I never realized how much of a type A person I am till I became a mom. Being a type A mom can be more stressful than it has to be. Hopefully as I share my experience with you, you’ll be able to find more peace in the craziness that is motherhood.
So, What does Type A even mean?
In my first semester of university I took the required psychology 101 class, and sat through lecture after bland lecture about very basic and watered down pyshcology theory. One topic we learned about was the difference between type A personalities and type B personalities.
In this highly generalized (and not very current) theory type B people are the relaxed, chill, no agenda types. Type A’s are described mostly as individuals in high stress jobs who have anger issues, high blood pressure, and no room in their schedule for fun. Basically, I imagined Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter or another such portly business man always on the go, and constantly yelling into a cell phone. I was confused that neither type seemed to describe me. What I didn’t know at the time is that instead of being only two separate compartments, types A and B fall on a gradual spectrum where I fall further on the Type A side than I originally thought.
As a Type A Mom I have to manage stress.
I think one of the reasons I never realized how much of a type A person I am is simply because I have never had the same kind of career goals that are stereotypical of type A personalities. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, which isn’t traditionally seen as a high stress job.
When we moved in with my mother-in-law (who falls much closer to type B side of the spectrum than I do) I saw how easy it was for her to relax and enjoy the moment even without a schedule, a long to-do list, a meal plan, or endless projects. Without those things I feel stressed and anxious. I began to realize I might be more of a type A mom than I thought.
With this realization came an awakening to the strategies that help me enjoy being a mom.
These strategies aren’t about changing my personality. That would be silly, and it would take away from what makes me unique. They are the things that help me rock my type A mom-ness without letting my tendency towards high stress steal my joy.
However, it isn’t always possible to do any or all of these. I’m developing the ability to let go of stress when plans fail and organization isn’t available. I’m learning to embrace the chaos. If you are often stressed out by motherhood (and who isn’t sometimes?) these strategies may help you as well, but remember they are to help. If you find yourself stressing about implementing strategies that are supposed to help, remember that a little disorganization is okay (easier said than done).
1. Have a Plan
It seems that half of my stress comes from not knowing what I’m going to make for dinner, or eat for breakfast even when I’m starving and I don’t have time to come up with something. I realized that I can enjoy cooking and skip the stress when I have a very detailed meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes I don’t follow it, but it helps me to know I have a plan if I can’t think of something to cook in the moment. There are many stressful mommy situations that become manageable for me if I have a plan.
2. Use Naptimes Productively (Most of the Time)
I have realized that my type A personality causes me to feel more anxious and stressed when I don’t get much done during the day. While I shouldn’t measure the quality of the day by how many tasks I check off my to-do list, sometimes just simply being productive helps me be a happier mom. However, I realize that even though I enjoy being productive, on some days I still need to slow down and relax. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you.
3. Focus on what I CAN control
Being a mom can be difficult for me because I like to input A and get B result. Motherhood is not that simple. Babies are complex and they are all different. I feel uncomfortably uncertain sometimes because I’m not sure what to do in so many different scenarios. If I can manage to focus on what I’m in control of (myself, my attitude, my breakfast, etc) then I can feel more able to let go of the things I can control. I’m still working on this one. 🙂
4. Learn to Just Sit
The last strategy may be the hardest for someone who always wants to be doing something, like me. It’s important for me to just sit with L and be with him while he plays sometimes. I get to watch and get to know him. I get to show him I want to be with him. Sometimes I struggle with this because I feel like I’m wasting time. But, when I make myself do it I find I can take in the moments that make motherhood so beautiful.
I hope you remember that I’m just a young mom who’s trying to figure out who I am as a mother. I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly don’t follow my own advice 100% of the time. I hope reading the things that help me will in turn help you. Writing them enables me to internalize them, and is therapeutic for me.
What are things that help you minimize stress as a mom?
Disclaimer: I am not a phycologist or a doctor so I don’t pretend to make any recommendations as such. These tips are simply my opinion, and may or may not help someone else.