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Are some personality types naturally more suited to having DC's than others?

(47 Posts)
oneplusone Sun 09-Aug-09 13:58:26

I have recently had some lightbulb moments regarding myself and my DC's. I have struggled with DD from day 1, she is now 6. After much thought I have realised that I am the sort of person who likes peace and quiet, time to think, calm, order, whilst at home. I am definately an introvert.

Having children inevitably involves mess, noise, disorder, endless chatter, playdates, lots of people in the house etc etc.

If i was an extrovert i would probably thrive on the typical lifestyle that children bring with them. But i find it really hard as nearly everything to do with children goes against what i naturally prefer. I find the holidays very hard as it's full on children all the time, term time is so much better for me as I get some space and peace and quiet for 6 hours a day (although DS is not at school yet, but he's a quiet child, unlike extrovert DD).

I have a feeling that my personality will find it easier and more natural to be a parent when the DC's are much older and we can have proper conversations and they are doing interesting things at school/college/uni/work. I definately am not suited to the early years or primary school years either.

Pendulum Sun 09-Aug-09 14:12:43

hi oneplusone, I have been thinking the same recently. My DDs are 5 and 2 and I do find it difficult to cope with the noise and mess. I am also naturally averse to having new people over so find playdates a bit of a nightmare.

More than anything I need some time to reflect plan and (in my dreams) read the paper quietly rather than bombing through the day at breakneck speed. I often feel as though I spend the whole of my time with the children reacting to them rather than taking the initiative myself. I have noticed that my friends who relish the whole thing more than me are often those who grew up in an 'open house' atmosphere and like nothing more than dealing with unplanned contingencies!

Luckily I work PT in an interesting job and am able to achieve a workable balance where I get to plan my own time and work in near-silence for half the week (and even read that paper in my lunch hour!) It's not clear from your post whether you feel seriously ground down by this or are just making an observation, but if the former then maybe this is a possibility worth considering? Like you though, I am banking on it all becoming a lot easier (and quieter) when the DDS are older and a bit less dependent....

oneplusone Sun 09-Aug-09 14:29:26

hi pendulum, my DC's are just 6 and 3, so we are in the same boat. I am also naturally averse to big crowds and lots of people around but with my extrovert DD, i am forced to socialise a lot as she thrives on attention and lots of company and lots going on all the time.

I was feeling very ground down by the whole thing, to the point where i feel i had some sort of mental breakdown on day 3 of the summer hols as i had been deprived of my usual time to myself that i would normally get when DD's at school.

I don't work. I am glad for your sake that you work part time, i can fully understand how it probably saves your sanity. I too dream about reading the paper in peace and quiet in my lunch hour (or even having a lunch hour right now would be good).

Right now though i am in heaven! DH and the DC's have gone to his parents for the week! I have a whole week all to myself to do as i please and i am loving it! It's only because i have some head space that i am able to take a step back and work out why i am finding this (motherhood) all so hard and not really enjoyable at all. It's like i am constantly pulling against myself if that makes any sense?

I notice the extrovert mums at school, and am sure they thrive on having noisy, messy, chattering DC's around and some of them have told me they miss them when the holidays are over. Whereas I heave a huge sigh of relief and feel glad that we will have some sort of order and routine in our lives again and i will have peace and quiet and time to myself whilst DD's at school and DS is at nursery.

PinkTulips Sun 09-Aug-09 14:40:12

I could have written your post oneplusone!

Myself and dp are very introverted people, we like our quiet and our time to ourselves. We don't mind mess but prefer to have order to be able to relax and we're very rational people who thrive on logic and reason.

Poor dd simply isn't suited to us as parents i think, she's loud, brashy, quick to fight and argue and impossible to reason with. She thrives on mess and noise.

ds1 on the other hand loves nothing more than snuggling up under a blanket on the couch, preferably with one of us to cuddle up with and is very easy to reason with unless he's having a very bad day (and at barely 3 he's allowed a few of those wink). He can be loud and boisterous obviously but it's not the constant chaos that surrounds dd.

ds2 is only a baby but appears to be a quiet soul as well.

It's not dd's fault and it's not ours, we just clash personality wise and the result is that we find her far more work than the boys sad

FlyMeToDunoon Sun 09-Aug-09 14:42:11

I agree. I am fiery and don't suffer fools easily. Not that my children are fools but the natural behaviour of children is often irrational and very irritating to me.
I am not a great housewife so although I am not driven crazy by not having a spotless house, I am driven crazy by having to constantly tidy and clean.
I too like to sit quietly and read the paper or my book.
I have a limited supply of patience and I find games boring.
So really not suited to the years between say 1 and 5.

PinkTulips Sun 09-Aug-09 14:45:22

Hopefully someone can come along and reassure us that once they become teens and want nothing to do with us it does become much easier for our personality types.

I remember weekends in my parents house involved us all sat at far sides of the house reading, watching tv or just generally pottering about and only interacting at several hourly intervals.... BLISS!

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 14:58:05

But surely the reasoning is a bit screwy? I think lots of people struggle with parenting because it's hard work and a bit endless and family life is fraught with tension and difficulty as well as pleasures. I don't suppose one 'personality type' - whatever that maybe - is better suited to being a mother than another.

Once you get over that idea - then you can just get on with the being the parent you are.

This goes as well for having children you perceive as being different to you. That's the point! That's supposed to happen. That's what ultimately makes it interesting as well as difficult. There's no boilerplate that you are failing to live up to. There's no formula that you have failed to fit into. It doesn't work that way.

