I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. This should be nothing new to those of you who know me…I was always much more likely to sit inside than head out for recess. I always loved studying and genuinely enjoyed going to class. Although I’m glad to be done with school, my inner nerd comes out every once in awhile.

I was in a training session for work the other day and we took a learning styles assessment. I love personal assessments, because they teach me to think about my own style in new ways. I don’t think I learned anything groundbreaking from this particular assessment, but there was a section about learning styles and parenting that I thought was interesting. Also, for other nerds out there, you can read more about learning styles and experiential learning here.

We all learn and make sense of the world in different ways. There are four learning styles (learning by doing, learning by experiencing, learning by reflecting, and learning by thinking). You can probably think of your preferred learning style just from the descriptions. When we parent, we will most often teach in the style that we prefer. But are we being sensitive to how our children would like to learn? Or should we try to strengthen weaker styles with our kids? Here is a brief description of the styles for kids:

Learning Styles

After reading through the styles, do you have any inclinations about your kids? Of course, the best approach with your kids is using a blend of styles. Interesting stuff, huh? Told you I was a nerd.

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Naomi sent me this article to post on our Facebook page which I will do… but first I have some things that I would like to say on this topic.  I wasn’t planning on writing a post today so this might be a little ranty.

Working Mom (WM) vs Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

I work.  Darby goes to day care that is about a half-mile from my office and maybe 2 miles from my house.  Before I had Darby I was 100% certain that I wanted to work after she was born.

Mama and BabyMy maternity leave was three months long.  When Darby turned two-months old it hit me that I’d be going back to work and would not be with her all day.  The thought of sending her to daycare made me cry — just, like, out of the blue I would think about it and cry. (You know you did the same…) I think there is often the assumption that moms who work want someone else to care for their baby for part of the day.  They want to be free of the responsibility and burden of caring for their baby 24/7.  Or they need the money.  For me that was not the case.  I loved having that time with Darby during the day.  Like any mom, I needed a break and having my husband come home from work gave me that.  Working had nothing to do with whether or not I wanted to be with Darby.   I love my job, I work for a very family-friendly organization, but mostly I wanted time in my day to be me.  And FOR ME, working was the best way for me to do that.

***Emphasis on FOR ME***  

I think a lot about how being a WM impacts my family and our future.  My salary is decent and is more than the cost of daycare but that may not be the case once we have two kids.  Should I keep working?  Is it about the money?  Is it about how much I love my job?  What’s best for my kid(s)?

Here’s the big picture FOR ME: I want Darby to be proud of me.  In seventh grade when she has to write a paper on the person she most looks up to, I want it to be me and for good reason… not just because I’m her mom and because that is easier than researching Abraham Lincoln.  I want her to recognize that part of being a good mom to her meant being good to myself.  FOR ME, being good to myself means feeding my brain and challenging myself by working.  I want her to know that being a good wife doesn’t have to mean being Donna Reed, but it can mean being a breadwinner while also being the bread-maker.

I sit around and think about what I want for Darby and it all comes back to one thing: I want her to be herself.  How can I give her the tools to always be herself if I’m not giving myself the tools to do the same?  FOR ME being myself means working.

Then there’s the whole Dad issue… this isn’t only about working/stay-at-home MOMS anymore.  My husband has a higher earning potential than me so he most likely won’t ever be a SAHD.  But… he also has a higher earning potential than where he is now.  We — together — chose a certain lifestyle in favor of money at least for right now.  He could go earn the big bucks but it would mean long hours which would likely mean missing dinner time and bath time and play time… FOR US, this was the right choice.  It has never been and most likely will not ever be an easy choice.

I did say that money isn’t the reason that I work.  But if money were the issue, rather than sending my husband off to earn lots of money and lose time at home, I would continue to work to pay for daycare so that my husband didn’t have to miss out on family time.  No question.

Now… I’ve stayed pretty cool through this whole post.  (Hooray, Me!) But I need to lose my cool for one second.  Few things make me more angry than hearing one parent judge another parent for making a decision that they think is best for their kid(s).  To the judgey WMs and SAHMs (both are guilty): You. Have. No. Right. SHUT YOUR FACE.

Ok.  I’m cool.

FOR YOU the best thing for your family might mean being a SAHM.  Everyone is different.  I would never say that being a WM is better or being a SAHM is better.  I know what was best FOR ME. It is a personal choice and, you know what?  Babies in BOTH situations turn out just fine… and if your kid turns out to be crazy, most likely your being a WM or a SAHM had nothing to do with it.  It may have to do with how you spend the time you DO have with your kid(s).

How do you feel about your choice to be a WM or a SAHM?

INTP.

For all you psychology majors out there, you know what that means. It’s my personality summed up in a nutshell according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, an INTP tends to be quite and reserved and keep their focus on the big picture instead of the details. INTPs also give more weight to objective criteria as opposed to personal preference and try to delay important decisions in order to keep their options open should circumstances change.

Before kids, I was happy with my little ole INTP life. I was used to it. I knew how I dealt with certain situations and I knew what things made me comfortable and uncomfortable. I had built a life with a husband who understood, respected, and was compatible with my personality. Enter: The kids.

Once we had children, everything changed. Gone were the days of my predictable INTP life. I had gone from zero kids to four in a matter of 16 months and Dr. Myers and Dr. Briggs just didn’t know how to categorize me anymore. I was a walking personality disaster courtesy of the changes multiple children brought to my life. Who was I anymore? Definitely NOT an INTP. My tendency to be quite and reserved was moved aside in order to make room for a more gregarious personality that was necessitated by four children. I couldn’t be quiet when chaos was constantly erupting around me. I also couldn’t be shy and reserved when I had strangers approaching me to offer everything from advice to scathing comments when they would see me with four small children in public. I now lived my life from detail to detail instead of the INTP philosophy of focusing on the big picture. There was also no more delaying when it came to making important decisions. If a choice had to be made, it had to be made NOW … no more hemming and hawing over the possibilities and future options.

Where was my nice, predictable life that I had grown so accustomed to? I now found myself conversing with complete strangers, only thinking as far ahead as the next meal or nap time, and making important decisions in a matter of seconds. The introduction of four little people into my life had made me into a completely different person. Someone I didn’t know. At first, I wasn’t sure how to handle these changes. I liked the old me. But you know what? I liked these four new little people in my life too. I liked them a lot. And if a little change of personality was what was needed to bring them into my life, I figured I could handle this “new” me. I could hatch from my safe little INTP shell and become something that would mesh with my kids and my new, now crazy, life.

So now what’s my personality type? Who knows! It changes daily with whatever circumstance I’m placed in. I’ve learned to love the unpredictability and just roll with the punches. I guess you could say I’ve morphed from an INTP into a PALS (Peyton-Adah-Luke-Sam). The kids determine my personality now. And I’ve come to embrace and love it. They are a part of me and have changed my life in the process. My personality is a reflection of them … and I’m only better for it.