Happy Monday Friends! Today we start an exciting series all about how YOUR Enneagram Number Impacts your Mothering. Over the next few weeks I will be hosting an incredible group of writers and Momma’s whose personal knowledge of the enneagram has helped them overcome obstacles in motherhood and provided them hope and encouragement for the journey of Mommyhood.
Make sure you don’t miss a post of this series! Each number will have the chance to hear from 2 different writers, so even if your number is covered today, you are going to want to keep reading this series! Sign up below.
What is the Enneagram? Similar to Meyers Briggs or Strengths Finder, it is a tool that you can use to discover some unique facets of how God created you! One of the reasons I like the Enneagram is because it highlights specific areas of fear you are prone to struggle with based on your type.
As followers of Jesus we have an opportunity to recognize how that fear impacts our life and mothering and allow Jesus to speak to our hearts about the truth He has for us instead of fear! When we walk and abide in Him, the Holy Spirit can take away all our fears and instead instill us with the confidence, joy, wisdom and peace we all so desperately need for this Mama gig!
You can take a FREE ENNEAGRAM TEST HERE.
Let’s get started with our first sweet Mama!
Type 1: The Perfectionist- Gut Triad
I had a view of motherhood. It was filled with exploration and wonder. I would be much like Mary Poppins; controlled but clever. Correcting with only a word and a pointed look. Tucking them in and kissing them each on the forehead after a long, educationally enriched day of discovery and then quietly exiting stage right and enjoying the remainder of a quiet evening engaged in my own personal pursuits.
And then I actually hadkids. And let me tell you, I am no Mary Poppins
As an Enneagram Type 1 my greatest fear is being defective. My constant worry, my perpetual self-analysis, has always been in finding within myself any signs of inadequacy. I am a bloodhound sniffing out any error in need of correction. And the idea of the fix, the fix, being a fluid concept — that what may work for one person may not work for another — was beyond comprehension or forgiveness. And there is no circumstance in life more humbling, more mind-blowingly subject to self-criticism and trial and error than motherhood. The combination of being Type 1 and a mother has proved to be a challenge.
In the world I had left behind I was strong, independent, and capable. But when the nurses made the absurd judgement call to allow me to take my own baby home from the hospital I was paralyzed by fear. I was hopeless as a newborn mother. I would cry out of exhaustion and confusion during those first 6 weeks absolutely certain there was a right way to do it and I didn’t know it. My thirst to quench my ignorance with books authored by the experts proved fruitless. Not even they, the brilliant baby whisperers, could alleviate the sense of wrongness I felt when my baby would not be comforted. I developed such anxiety for being ill-equipped to fulfill the needs of my baby anywhere other than my home, and even there I struggled.
I accepted that perhaps I had postpartum depression. Or at the very least, sleep deprivation. But I sought no relief or assistance. I was determined to figure it out and be a successful mother.
That fear of failing to correctly raise children continued into the toddler years. I struggled at the end of the day, overly touched to the point of resentment, tuning out the nonsensical chatter, felling very much like an emotionless robot. What was the matter with me?
And why, Dear Lord, why do you not address this in your Living Word?!
The Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t appear on the page with a child clinging desperately to her unshowered ankles while she hurriedly takes dinner out of the oven and half drags said clingy child to the bathroom to help her younger sibling use the potty. Her children rise and called her blessed?! Mine whine and call out for more snacks! I’m doing this wrong! I’m not the mother I should be. I don’t know how to get there. And I can’t tell anyone because I don’t want them to know I don’t have it handled.
As the children grew so too did my understanding of child development. I kept seeking answers; I needed to understand what they understood. No one seemed to definitively know the answers. I’d tried everything and I could not accept that motherhood was just plain hard. And my temper! Heaven help me, I explode! I must be beyond His grace to be so utterly messed up.
I truly never intended to be a detached mother. I desperately wanted, more than anything, to nurture and dote on them. But I struggle to affirm their gifts in words, I love through hard work, sacrifice, and passionate discussion. I have to use the words of the Bible to help me tell my children how loved they are. I can say those words. And I do. More often than I’m comfortable with but less often than they deserve. But I do feel them, deeply. So much that the words seem inadequate to my emotion.
Again, why was this not in the Bible? Why didn’t God leave instructions for the women raising His children?
Then the dawning of wisdom…
The ENTIRE Bible is about this! The WHOLE thing is about parenting. From beginning to end God gave us a parenting manual. He chronicles His never-ending love and grace for His children. He tell us stories of how foolish His children have behaved and how we understand so little – and still He loves us. He is stern and is sometimes moved to anger but He never stops loving. And He never stops trying. Thank you, Father, for never giving up on me! Thank you for the gift of your Word.
