Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Tale of Two Mothers

I Corinthians 12 tells us that God delights in diversity! As the body of Christ, we are called not just to put up with each other, but to celebrate our differences and to need each other.

Psychologists tell us that extroversion and introversion are among the most stable of personality traits. I want to share some info about extroverted versus introverted moms that has helped me understand my strengths and struggles as a mom, as well as the strengths and struggles of moms whose personalities differ from mine.


• Exploring the world with your young children
• Being on the go and thriving at a busy pace
• Providing your children with opportunities to be with people
• Teaching your children the importance of social skills
• Enjoying casual conversations with children; feeling free to ask them questions
• Being “in the know” when it comes to community, school, etc.
• Providing the spark to get things going and keep things moving
• Connecting and thriving in large group activities

• Being isolated at home with babies and preschoolers
• Tuning out social and other external expectations
• Worrying whether your children have enough friends and/or activities
• Overextending
• Respecting a child’s personal space
• Listening rather than talking
• Understanding an introverted child’s need for alone time


• Observing and reflecting on your children to get to know each one in depth
• Encouraging your children not to overextend
• Respecting and understanding a child’s need for time alone
• Respecting a child who’s not one of the crowd
• Providing a quiet and calming presence
• Tuning out distractions to concentrate on one child or one thing at a time
• Limiting extraneous involvements
• Standing back and watching your children be active and interact on their own

• Being outwardly focused on children and the tasks at hand
• Conflicts between the need to tune out distractions and the family’s need to interact
• Handling a large family or large groups of people
• Finding the energy to maintain the pace of active young children and adolescents
• Responding “on the spot” without time to think things through
• Being as accessible to your children as you think you should be
• Understanding an extroverted child’s need to be on the go and to think aloud

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do the strengths and struggles on these lists resonate with you?

Source: MotherStyles by Janet P. Penley



  1. Marilyn, I am not sure what I am. Confused, maybe.
    I love being with people, groups energize me. Being with people brings me joy. But I NEED time to be alone. Too much chaos sends me running.
    My husband and I were talking about this the other day and he called me a 'Functional Introvert.' That made me laugh.
    Not sure what I am. But I know I am loved by God and that's going to carry me today!


  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Karen. No personality system can ever fully capture the wonder of God's design, can it?

    I benefit from reviewing sociological evidence like this because it helps me to develop empathy for those whose struggles differ from mine.

    It also sensitizes me to the nature of my own struggles. That, in turn, points me to our God, who as you so beautifully point out, is there to meet me in the midst of those struggles.

  3. Hi! I just found this blog today through a link to Karen's blog. I love this post! As an introverted mom with 3 extroverted boys and an extroverted husband, I've struggled in the past with accepting my personality and not punishing myself about my weaknesses. These lists have put words and understanding to some of struggles. Thanks!

  4. Chris, I’m glad you found our blog! Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Like you, I found lots of encouragement in those lists. Motherhood stretches me like nothing else. One of the reasons is that there are so many times that my children need me to be strong in an area that is not a natural strength. It was freeing to realize that it’s not the struggle that is the issue. It’s how I respond to the struggle. Do I turn to God for strength in the midst of it?

    P.S. There’s another post on this topic scheduled for Monday . . . would love to hear your reactions!