherhood Series
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Type 4, The Romantic Individualist, Heart Triad
If you are not a four or don’t think you’re a four, but you ever struggle with strong emotions, or comparison, or mom guilt, or a longing for something more, then I pray you are encouraged here.
If you have a friend or a daughter who is a four, then I pray you find insight here to help you understand and encourage her well. Fours thrive on reassurance.
And, if you know you are a four, welcome! I hope you will be especially blessed and encouraged by these reflections on my motherhood journey, because I wish another four had shared all this with me decades ago.
Fours feel deeply—extremely deeply—and there is no filter or off switch for these feelings. This can be both a strength and a weakness, as a mother and in all areas of life. I am empathetic, creative, and compassionate—these are strengths with extensive benefits to mothering. On the other hand, strong emotions can spill over into the present, preventing an appreciation for what is right in front of me. They can pull me into the past before I even realize what has happened. A song, a smell, a photograph, anything can invoke nostalgia that causes the present surroundings to begin to fade away.
Sometimes the struggle with being present isn’t caused by a pull toward the past. Sometimes it is caused by an intense longing for an idealistic future. Fours are intensely idealistic and, again, this can be both a strength and a weakness. Not only can it distract me from fully experiencing the present, but it also contributes to a sometimes-overwhelming tension between what is and what could be. How I approach this tension, though, can turn it from a weakness to a strength. I have a choice to see it as hopelessness or hopefulness.
Comparison is an inevitable partner of this acute awareness of potential. I think all moms struggle with comparison and envy on some level, but this can be deeply challenging as a four. It isn’t malicious or competitive; it is all about striving for significance. Comparison becomes dangerous when it makes me feel as though I am not enough, or even worse, as though I have failed my children. Fortunately, I have learned to be intentional about viewing other mothers’ meaningful accomplishments as motivation and inspiration rather than judgement, at least most of the time.
As a four my greatest fear is that I don’t matter and, therefore, my greatest need and strongest drive is toward significance. Over a decade ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song—that he would eventually release on his “re:creation” album in 2011—assuring listeners that everything we do matters if we are doing it for the glory of our Creator, even the most mundane of mothering tasks. The everyday monotony of mothering young children can be challenging to a several Enneagram types for different reasons. For fours, though, the hardest part of it is wondering whether it has eternal value.
Mom guilt, common to all moms in some form, comes to fours as a feeling of inadequacy. It says that I am not enough, that I am wasting my time, and that I should be doing something that matters more than whatever is in front of me demanding my attention. This type of mom guilt is exhausting, and it can be paralyzing, creating a constant ache of discontentment.
Fortunately, I no longer live in that run-down, beat-up place. Understanding my fears, drives, and desires helps me amplify my strengths and minimize my weaknesses. Here are some practical ways I do that.
Engage with the psalms of King David. Many experts believe that King David was an Enneagram type four. We know that he felt extremely deeply, struggled to stay fully present at times being pulled toward either the past or the future, compared himself to others and experienced intense envy, questioned his significance, and battled discontentment. The full spectrum of intense emotional living is reflected in the poetry of the psalms penned by King David. Engaging with the psalms is comforting and inspiring, because it validates my experiences and pushes me toward the source of my help and hope. The Lord was David’s source of strength and he is mine as well.
Meditate on the truth of my identity as a joint heir with Christ. I have learned to replace the lies in my mind with the truth of Scripture. I am enough simply because he is enough, and I take that truth into my mind, heart, and soul until I can receive it as undeniable. My goal is seeking contentment in my present reality.
Use music to my advantage. I already mentioned that songs can trigger powerful emotions in me and sometimes I am unprepared for that experience. While I cannot control the playlist at the grocery store, I can control it in my own space and be proactive about it. Worship playlists are great for soaking in truth. It is also helpful to create playlists to have on hand for a range of common emotional experiences, whether to change the atmosphere or amplify it.
I still experience everything I described above, but it doesn’t consume me now.