I see the strength in my children as they grow — the fierce determination in their eyes. Yes. I have taught my children to be warriors. They have internalized a deep sense of what is just and true. They are independent and capable. They stand out among their peers. Because God gave them a Type 1 Mom. And God gave that Mom a thirst for His instructions.
It has been hard. Sometimes it’s been ugly. We have screamed and cried; we’ve pulled at the seams of our beings. But we’ve also laughed. So much laughter. So much sweetness and joy. So much growth and acceptance and peace. For a Type 1 Mom and her kids.
Chay is an Alaskan Mama Bear to four crazy kids and a “Slope wife” to a very handsome bearded man. She is an object in constant motion, rarely knows what day of the week it is, and knows herself well enough not to schedule any public appearances before 9am and two cups of coffee. In her “spare time” Chay owns Equilibrium, a health and wellness coaching service that empowers women to create positive change in their lives by finding and maintaining balance. She shares her EquiTalks blog at equilibriumalaska.com. You can also follow Chay on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Type 2: The Helper – Heart Triad
Bedtime is complete, the children are dreaming, and besides sound machines and a dishwasher humming in the background, the house is stilled—and *deep breath* finally, a little respite! I turn the corner as me and my deep breath are rudely interrupted by Mr. Mom Guilt. It’s a real spirit full of accusations and burdens. He rears his ugly head in my mind and shows no mercy. “Was I too harsh, too critical today? Did I overreact? Did I discipline enough? Too much? Did I work too much? Not enough? Did I spend enough quality time with them? Was I on my phone too much?” As an Enneagram Type 2, I am constantly assessing myself, “Am I enough for others?” I have a standard for myself that I will never meet; self-critique is my mastery. And then it hit me—or shall I say…Jesus hit me. He reminded me of the Cross, His Body broken for me to know Him and His Freedom because I NEVER WILL BE ENOUGH on my own! Isn’t that so freeing!? Only Jesus can save me from myself—myself that wants to be strong enough, especially at this mom thing. Isn’t it ironic that the Enneagram type that wants to serve and help others struggles the most with the sin of pride and saving face? No matter what Enneagram type, we all dig ourselves into a hole when we try being strong on our own without Jesus. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 15:56, ESV When I try to meet my own standards of mommy-ing, I place the burden of the law on me which leads to death, but with Christ’s blood upon me, there is victory!
Enneagram Type 2’s are The Givers, The Helpers, The Servants. Staying connected with my children is huge for me. Making sure they have all their needs met, desires heard, and hearts known is a high priority for me. I am naturally nurturing, and I have a gift for intuitively empathizing with them and their needs. My children have adopted my “2” positive tendencies and often want to give gifts or help others, celebrate the little things, nurture their younger siblings, and “ask God for a happy heart” when they are frustrated.
As a mama of three young children, my 2 tendencies can also lead them to think the world revolves around them or that I am needed for them to be entertained, helped, happy or butt-wiped. To overcome these challenges in our day-to-day, I have started assessing tasks:
-Am I being consistent with discipline? Can he do this himself? Can she answer her own question? Can she find her own missing shoe? Does he really need help reading/writing this word? What chores can I pass off to their to-do list (score!)?
-Since 2’s live out from the heart (versus gut or mind like other types), I have found that I have to proactively think with logic instead of making decisions based on feelings.
-Because a 2 mama can naturally give too much attention to their children, I have found that placing boundaries for my “alone time” and “work time” throughout the day is vital for my sanity (can I get an amen?).
-When a 2 is under stress, their arrow moves toward a Type 8’s controlling qualities. When a 2 is healthy, their arrow moves toward a 4’s positive qualities of creativity and self-nurturing. This is a helpful tool for me to assess if I’m being Crazy-Mom versus Peaceful-Mom.
2’s have a main fear that they will be loved only if they please others. This leads to co-dependent tendencies—depending on others to give you value. If I am not daily (ahem…hourly) dwelling on God’s acceptance and love over me, I can easily slip into the “I have to work for acceptance” which allows others—especially my children—to dictate my worth! I told God I was so sorry for believing this lie, and now when Mr. Mom Guilt tries to slip in a word or two, I literally laugh out loud and rejoice in the Grace that covers my family. I am always going to mess up and never be a “good enough” mom (whatever that means), and in exchange, God reminded me, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children.” -Isaiah 54:13, ESV I was created to serve God, not man–my children included! (Galatians 1:10)
As my husband and I brought our firstborn home 5 years ago, I felt God speak to me, “You don’t need to focus on raising your children. If you only seek and worship me, my Presence will be your delight and raising and training your children will be overflow.” The more I depend on God, the more they will learn to have a dependence on Him and not on me! All the pressure is OFF. Let’s stop taking this whole motherhood thing so seriously.
