Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a few common characteristics among mothers, and I’ve grouped them into three types: intense, indispensable, perfectionist. Obviously, there are many more, but these include a very large number of moms I’ve met.
Our way of being a mother sets in subtly and often unconsciously. We adapt to our new role as best we can and don’t always perceive this transformation. Since it can be difficult to be objective about ourselves, I’m offering you this article as an opportunity to look at yourself from a different angle.
Why stand back? Because our way of being a mother has consequences both on ourselves and our family. Once we’re aware of it, we’ll be able to choose whether it really suits us or whether we should change a few things!
So what kind of mom are you: intense, indispensable or perfectionist?
What are the characteristics of an intense mother? She invests herself a lot with her child, and says that if she decided to have a baby, it’s to take care of him! She’ll thus refuse all babysitting offers because she doesn’t want to leave her little one. And anyway, her role as a mother will always come before her role as a lover.
She distances herself from her partner and loads up on affection by taking care of her child. She’s put her role as a woman on hold and plans on coming back to it when her children are older. This doesn’t stop her from doing the praises of the family, but she seems to forget that the basis of a close-knit family is the couple. Witness of this distance, the spouse often believes that the situation is temporary and patiently awaits the return of better days!
The intense mother believes that to be a good mother, she needs to devote her entire time and love to her baby.
How does one recognize an indispensable mother? She is very selective about who can take care of her baby, and she comes running as soon as her baby whimpers. She refuses all offers to help and doesn’t seek the father’s involvement. She takes care of her baby in an almost exclusive manner and is very proud of it. It’s the first time that she feels so important and needed. Some men feel useless or incompetent as fathers. They will therefore leave all the room to the mother and wait for her to ask for help. For other men, being with this type of mother is a positive thing, since they won’t need to be too involved with their child.
The indispensable mother believes that to be a good mother, she needs to be the one to console, feed and soothe her baby, and therefore nobody can replace her.
The perfectionist mother needs to plan, organize and control. This type of mother is worried and apprehensive about everything that is not part of her routine. To reassure herself, she will think about all the possibilities and make sure that she has what it takes just in case... In fact, she’ll congratulate herself for thinking about bringing a change of clothes if her child spills something at a friend’s birthday party. She’ll agree to entrust her child to another person, but she’ll first want to give her instructions orally and in writing. The father may take the initiative to prepare the diaper bag, but she’ll check its contents before leaving the house! Never leave anything out to avoid as many inconveniences as possible! In this situation, men may feel like they’re not doing things properly and feel patronized by their spouse.
The perfectionist mother believes that to be a good mother, she needs to plan everything to avoid all unpleasant, uncomfortable or painful situations for her child.
Don’t forget that these three types are a combination of characteristics. Becoming a mother is a long and complicated process, so it goes without saying that these types of mothers are not representative of all moms! If you recognized yourself in one of them, I recommend you to keep reading to better understand what motivates you to act as you do.
Why do we act like this?
Whether we’re of the intense, indispensable or perfectionist type, we act like this because we get something out of it! The personal gratification we get from it is what’s most important to us, and it’s what makes us keep doing what we’re doing. By acting like we do, we feel like we’re being a good mother.
Insecurity, fear or anxiety are often part of our reality and influence our way of being with our child.
Whether we’re of the intense, indispensable or perfectionist type, the way we do things will have consequences in the short or long term. Here are some examples:
- Fatigue and heaviness
- Emotional overload
- Resentment toward the spouse
- Lack of an emotional and sexual life
- Love conflicts
- Detachment towards the child
- Feeling of having lost yourself as a woman
- Little involvement from the spouse
- Dependency of the child to his mother
- Consequences on the child
Bringing about some change
As long as we believe that there are more advantages than disadvantages to our situation, we won’t be too interested in bringing about some change. But by being aware of the possible consequences, we’ll pay more attention and avoid unpleasant consequences for ourselves, our spouse and our children.
- Choose between : undertaking a process of change or maintaining your way of being and waiting for the disadvantages to intensify
- Pay attention to your actions.
- Talk about it with your spouse; he’ll understand your motivations better.
- Consider your spouse’s comments since he’s close to you without being like you.
- Find other sources of gratification in your life.
Remember that it’s a process, so be patient and indulgent with yourself.