Ella McCright is a lifelong lover of words and believes that good books have the power to feed souls and transform lives. She has been partnering with quality literature to parent children for more than two decades and cannot imagine ever stopping. She is trusting the Lord to bring in and send out little souls that need her nurturing in his perfect timing. At RaisingBookFedSouls.com, Ella shares thoughts and resources to encourage other parents in their mission to raise book-fed souls. Find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Type 6, Loyal Guardian, Head Triad
My name is Leslie and I am an Enneagram Type 6. I am mom to four children, Alyssa 19, Maya 14, Caleb 10, and Kate 8. My son Caleb has mild Autism, which comes with many challenges, but he is very high functioning. One thing that I have learned about parenting is that it is not a one size fits all thing. Each child is very different, and that means that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.
I only recently discovered the Enneagram, but I have learned so much about myself in doing so. I am good at anticipating problems and coming up with solutions. I am a very loyal person. I am a good friend and care very much about others. I am a rule follower. I can be very skeptical of other people, and I am very cautious. I worry A LOT! I can be very fearful of making decisions. The truth is that I can see all of these traits expressed when it comes to motherhood. Sometimes they can be really good, and sometimes it can get me into trouble.
My core longing is for safety and security, and I believe that longing inside of me drives me to try to make sure that my kids feel this way. I really want my children to feel safe, loved, cared for and supported. I tell my kids that I love them often. I compliment the qualities that I see in them that makes them special. I strive to provide an environment in which my children always feel safe. I am usually really good at helping to find solutions to problems that arise, and my teens often come to me for advice.
My problem-solving skills are also especially helpful when it comes to navigating my sons Autism. I spent many of his younger years trying to figure out better ways to reach him. He struggled with things as simple as getting dressed, and always needed extra help with most activities. I came up with creative ways to help him, and we made it through with our sanity because I was able to come up with those creative solutions. He is doing so well now and has overcome so much!
One of the challenges I face as a mother is trying to fix things. I can see problems that may arise in the future, but that can also lead to my imagining worst-case scenarios that are likely never going to come to fruition. I often worry about my son’s future, and whether I am doing enough or too much for him. I can be very indecisive about what it is that my children need from me. I have projected negative outcomes onto my teens especially, because of my anxieties and fears. My family has a history of addiction, and I often worry about that same happening to my own children! That fear has been paralyzing at times.
One of the best ways I have found to overcome these challenges is by being reflective. When negative thoughts or worries come my way, I try to ask myself where it is coming from. Satan often uses our weaknesses to drive unhealthy thoughts into our minds. All it takes sometimes for a six is a little seed planted to dream up some horrible scenario that is not even based in reality. So, I ask myself: Is this real? Why am I feeling this way? What is causing this negativity? Is this a me problem? What does God have to say about this fear?
One morning, I was still half asleep, but already anxious about things that had not even happened yet. Two verses came to mind that gave me comfort. The first was so simple: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV Sometimes you have to quiet your mind and know that HE is God. Not you. What a relief that you can be still and let God take care of you!
The second verse was: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV. This can be a really hard one for a six, because we have trouble trusting. We are very suspicious, and sometimes even suspicious of God. I have to remind myself again that I do not always understand the way God works, and I am not meant to. By trusting in God and through praying first, my anxieties are calmed, and I can be a healthier mom. I can move forward with confidence and know that God has got this!
Hello, I am Leslie. Wife to Josh. Mom to Alyssa 18, Maya 13, Caleb 9, and Kate 7. I love to cook, read, write, listen to music, and I love being a mom. I am also a mom of a child with Autism, which has enriched my life and changed my heart in so many ways. As a mom I have so many things to do every week, and anything that I can make easier, I do! You can find me on Instagram , Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and at http://leslieslittlecorner.com
Type 8, The Challenger, Head Triad
My daughter calls me the EstherGizer Bunny. I move at break-neck speed much of the time: my brain, my feet, my hands, my heart and my mouth. When I was a young mom, our elderly neighbor said to me, “I watch you out of the window heading to your car and I don’t think your feet ever really touch the sidewalk.”