Lauren Mulvey is a wife to James and mommy to three silly kids; she’s a keeper of bees, chickens and garden. Her passion is Jesus, celebrating the little things, and encouraging other women into freedom! You can find her on Facebook
Type 5: The Thinker – Head Triad
One of the many surprise gifts of motherhood is that it shines a bright light on our inadequacies. Parenting has brought out some of the best and the worst parts of me. It can be terribly uncomfortable but has also led to much personal growth. I think it’s this process of our refinement that makes it one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, endeavours.
When I learned about the enneagram a couple years ago, I almost immediately understood the reasons behind some of my greatest challenges as a mom. But recently, I began to see how my strengths as a type 5 positively impact my parenting. It’s the knowledge of both my strengths and my weaknesses that has allowed me to grow as a mom—a role in which I often feel incapable.
God is now continually using the enneagram to show me how being dominant in type 5 makes me a great mom, even with my flaws.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I’ve always loved this verse because I connect strongly with the idea that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As a type 5, I’m naturally “in my mind” and much of what I do is seek out ways to gain new knowledge and make new connections. In fact, it’s often how I see God most clearly. By observing the world around me and connecting it to the truth of the bible, the goodness and greatness of God becomes real to me.
This is likely why I place a high value on my children becoming eager, life-long learners. I have chosen to homeschool my kids in order to foster a true love of learning—one that can sometimes be lost in formal education. Yet, it isn’t all about intelligence; it’s about making connections from what one knows to what one does with that knowledge. I believe this makes me a great mom and teacher: imparting wisdom and discernment to my children comes naturally to me. I want all I know to be passed on to my kids so that they can “be transformed by the renewing of [their] minds.” I want to raise wise, discerning children who run from their own way of doing things and run towards God.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. – Romans 12:3 (NIV)
One of the gifts of those dominant in type 5 is objectivity. This is our ability to make decisions and act based on what is going on around us without the influence of emotions, bias, and opinions of others. This makes me a very level-headed mom, but in relationships, the ability to be objective is sometimes felt by others as being cold or indifferent.
Type 5s can often be viewed as lacking empathy, but truthfully, we feel very deeply—we just tend to approach situations objectively rather than emotionally. However, when I place a higher value in my objective response than the emotional needs of others, I fail to show the deep love and compassion of God the Father.
In this way, type 5s need to understand that our way of thinking isn’t the only way—and it certainly isn’t always the right way. As verse 3 says above, we must not think of ourselves (or our way of thinking) as being better than others. We must learn to see the value in loving our children the way they need to be loved, even if it means learning to lead with our emotions and valuing theirs.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)
The bible illustrates unity and cooperation using the metaphor of the human body. I have always been mildly uncomfortable with this idea. As a type 5, I value independence and self-sufficiency. I don’t like to rely on others to have my needs met and I don’t like the needs of others being placed on me.
Although it doesn’t come naturally to me, becoming a mom forced me into this way of living. I have four little humans whose lives depend on me. I cannot be fully independent anymore. In the safety of my own family unity, I am growing to see the value of this principle and have made it a top value in our home.
For us, it means we’re a team. We are all individual people, deeply loved and uniquely made—yet, God placed us together as a family. God has a purpose for this exact family formation. We are each independent, but our vision is always for the betterment of our family team.
We choose love, cooperation, unity, conflict resolution, and shared responsibilities. We choose each other—to encourage, to celebrate, to love, to grow together. And as we’ve learned to do that in our home, those values extend outward into our extended family, our church, and our community.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:6-7 (NIV)
If you are a type 5 mom who is struggling—to feel capable, to show how deeply you love your family, to maintain your independence when everyone needs so much from you, to not lose your patience when your energy limit is maxed out—I want to say this to you today:
God has given you everything you need to be the mom you were created to be. You will never feel fully capable in this role and that’s okay. When you feel like you don’t have enough to give, that’s where God comes in. Use the gifts and the strengths God has given you and look to Him to help you where you are weak. Your needs are not too much for Him and it’s okay to admit that you can’t do it alone.
Taryn Nergaard lives nestled in the beautiful mountains of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia with her husband and four kids. She’s a loud laugher, reluctant cook, coffee snob, and pensive writer. She admits that she doesn’t know what she’s doing most of the time, but she tries to follow Jesus as best as she can so that she can bring others along with her. You can connect with her on Patreon, Instagram, &Facebook, Aren’t these Mama’s
Y’all I hope you are blown away with encouragement today! Remember this will be an ongoing series, and every number will get to hear from at least 2 Mamas about their experiences. Sign up Below so you don’t miss a post in this series!
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I am praying for you!