There’s No One Way to be a Mom

Different kids have different needs. I see it very prevalently in my two children. Everything about the girls has been unique, but it has given me a great perspective on the different types of children. More importantly, cluing into their actions helps me adapt to their needs.

Hannah and Audrey

Hannah and Audrey

I first learned about the four types of children from the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. In it, she stated that children as young as birth can demonstrate how they fall into each of the categories through their actions. By about three months, you should be able to tell if you have an Angel, Textbook, Spirited, or Touchy Baby. For me, understanding that Hannah was a Spirited baby opened the doors to connecting with her and building a bridge between her needs as a baby and my abilities as a Mom. Spirited babies, while charismatic, have an acute way of announcing and acting out on each need throughout the day. I can’t imagine having gone through my first year of motherhood without her as my coach. She served as such a strong motivator, that when my Angel baby arrived 14 months later, I jumped at the opportunity to do everything right for her.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that Audrey rarely cries. She sails through each day while I wear her and allows me to continue to focus my attention and energy on Hannah. Each girl, from the womb, has shown me her different needs. Hannah needs space, independence, and challenges because she is going to take over the world. I say that as a joke, but I see so many traits in her that I’ve watched unfold in movies with strong female heroines that I really think it’s likely. Just like her Dad, she has an acute awareness of the world that is both her greatest strength and the biggest challenge of her life.

The way I mother Hannah is to follow her lead. I teach her skills and break them down so that she can take over. Her motivation is always to help and I take advantage of that. My daily tasks take longer this way, but it’s important to me to fill our time with helping her understand the world. The second component to this is starting at a young age with instructions. She may be strong willed, but she loves to perform. Simple games like reaching our hands to the sky or shaking an egg near different body parts are helping her learn to listen and follow along. Some day she will be a leader, but she won’t get there without first mastering these skills.

On the other hand, the way I mother Audrey is simple. We follow an easy rotation of eat, play, sleep throughout the day. Generally, she wakes up bright eyed and then gets even happier after I feed her. She loves to play on the floor and watch her sister. I can devote time to her and Hannah by asking Hannah to follow along with a diaper change. We also play with Hannah’s toys. Audrey can perch on her belly to reach for objects or sit in my lap. If you’re wondering how I occupy Hannah while I feed Audrey, at home I read books with her on the couch. When we’re out, I nurse Audrey in the carrier so that I can chase after Hannah.

The reason I say that there’s no one way to be a Mom is because there’s no one way to be a kid either. However, children are built with unique ways of telling us their needs. Plus, they have such a cute physique that we can’t help but want to take care of them. All children can be good children, just like at heart, all Moms are good Moms. When we take the time to understand and listen to a child, we find out exactly the type of Mom s(he) needs.

11 comments on “There’s No One Way to be a Mom

  1. I think I need to read this book! My kids are so different. I find I am parenting to their needs but could definitely use some guidance.

  2. How insightful! I need to read that book – we’re at a disadvantage with Little Dude because we got him as a foster child when he was about to turn 4 – he’s now 5 (and officially adopted by us) and we’re struggling with figuring out how he ticks and how to turn his constant misbehavior into good behavior. It’s such a challenge! And he’s definitely the polar opposite of Princess Nagger – but we’re also at an advantage with her having actually given birth to her. 😉

  3. Lauryn says:

    What a beautiful post Jeannette! Being a mom absolutely made me a better person. Before that, I think some people (including myself) feel like they have all the answers. They question why others take certain actions or act certain ways. Becoming a mother made me lose all judgement. There is no judging in this household. My three kids are so very different. I have a spirited one, a touchy one, and an angel one and I enjoy trying each day to find out what they need and help them be who they are. Thanks for writing this!

    • ecoincognito says:

      You are absolutely right! Watching children helps understand adult behaviors. I’ve learned more about my husband from watching my daughter than anything else. She’s teaching me to look for the heartful motivations behind what I see. Hopefully, he learns more about me as Audrey grows up since she’s my mini.

  4. We have boy/girl twins and promised ourselves we would raise them the same. It didn’t take long before we realized that even though we were not following the gender stereotypes, we were raising each kid based on their needs and abilities. Each kid is wonderfully unique and we love them all the more for it.

  5. Heather M says:

    Totally agree! Each kid needs parented differently. I think it causes a lot less frustration when we realize each child is unique and needs approached in his/her own unique way.

  6. Great post! I agree that all children are different and that there is no one size fits all approach to mothering!

  7. ginabad says:

    Really interesting! I LOVED that book when my kids were born. I believe you – Amelia didn’t cry either. We literally had to feed her on a schedule since we had no idea she was hungry. First BIG cry-I was home alone and she was 2 weeks old, and apparently had trapped gas. I was freaking out! But it was smooth sailing after that. With Zoe, I thought she was spirited, but it was actually sensory issues – so on one hand I loved the book, on the other, it shielded me from seeing something I wish I’d caught earlier. Oh well 🙂

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