Saturday, January 22, 2011

What type of mother do you have?

According to Christiane Northrup, MD’s book, Mother-Daughter Wisdom, there are three general categories of mothers: nontraditional, traditional, and a combination of traditional and nontraditional (17-19).

Some Characteristics of the Traditional Mother:
- “Having babies and caring for them is the happiest and most fulfilling activity of her life.”
- Enjoys creating a home, baking cookies, being available for her children
- Doesn’t feel a need for a career or other interests
- Feels at her best when pregnant, nursing, or having their children in her home
- May go through difficulty in midlife if she feels her children no longer need her
- Often continues care-giving later in life by volunteering or caring for grandchildren

Some Characteristics of the Nontraditional Mother
- “primarily turned inward toward meeting creative needs that come from deep within her.”
- Needs to take care of own creative needs to be “emotionally balanced and physically healthy.”
- Motherhood and nurturing can take a physical toll on her unless she has a lot of support
- Although she loves her children, motherhood does not fulfill her

Some Characteristics of the “Combination” Mother
- Not interested in babies until having her own
- Need to pursue a career in addition to motherhood
- Shares other traits with both the Traditional and Nontraditional mothers
- Because of changes in society, some women who would be traditional mothers are forced into combination motherhood

My mother falls into the traditional mother category (Mom, you can correct me here if I'm wrong). I get the impression that she has always loved being a mother, that my brother’s and my needs were always fulfilled, that she was (and still is) always available for us. She continued care-giving when my brother and I grew up by teaching nursery school and now taking care of her granddaughter as often as she can. She certainly has interests other than just me and my brother, though. And I don’t know if she felt at her best when pregnant and nursing, but she’s always seemed content to have my brother and I (and other family) around her as frequently as possible.

I picked up on my mom’s love and dedication for motherhood at a very early age, so I have known I’ve wanted to be a mother since about age two. My favorite toys were dolls, I always cast myself as “the mother” when playing with friends as a young child, I love children and am looking forward to being a mother in the future. On the other hand, I have known since a young age that I’ve wanted to be a writer, a career woman, and that’s a goal I'm not willing to give up. Having the perfect combination of motherhood and career-hood would be the ultimate fulfilling situation for me, so therefore I imagine I will end up in the combination motherhood category.

Questions: What type of mother do you have? How has that affected you and your views on motherhood? If you are a mother yourself, what type of mother are you? What types of societal conditions affect how you feel about motherhood?

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