I’m in LOVE with the Myers-Briggs system and how it’s helped me understanding people and parenting. (As an ENFP, mind you, I love EVERYTHING. Especially emojiis.). ;)
One of the knocks against the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is how it can stereotype or pigeonhole people. “We are not all the same!”
No, we aren’t.
But the MBTI isn’t asserting that people are all the same, it’s asserting that there are cognitive functions that we lean towards naturally:
How we recharge.
How we take in information and make decisions.
How we perceive and work with time.
Inside those functions we have a lot of personal preferences. I have an ENFP friend who is meticulous in her dress and makeup. Matching earrings. The whole thing.
I’m not that way.
If I even remember to look in the mirror before I leave the house it’s a special occasion. I could blame it on having kids but she has kids too, so….
That being said we are both extroverted (charged up by groups). We both are future-oriented in thinking. We assign meaning to, well, everything. And we have the same rush-around-late thing with time. We have the same “functional stack” going on in our brains.
So what does this have to do with using Myers-Briggs with your family and your parenting?
It’s all about the intent.
Set the intent for Myers-Briggs to give you new insights so you can work WITH your child and your spouse more harmoniously. Set the intent that it opens up better pathways to communication. Set the intent that it helps you love and appreciate who they are and who they are not. Set the intent that it helps you know how to best help THEM to succeed in ways that speak to them.
And then let them be the unique people they are.
That’s the win-win of Myers-Briggs. Understanding AND acceptance. Two fantastic things for a family to thrive.
If you have people living under your roof who text, try creating a texting group and labeling it as a notes thread.
Whatever you want to call it.
Since it is a separate group message that texting thread can be silenced. Now anyone can message the group day or night without it creating noise or immediate disruption.
"Please remember to replace the toilet paper if you are the last to use it."
"I moved this thing over here if you are looking for it.'
"Cleaning out the fridge on Friday. You have been warned. ;)"
Having great, clear communication about living together makes things easier but having a way to communicate that doesn't turn a regular texting thread into an annoyance, something to ignore, or something to silence?
That's an awesome use of technology.
You could use a bulletin board or white board in the hallway of course, but if no one reads it or posts on it, it doesn't work. With texting you might see better results since you have a history of what was said by whom when, you can communicate from anywhere at any time, and you can lighten up the messages with some emoji or gifs.
Even housework is easier with a laugh.
You might find that asking people to change the toilet paper roll might not be what is causing the eye rolling. Interrupting someone while they are doing something fun, relaxing, or concentrating on something else to talk about an icky job might be.
Just make sure you tell them the goal of the text thread is a happier house with less nagging, not more chores. That might make all the difference. ;)
I'm at that stage in my marriage again and I've seen it time and again in the marriages with kids around me. Heck, I've seen it three times in my own marriage so far because I spaced my kids out so much.
It's called "reconnect with spouse."
It's such a major milestone I actually put it on the calendar. In advance. Like, before I even had the baby. Once I knew I was pregnant I got out my iPhone notes and wrote something like:
2013: Have baby (late in the year)
2014: Baby Year
2015: One Year Old
2016: Two Year Old
2017: Three Year Old: Reconnect with husband.
2018: Go on retreat.
That way, when things got crazy, instead of thinking EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE OH ME OH MY OH DRAMA I could look at my note and say: Oh, it's 2014. I have a baby. My hormones are still coming back to normal, I'm sleeping when? And I have a little dude who needs constant care. So, yeah, probably not showered all of the time or spending a lot of hours hanging out with the girlfriends to recharge. But at least I can carry him around still, let's go to Harry Potter World before he can walk!
In 2016 when I had a two year old I could look at it, remember I was in the most intense toddler phase of getting-into-everything and if I could still smile or had any sense of humor despite the shenanigans and clutter and inability to go to the bathroom by myself I was winning at life.
I could also look at it and remember that when little dude was four I could go on my women's retreat again. (Yes, I *could* go before that because my awesome husband supports things like that, but *I* could not go because I would not be able to handle it until he was older. MY BABY.) This gave me something to look forward to that was just for me. Me. Me. Me.
That list was a life-saver.
It helped me remember to be easy on myself. To appreciate where I was because it would not last. To put myself on a map and realize I am not lost.
But the biggest gift it gave me was the consistent reminder that I'm not the only one going through the intense baby-toddler period, my husband is too.
Both of us are stretched with a 24/7/365 care-taking job. Both of us probably miss each other even while we are living under the same roof and sleeping in the same bed. Both of us are doing the best we can with what we have. And, once that intense period is over (usually around ages 3.5-4.5 depending on a zillion factors) we will need to take the time to dig out our relationship closet, sort through the piles that got thrown on the floor in our haste and exhaustion, and organize ourselves again for the next phase of life so that we can enter it TOGETHER.
I see so many couples fall apart once their kid (or last kid) reaches the ages of 2-4. Sometimes it's inevitable. But if:
You can reconnect after having a baby. You can.
I brought this up with my husband before we had our third child. Our oldest was nine and our youngest was five at the time and so our relationship was already full again with dates and lounging around having actual conversations about interesting things we were getting to do and think about outside of child-rearing. I knew the cycles by heart now.
I asked him directly, "Would our marriage survive this?"
If he had hesitated, even one blink, I might not have had our baby boy. I love my husband and I adore our marriage and I had zero judgement about whether or not he could take it. I was wondering if I could take it again.
He didn't blink.
My top relationship tool – the one that yields amazing results year in and year out, day in and day out, even with close-quarters living like homeschooling a family of five, is only three adjectives long.
I can't stop thinking about the six types of love the ancient Greeks had. It could be because I'm such a happy-go-lucky person that any excuse to think about love lights me up.
But it's more than that.
It's about our culture and how we let ourselves express ourselves. It's about increasing the language around love (and feelings like it) so we can identify more clearly what a person means to us – and how to know where they fit into our lives so we can stop feeling hurt, start feeling appreciation, and acknowledge the rich tapestry of life around us.
I just said "tapestry". This must be serious.
So here they are:
Do you see all the love?
When I read about this years ago the Sagittarius, ENFP, bouncy person in me squealed at the idea of ludic love. It wasn't just me! There IS love flowing around the Denny's at 1:00am after we got done with our theatre show.
But then I also felt the penny drop at seeing eros love in its own category. Had I ever confused that type of love with something else? Or something else with that type of love? Um. Yes.
Looking through the list I felt comfort in pragma, the idea that love was meant to age, change, and grow more... married.
And then I started to see the tapestry of my life rewoven again with this new clarity of love and it was.... beautiful. Perfect. My mistakes. My lost loves. My breakups. My celebrations. My marriage. My kids. My everything.
So I am sharing this with you so that you, two, can re-weave your life then, your life now, and your life to come with all the layers and beauty of love.
And, yes, I know, I said "tapestry" twice. It really is serious. :)
Agape love you!
P.S. I read about the six types of love in this article. It's really fantastic. Check it out.
If you are in a relationship that totally sucks right now... this one is for you.
Are you mad, fed up, or frustrated? Are you trying to remember why you got with this person in the first place?
Maybe they are not a spouse or love partner.
They could be your family member. Maybe even your kid. Or perhaps they are your boss and that new job just hasn't come through yet to rescue you. What I'm going to suggest will work in those types of relationships, too.
Are you ready for the secret?
Love you, Alora :)
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