Confessions of a Type-A Mother

I have a serious problem.  I love productivity.  I really do.  I don’t like to sit down during the day because I just love to get things accomplished.  I love schedules, lists, and organization.  I love doing things in advance.  I was the girl in the front row who had the essay ready a week before the due date.  I arrive 10 minutes early everywhere I go.  I’m thinking about my big plans until the very last minute before closing my eyes to sleep.

The problem is that I think everyone else likes to (or should) live like this.  

My oldest daughter is, let’s just say, relaxed about her life.  She likes to create, dream, and just be.  She can sit and hold a cat for an hour and think about daisies.  Nothing feels urgent in her world.  This drives me absolutely crazy.

Lately, I’ve been a lunatic mother when it comes to her.  From the moment she arrives home from school, I have her life planned out:  music practice, homework, reading, exercise, Bible verses for church, cleaning her room.  Every minute is planned and productive, just the way I like it.

Just the way I like it.  Type A mothers might need to learn from my confession.  Not everyone likes to live like we do.  I’m seriously beginning to consider the notion that some people live differently.  They are patient, relaxed, and refuse to live under a sense of urgency.  Who are these strange creatures under my roof who feel no urgency? 

Everything is urgent to me. 

What would it look like to honor and embrace different personality types, especially within my own family?

She walks in from school, and I keep my mouth shut.  No orders, no plan, and no directing.  This is her life, not mine.  I begin my own writing work and live out my type-A urgent insanity privately.  In a parallel universe over there, I find my daughter has decided to play her flute and then put on an elaborate fashion show with her sister.  Then she sets up an imaginary school.  I’m pretty sure she’s doing homework inside the imaginary school.  

She’s just herself. And I’m myself.  I’m praying I learn how to celebrate her personality.  Any advice?

Journal:  How can a mother let her children live their own lives?  Is it wrong to constantly urge children to do their homework and accomplish more and more each day?

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  1. I have no experience with children but do with dogs. One old man Coonhound loves to BAWL – he has no inside voice. What do I do? “QUIET!” I bawl back. I just read an article that doing this only reinforces his bawling. I, too, need to re-prioritize how I respond to this dog; his priorities? food, the couch, food, a dog bed…..I tell myself – quiet, please and reward him with attention when he is quiet.

  2. “She can sit and hold a cat for an hour and think about daisies.” Made me laugh out loud. Loved this, Heather.

    Advice? Sounds to me like you know exactly what to do. What a sensitive and intuitive mother you are.

    (BTW…have you read Ann Voskamp's “One Thousand Gifts”?)

  3. Some kids are driven to “accomplish more and more each day.” Others like to enjoy their cats while they dream big dreams in their minds. It's hard sometimes to let them be who God made them to be when it's different than what He made you to be. But it sounds like you've figured it out. She's a lucky girl to have such a thoughtful mother!