So what is all the buzz with the Enneagram? The enea… .whatta? Yes, I was a little confused when everyone started asking me what my number was. The Enneagram is an ancient system of 9 personality types that are interconnected. These different personalities are characterized by what motivates you and how you see the world. I am not an expert on the subject, but the revelation that I experienced once I knew my number was worth sharing. This tool not only helped me become self-aware of unhealthy cycles within my life but also equipped me to love and mother my family specifically for who they are. My husband and I listened to Know Your Number by Suzzane Stabile while on a no kids weekend trip to Oklahoma City. It is hard to believe that someone can explain your inner thoughts and motivations so accurately, but once Suzanne started describing threes on the Enneagram, I knew, that was me!
A three is a performer they have an infinite amount of energy, and they feel that they must perform in order to earn love from others. They find their worth in accomplishment and are the queens of multitasking. They can change themselves to become whatever is asked or needed of them. Leaving them to wonder who am I? I am all these things that others need me to be, but who am I? Once I looked more into my number, I realized why being a stay-at-home mom had been more than a struggle for me. Being a stay-at-home mom has no sense of accomplishment on a day-to-day basis. I was working myself crazy trying to do all the things and make it look effortless all the while I really wasn’t accomplishing anything. All the food I made was eaten. The house was hopefully just as clean at the end of the day, but most days it wasn’t. And when my little man needed my undivided attention, I couldn’t multitask (my hidden talent), because he wouldn’t fall for it. He would continue to say my name, “Mom, Mom, Mom,” until I stopped what I was doing, got on his level and looked him in the eye.
Being present and focusing on one thing is not something I do well. Mix that with my overwhelming desire to be the best mom, and I was in a cycle of failure and shame. Learning about the Enneagram allowed me to realize this is how I was built and that it was OK. Fasting or doing a 21 Day Reset as I wrote about last month has helped me slow down and work on being present. I have learned to find pockets in my day when I can multitask and do what I do well, which is trying to do everything. There are also parts of the day when I work on being present and spending one-on-one time with the boys. Knowing that being in the present moment is something I have to work on and that I am not a bad mom because it didn’t come naturally was a relief.
Every number experiences life and specifically motherhood differently. Twos, the Helper, for example, may look like they excel as mothers. They are feelers and place everyone else’s need above their own, often forgetting their needs altogether. This number can also be known to “help” too much. Ones, the Perfectionist, strive for perfection and tend to be hard on those around them that fall short. They also have to live with an inner critic, continually telling them how they could have done better. Can you imagine as a new momma having a relentless inner critic, critiquing all the wins and failures of motherhood? I’m sure some of you know exactly what that is like. How valuable would it be to be aware of the different numbers as we raise our children and stand alongside other mothers on this journey?
Knowing the Enneagram has also allowed me to know when I am trying to do too much and need to slow down. We pull towards the traits of other numbers in stress or security. So when you are overtaxed, you actually can pull negative traits from another number. When we are feeling secure, we can take on the strengths and characteristics of another number. How valuable would it be to know the signs of being overtaxed to watch for in yourself and loved ones around you?
What I love most about the Enneagram is that there isn’t a bad or good number, it shows us how our worldviews are innately different. It is an encouraging tool, as I raise two very different boys, to learn how I can love them individually and specifically for who they are and how they see the world. It also helped me understand my husband better. If anything this tool teaches us how to become more self-aware and how to extend grace to others that see the world differently than we do. Below I have linked some of my favorite resources, but they are really infinite.