Shelve the idea that everyone else finds having noisy, argumentative, extrovert children about the place a delightful experience. Have confidence. Embrace the differences. Get on with liking your children, working out how you can parent as best you can in the way you do.

Get over the personality type thing.

FlyMeToDunoon Sun 09-Aug-09 15:10:47

I do think though that some types of person find parenting less stressful.
Actually I have always thought it was more generous, patient and somehow unfazed people.
Hope that doesn't insult anybody.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:17:07

Well I disagree. I think that's just a classic 'everyone else is doing this better than me' feeling - and in this case it's deemed to be because that mother is more patient and generous and easy-going than I think I am. Which, in turn, is a projection from a lack of confidence.

That mother you think has a personality type which makes her 'suited' to having children, is probably finding the constant demands and the fact she can't read a book in peace just as difficult as you. As everyone, in fact.

FlyMeToDunoon Sun 09-Aug-09 15:19:49

Well who is that mother that I know in the playground saying 'oh I'm so glad its the holidays when I can have the DCs all to myself'
and 'oh I love playing games with my DCs' and 'Oh they are soooo sweet at this age aren't they'
She loves it all.
I don't.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:20:38

But it doesn't mean you are a worse mother than her, does it?

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:22:13

I think I'm a good enough mother, I like my children very much indeed.

But I also don't like playing games with them and I'm pleased when they go back to school at the end of the holidays, because I like the peace and quiet which goes with their absence. None of these make me a bad mother, far from it. They make me a perfectly sane and reasonable person. smile

flatcapandpearls Sun 09-Aug-09 15:23:45

I think inevitably some people and personalities are better suited to parenting than others. But I dont think it is about being introvert or extrovert necessarily. I certainly dont have a personality suited to parenting, mainly because I am naturally quite selfish and not particularly patient. But I probably look from the outside like one of the confident uber mums as dd often has other children around.

I think you just need to be honest about your "flaws" and find a way to be a good parent in spite of them.

I think I actually agree with what you're saying, because I don't think I would so much enjoy (or find "natural" or however you want to put it) being a parent to my ds if he wasn't so very much like me in character.

He's still very young (2.5) so this may all change drastically, I know, but so far I have to say that we actually get on and I really enjoy spending time with him. I'm sure that if he was more like eg my niece, ie quite loud, very sociable, needing a lot of entertaining, I would find it more difficult.

Interesting OP. Am going to go off and think some more about this...

FlyMeToDunoon Sun 09-Aug-09 15:27:10

I don't think anyone said it made them a better or worse parent. Just not as suited to it.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:27:26

Yes, some people are - perhaps. But I warrant it's not as straight-forward for them as lots of people perceive it as being.

I actually don't think I believe in 'personality types'.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:29:25

But doesn't being ill-suited to something mean you are less good at it?

Anyway, I still don't think there are some personality types which are better suited to parenthood. It's too bald and blunt an idea.

Families and mothering and people are more subtle than that, and there are a thousand different factors which go into you and your dc.

flatcapandpearls Sun 09-Aug-09 15:33:06

No I don't think there are either hundredtimes as our personality is rarely consistent across different social situations. In the workplace I am known for being patient, gentle almost snow white like. At home I am a grumpy impatient cow. Children change as well, parenting is not a consistent experience, a baby is very different to a toddler, in turn to a young child and then a teenager.

flatcapandpearls Sun 09-Aug-09 15:34:57

I don't know hundred times I am totally ill suited to being a parent but do a good job, I just have to work bloody hard at it.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:36:17

Yes, agree absolutely with you there.

parenting does challenge ideas about ourselves I think, and it can be very helpful to address those challenges - and like you said earlier, perceive the 'flaws' and work with them.

But it doesn't mean that because anyone thinks some mothers seem better 'suited' - that they are, or indeed, that you are not because of your 'personality type'.

FlyMeToDunoon Sun 09-Aug-09 15:37:37

I should think you can be ill suited to something and still do well at it. However it would be harder and make you feel differently about it.
I am not convinced that the theory is complete myself but I think it could be a part of the complex subject.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:38:22

x-post. last was to your first post.

But so do most people - in fact that might be the definition of who is suited and who is not - those who make the effort. For some in might be more effortful than for others, but only in some ways.

For every quiet and well-ordered mother who has a messy, chaotic dd, there's a noisy devil may care mother who has a fuss pot ds. Is the way of the world.

To believe it isn't so for most people, is wrong, imo.

flatcapandpearls Sun 09-Aug-09 15:39:00

Despite my flaws as a parent I do genuinely love the holidays and not just because I am a teacher grin It is my time to be , what is in my eyes, a proper parent. I love playing games with her, making things, going out for the day.

ahundredtimes Sun 09-Aug-09 15:46:00

See. I don't like playing games or making things. I do like the long days and lazy hours though, and seeing them relax and grow, and get bored, and I like the way we all interact and fill the spaces without the pressure of routines. I'm very ready for them to go back by the end. Crying out for the routine, in fact. I definitely find it all much, much easier now they are older.

I have wondered often whether the fact I like to be alone a lot means I'm a less good mother, or less suitable. But actually I've realized it's nonsense, because I'm a good mother to my dc simply because I like them - and in truth there isn't a paradigm of the 'good mother' or the suitable mother.

And that's why I think people should take confidence in themselves, rather than think they are failing or are unsuitable or that different types are better.

pigletmania Sun 09-Aug-09 15:57:47

Here here oneplusone I totally agree with this and feel the same way as you. I am so glad that i am not the only one thinking this.

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