The Enneagram and Motherhood: “The Loyalist” (Type 6)

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From The Enneagram Institute: “The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. At their best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.”

When I first began learning about the Enneagram, I was reluctant to jump on board the bandwagon. I was intrigued by it, but I didn’t exactly see the benefits of identifying what number I was. As much as I tried to ignore the Enneagram, every podcast, Instagram story, and many conversations kept bringing them up, so I decided to study up a bit on what each number meant so that I could be Enneagram literate in conversations. Through the research, I uncovered much more than literacy in discussing the Enneagram, I discovered that some of the struggles I have experienced since becoming a mother make so much more sense.

I discovered that I am a Six. When I discovered this about myself, I immediately was disappointed. Why couldn’t I be a Two? I wanted to be considered the compassionate, generous mom, or a Seven, the fun-loving spontaneous mom. Why was I the boring “prepared for everything” mom? I felt quite self-conscious that I might be viewed as defensive, indecisive and anxious. Well, it turns out that while I am reliable and responsible, I am also cautious and anxious. So, even though I have uncovered a few of the things that are not so admirable, I have found that if I can embrace some of the “boring” aspects of being a Six, these are traits that I find so comforting about myself as a mom.

The quick way to describe a Six is as a Loyalist. I commit to something and don’t even consider switching gears. I find a brand of make-up, deodorant, or clothing, and will buy it for infinity. Switching things up isn’t on my radar. I often need to chat with all of my friends and family before I make a decision, and need to consider every side of the situation before committing, but once I have committed, I will be the most loyal of customers, church attendees, or employees. I am usually uninterested in trends. I could care less what brand of lipstick the IG influencers are touting. The only trends that become important to me are the ones that my friends in real life are using. Relationships are of the utmost importance.

The “worst case scenario” is the default mode for my Six mom brain. As a mom to 2 boys, I have thought through every unsafe situation that they could possibly get themselves into. I gave them a 5-minute lecture on playing Hide and Seek with a neighbor boy. I needed them to understand it isn’t safe to hide in a box, freezer, or other item that may shut on them. They were instructed to come out if they heard me yelling for them, just in case they were abducted or injured and we didn’t know how long they were missing. I am telling you….I can imagine every little thing that can go wrong!

I have come to realize that I do not need to be embarrassed when my friends (who are not Sixes) poke fun at me for being prepared for anything. I keep up with appointments and am never late. I love to plan birthday parties and think about every last detail. I am not late for deadlines or events. My laundry is always caught up, and because I buy clothes ahead of the seasons, when my kids grow out of one size, I have the next size ready to go. I find comfort in being prepared, and am teaching my boys the same. Just don’t look in my closets, drawers, or scrapbooks. Our drawers are all disastrous, even after Marie Kondoing them. I find scrapbooks an extremely important way to document our family life, yet they are years behind.

Fear is a constant in the mind of a Six. We fear both the illogical and the logical. I feared dropping my newborn baby down the stairs, so I avoided stairs for any reason for months after bringing my newborns home. We fear not being liked, forgotten about, and worry about everything. We have exit routes for every restaurant, hotel, and museum. When a friend is busy and forgets to text back, it takes a lot of courage to text back the next day. While some people might think that Sixes are the most cowardly of Enneagram numbers, I feel like it is the exact opposite….we are fearful of so many things in life, but we do them scared. The bravery it takes to let go of your fears and let your kids experience the world, is actually a demonstration of strength.

Loyalty, dependability, and being an expert trouble shooter are some admirable qualities in a mama. Sure, there are some aspects that I don’t love about my personality, but being aware helps me to embrace them and grow into the best version of myself. And that makes me the best mom for my boys. Everyone wins. And that’s what my persistent troubleshooting is after anyway. 

Loyalist Mom Profile:

Theme Song for Enneagram Type 6 & Favorite Line:  “Brave” by Nichole Nordeman.

“The way it always was, is no longer good enough, You make me want to be brave.”

Favorite Book & Why:  A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. I usually only read self-help/personal growth books. I feel like I am always striving for self improvement. This book has given me a framework for reducing the extra in my life, and focusing on what really matters.

Your kid falls off their bike and comes running to you in tears. How do you respond? My kids would obviously never ride a bike without a helmet, because I’m “Safety Sally.” If they fall off, I would be nearby, so even if I didn’t see it, I could be there in a few seconds. I would get them cleaned up and give them a big hug and kiss. I would encourage them to try again, but if they didn’t want to, I would completely understand. 

What’s in your purse right now (with pic for proof!):

  • Sunglasses
  • My wallet (with coupons for restaurants and stores)
  • First aid kit
  • Pencil and pen
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Shout wipes
  • Bug spray
  • Compact
  • Tissues
  • Wipes (even though I haven’t changed a diaper in over 4 1/2 years)
  • Pouch with lipsticks, hand sanitizer, feminine products, and nail files

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