I was wiggly, energetic, smart and super-speedy as a kid. I did my first three grades in two years and then skipped right over fourth grade, landing me in fifth grade when I was just eight years old. Break-neck speed. “Can’t sit still.” Even now, I can hear the adults whispering those words to each other.
I’m a fast thinker, typer, talker, mover, decision-maker. Probably most of the reason I have tended to be on the thin side during my life is that every cell of my body is wiggling. Other people get tired thinking about what I do during a day. You get the picture.
I’m also (surprise, surprise) a bit of a Type A, 24/7, driven, workaholic. I like to be in charge and in control. Running the show is my dream come true. I love when things are done well and finished on time. I like when others are where they are supposed to be and doing what they supposed to be doing. I love a good challenge and I usually feel up for whatever is put in front of me!
As you may have already guessed, I am the Challenger (a number EIGHT on the Enneagram)! Whenever I found myself pregnant, I was thrilled. In fact, it was an adventure that I knew would be exciting and I was pretty sure I would ace this mom test in front of me! I couldn’t wait to mold and shape this new life into the best possible person!
Being an EIGHT serves me well much of the time as I navigate this parenting path. I am good at motivating my children to work hard, follow their dreams, and stay the course for growth. I love helping them to “live life to the fullest,” never settling for less than they deserve. I fiercely fight for their hearts and will take on anyone who threatens to harm them! I am called on for any and all emergencies, jumping quickly to their aid and figuring out a plan to fix whatever problem is presenting itself. I plan fun outings, engage in meaningful conversation and help to keep each child’s life in some semblance of control.
However, if you ask each of my now budding adults, they would say I am a little bit of a control freak. Intense and forceful words fly out of my mouth before my brain has a chance to catch up. Under the guise of being strong, I can be over-bearing and downright forceful. FIRE, AIM, READY describes me more often than I would like. I struggle to see things from their point of view and mostly believe I know what’s best in any given situation. This especially played out during those early mom years, when I was completely unaware of the deep wounds I had and how they manifested in and brought out the shadowy sides of my EIGHT self.
God has not left me to my own devices. THANKFULLY. He is slowly transforming and healing me! I have to constantly remind myself of four simple, yet life-giving truths when I see my unhealed EIGHT peak her head out, trying desperately to regain control (or at least the illusion of it).
- It’s best for me to SLOW DOWN! Breathe. It all doesn’t have to be solved today. The road to adulthood is a long windy process with fits and starts and it’s mostly all going to be okay. Enjoy who is right in front of me, with all their beautiful and messy parts. READY, AIM, FIRE is a much better parenting choice!
- Challenge BLACK and WHITE thinking in myself. Remind myself that I don’t have a special corner on the truth. My children may have a point and they actually might be right. LISTEN to them. I am also a learner, not just a teacher.
- APOLOGIZE (without qualification) often to my kids when I have tried to manipulate or control them, often using the monsters of fear and guilt (both of those steeped deeply in my own soul).
- BE TENDER with myself. My oldest daughter taught me this. It’s okay for me to be vulnerable and to share the weaker parts of me with my children. I don’t always have to be the strong one. The gifts of imperfection ( Brene Brown) will actually produce long-lasting relationship with these humans, what I really long for more than anything!
I want to be the best mom. I know I can’t do it by sheer will power. Believe me, being the EIGHT that I am, I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work. Paying attention to BOTH my strengths and struggles as an EIGHT helps me to care for myself better, get help when I need it, and to grow to a place of healing and wholeness. It’s from this place that my children will actually have the best mom and the best version of this EstherGizer Bunny!
Esther Goetz writes over at the “Dolly Mama,” a nickname from her daughter. She is a wife to one, a mom to four almost completely grown children, and a “Meema” to one. A published author, podcast host and speaker, her passion is to bring hope and healing (with a little humor) to all women, but especially to those in the “mom club.” She understands that she is a beautiful mess and along with the heart of her kind, gracious and loving God and the help of her fellow sojourners, all will be well. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and
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I am praying for you!