The Enneagram and Motherhood: “The Challenger” (Type 8)

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From the Enneagram Institute: “Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.”

Are you the head of the PTA?

Do you rule the household with an iron fist?

Have you ever been told you are brutally honest?

Then you, my friend, could be an Eight a.k.a. “The Challenger”.

Speaking from experience, parenting as an Eight can be a real adventure. If you do a quick internet search, you will find that words that describe us are things like “control”, “independent”, “perfectionist”, “protective”, “assertive”, and “dominant”.  Those are wonderful attributes if you are running a prison…er… home.  Needless to say, these hoodlums someone placed in my house seriously test my patience on the regular, but you can bet they are generally well-behaved.  I would consider myself a mama bear, and tough love is my kind of love. (Don’t worry, my kids get hugs!).

My high standards carry over to the classroom and extra-curricular activities. I expect both my 12 and 5-year-old to perform well and face challenges head on. Yes, I totally think that it should be fun as well and no, we don’t always have to win/get straight A’s.  For me, it’s more about the effort we put into our actions. Real life: I have a brilliant child who doesn’t always try super hard at school and IT KILLS ME! As an Eight, my ambition can carry over to my children and like any parent, I want them to be their very best. So, if there’s no try, that can cause some commotion in the Taylor household.

When it comes to communicating (with anyone) I enjoy the direct approach. While I may not love it, I don’t mind confrontation and welcome the opportunity to “clear the air” as needed. I am that friend that you come to when you want an honest opinion on a dress or a boyfriend. I never mince words, and I tell it like it is. My kids have learned to love/hate that about me, but they know they get the real answers they are seeking whether it’s about the reproductive system or what I think of their friends. Direct communication is also what I expect from my partner, who is definitely an emotionally and mentally strong individual. Side note – my last birthday card to him said: “You deserve an award for putting up with me”. 

Like any Eight, I am very independent and decisive so when I lose this ability it leads to Eight’s biggest fear: vulnerability. Listen, it is incredibly difficult for me to put myself in a situation where I must (gasp!) ask for help or give up control. The thing is, it’s not about doing it all myself, but more about knowing that I can, in fact, do it myself if needed. Simply having the ability can put my mind at ease, but it can cause conflict, especially with my partner.

What can I say? I am a work in progress.

So, what’s not to love? Eights are protective, ambitious leaders who need a little help occasionally letting lose and giving up control.  We are fiercely loyal and will totally give you advice on that guy you are dating but should definitely dump. Needless to say, everyone needs a Challenger in their lives!

Challenger Mom Profile:

Theme Song for Enneagram Type 8 & Favorite Line:
I am stuck between “Control” by Janet Jackson or “I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing” by James Brown. 

Janet says: “When it has to do with my life/I wanna be the one in control”, which is for sure me!

But James gets me when he says: “Don’t give me degeneration/Give me true communication/Don’t give me sorrow/I want equal opportunity/To live tomorrow”.

It speaks to my justice driven (another 8 quality) side.  Plus, he says “I’ll get it myself” a lot in the song, which is basically my catchphrase!

Favorite Book & Why: Favorite, so far  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson.  After writing this, I am attributing my love of the series to the heroine, Lisbeth, who is a complete badass and literally avenging not only herself but others. She’s FIERCE.

Your kid falls off their bike and comes running to you in tears. How do you respond?
My response is usually: “Are you bleeding or broken?” and if all is well, it’s a quick pat on the back without much fuss. I am also a nurse, so my poor kids have a double whammy!

What’s in your purse right now: 
I alternate between having a large purse with a travel pharmacy and a small fanny pack (on trend, duh) with necessities only.  You’ve caught me with the latter:

  • Airpods
  • Keys (including library cars & Stabby Kitty)
  • Wallet
  • Chapstick(s)
  • Pen
  • Ponytail
  • Not pictured: iPhone

Enneagram 8

Want to read more about the other Enneagram types? Click here!

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Born & raised in South America, Luisa has been calling Wichita "home" since middle school. Home is where she met her husband, Whit, and had her babies Eli (11) & Ellie (4). She is a nurse who received her BSN from Newman, MPH from Creighton, decided she enjoyed paying student loans, and enrolled in a DNP program which she hopes will come to an end in 2020. She loves volunteering and is a self-proclaimed activist. She prides herself in her uncanny ability to wait until the very last second to do things, yet still maintain three color-coded calendars. She laughs at her own (hilarious) jokes. Her favorite hobby is sleeping.

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