My first job after graduating college was being a member of the prestigious Management Development program for the MBNA Corporation. I was one of twenty-three newly graduated college students going through the program.
During our first week of work, we took one of those professional personality tests. The test categorizes your personality in one of four categories: a panther, owl, dolphin or peacock.
A panther is known for being a goal setter and go getter. They are all business. An owl is concerned with only the facts. They are very pragmatic and analytical. A dolphin is a bridge builder. The dolphin is family oriented. It is hard to separate the dolphin from family or friends. They are extremely dedicated. The peacock person is a networker and is very social. They are bubbly and love to be around people.
The results of the test were very interesting. Twenty-one of my co-workers personalities either fell into the panther or owl category. One of my co-worker’s personality was that of a peacock, and then there was me. I was the lone dolphin in the group. When our administrator read the results everyone just stared at me and the peacock.
The administrator informed our group that most Management Development participants are either a panther or owl, very rare are the dolphins and peacocks. She went on to say that the dolphins and peacocks should be cherished, for those are the personalities that bring about balance and positive energy.
So, I am a dolphin… I mean, I was a dolphin when I was twenty-two. I wonder if I would still be a dolphin now, at the age of thirty-five filling out that questionnaire. What does this mean about my mothering style? I realize that all mothers are different, but does this make me extremely different compared to my fellow panther and owl mothers?
There is a lot of buzz around the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother written by Amy Chua. The book focuses on the author’s belief that Chinese mothering is superior to that of Western culture. I have not personally read the book yet, I have it on hold at our local library. I’ve read the article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“. In the article, Chua discusses and defends her parenting methods.
The tiger, the living symbol of strength and power, generally inspires fear and respect. Chua equates her parenting methods to that of a “tiger.” She believes that children should not attend a sleepover, not have any play-dates, watch TV or play computer games, get any grade less than an A and so on.
In the United States many mothers refer to themselves as a “mother bear.” The “mother bear” fiercely protects her child. I can relate to that. Since becoming a parent, I feel as though I am not just a dolphin anymore. I think maybe I am a bit of all of the animal personalities combined: dolphin, owl, panther, peacock, mother bear and even a bit of a tiger, too. Motherhood has changed me.
In the United States we use the idiom, “keeping up with the Joneses,” which refers to comparing your status to that of your neighbors. I hypothesize that too many of us mothers feel the pressure to try to keep up with what other mothers are doing. My generation, in particular, is notorious for enrolling our children in every activity under the sun, for fear that they’ll fall behind if we didn’t.
Children grow up in the blink of an eye. We are their role models, whether we are a dolphin, panther, owl, peacock, tiger or some other kind of animal. Find the good qualities in your personality and nurture them. Be proud of who you are. Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
What animal can you relate your parenting style to? Do you ever feel the pressures from other mothers or parents or feel like you are being judged?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA. Courtney can be found homeschooling on her blog, Table of Four.
Photo credit to Courtney Cappallo.