I received a comment the other day and (per usual) I had so much to say about it I decided to answer it in a post!
Here was the reader comment: “…I just found your blog while googling “how to be a mom as a type 7” because I am finding SAHM life so hard with my super clingy 2 year old! I’ve always loved kids and wanted to have lots of them but now that I’m here I am realizing my spontaneity and freedom in particular are sooooo much more limited than I realized that would be as a mom. I knew babies took a lot of time and I knew kids needed a lot of love but I didn’t realize how much the constant-ness of being needed by someone 24/7 would feel suffocating for me. I will feel trapped by her clingyness and then of course feel guilty for feeling that way. I also resonated so much with what you said about putting off the housework… the things that aren’t fun or exciting. I struggle to just be present with my daughter and play with her (she’s a huge quality time kid) because is just not very mentally stimulating for me. We do lots of fun outings and I do work 1-2 half days a week but I would love any thoughts or advice you have on “embracing the boring moments” so to speak… as well as how to deal with the lack of freedom (personal space, inability to be go off and have adventures on your own regularly, and the always being needed). I’m sure I’m not the only type 7 mama that has struggled with this!”
Can I just start with saying A-freakin’-men. I feel all of these things constantly! This pretty much sums up how I feel about motherhood most days. I wrote another post about being a SAHM and why I chose to stay at home with my kids even though it’s not necessarily what I love doing, but I don’t think that post necessarily answers this specific question.
Sorry I didn’t fix your hair before taking this photo, Phoebe!
So here are some thoughts about motherhood and being an Enneagram type 7:
+ It’s been interesting to talk to moms who are different Enneagram types. This is what I’ve realized: some moms enjoy staying at home more than others. (Crazy stuff, right?! Ha!) It’s not that their days are easy, but some moms/types generally don’t have this constant nagging FOMO in the back of their minds and aren’t always distracted by thoughts of what they could (and would rather be) doing all day. I am constantly thinking, “I wish I was in the mountains hiking right now! Or seeing beautiful scenery! This is not my best life!” When I remember that not every mom is struggling with these thoughts (as much), it reminds me that I just have different mental obstacles to overcome, and that’s ok! But also, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is dealing with these thoughts better than me… they might not have them at all! Some moms enjoy cleaning! Others enjoy running errands! I do not.
+ With this in mind, it’s vital that I plan fun things to do in my ‘free’ time. Since cleaning / shopping / cooking / misc. mom activities are not life-giving activities to me, I have made a list of things that are life-giving and I make sure I do those things regularly. For me, that means hiking, taking/editing photos, working out, reading, going out with friends, learning something new, eating good food, visiting a new place, etc.
+ I also always have our next adventure planned. If my calendar is all mom-related activities, I am not living my best life. I try to have at least one social activity per week on my schedule, preferably without kids around so I can complete a full sentence. Now, obviously, this doesn’t happen every single week, but (at the very least) I make sure I can call a friend or have a playdate or spend some quality time with Tim.
+ I allow myself to not enjoy all aspects/phases of motherhood, while keeping in mind that it’s all just a phase. I am not a great toddler-mom. I am not that great at imaginary play, and dealing with tantrums is not my most favorite activity. Plus, 2 year-olds can’t hike very far and are too heavy for me to carry, so they kind of kill my hiking mojo. However, kids do get older – yay! And it turns out I really enjoy sharing fun activities with my girls now that they’re 3 and 5. For instance, I enjoy puzzles. I also enjoy coloring. These are things I can do! And now that they can play card games, we do a lot of that. I even take the girls on the occasional hike with me, plus we travel together more now! Do I have to listen to a lot of whining? Of course! But it’s fulfilling to know that we’re making memories as a family and that maybe my girls will grow up loving the same things I do.
+ I don’t always put 100% of my focus on my kids. For instance, I enjoy listening to podcasts, so sometimes I watch my kids play together in the backyard while I listen to a podcast. Or I let the girls play in the basement while I read a book. I think it’s fine to not always be ‘on’ as a stay-at-home mom. I give my kids plenty of one-on-one ‘quality time’ (or at least I try to!) so I don’t feel guilty zoning out for a few hours while I do something I enjoy at the same time I’m watching them.
+ I outsource the really boring stuff. I have friends who love cleaning. I do not. I never will. So we hire a cleaning service. I also cannot stand the grocery store, so we have groceries delivered to our door. Basically, for any task that you are dreading day after day and week after week, see if you can outsource it – even if that just means asking your husband to do it! Of course, I can’t outsource everything. For instance, I have to put away the laundry and empty the dishwasher and pick up toys… but for all these tasks I put on a podcast and then I actually look forward to doing it! Kinda.
+ But ultimately, I think that what would help an ‘Enneagram 7’ mom is to ensure you have as much freedom to your life as possible. One of the reasons that being a mom (specifically a stay-at-home-mom) is difficult for me is that I feel like I have no more freedom in my days/life. And I cannot handle routines. At all. Like the very thought of a routine makes me die a little inside and I simply can’t stick to them. Enneagram 7’s tend to hate feeling trapped and/or limited… and guess what kids are great at? LIMITING US. These little ones generally thrive on routines but I, for one, do not! The reader who wrote the original comment (that prompted this post) writes that she is already working a few days per week, but I think it might be necessary to get childcare for an additional day, or a few extra hours per week, so that the option to do something fun and spontaneous is there. Even if you don’t do anything fun those days, you might not feel as limited knowing that if a fun invitation comes your way you could say yes. In the Seattle area we have a few subscription-type services that allow you to find childcare at the last minute, and that also seems like a great option!
I wish my advice wasn’t so much “you need to pay for more childcare in order for you to have your sanity” but for me, that’s just the truth of it. I finally have consistent childcare (after 5 years of being a SAHM) and it has been life-changing. Just knowing that I CAN go out to coffee or lunch with a friend or on a hike or really do anything at all with my time makes me so much less resentful of my current life phase. Now, have I done any of this stuff yet? NOPE. I mean, I’m sure I will, but our au pair has only been here a month and we watch the kids together almost 100% of the time. But the point is, I CAN take a break and just leave – my kids aren’t preventing me, I’m CHOOSING how to spend my days. That being said, childcare is super expensive and I know it’s not an option for everyone, in which case you may have to be more creative. But, the key (in my opinion) is to find ways that you can maintain some sense of freedom in your life.
I wish you luck in this exhausting phase of motherhood! I hope you’re able to find a great balance and do all of the things that are life-giving to you. And if not, find me on Instagram and we can complain about how impossible motherhood feels as an Enneagram 7. 😉