Motherhood is many things: Joyful, challenging, beautiful, and bittersweet. One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that it’s no easy task. While the rewards are indeed worth it, the physical and emotional exhaustion take a toll. So for any husbands out there who wonders, “Why is my wife so tired when all she does is stay home with the kids?” or for any kids who wonder “Why does mom fall asleep on the couch in the middle of reading Little Blue Truck for the 7000th time” this post is for you.
Motherhood – At Least a Dozen Jobs Pulled Into One
While motherhood is full of joy, laughter, and beauty, it’s also more than a full-time job. Moms have to be cooks, maids, nurses, therapists, drivers, managers, and more. To say that it’s a lot of work is an understatement. And there’s no “clocking out” at 5 PM either. The job is endless! Even when moms try to sleep at night they’re awoken for 2 AM feedings or anxious thoughts about how maybe they “just didn’t do enough.” And while some people think the hardest stage of motherhood is the baby years, the teen years bring about their own unique struggles. It takes a lot of resilience and stamina to do this beautiful job well.
Modern expectations are also a hardship. A lot of pressure is put on moms to not only work and do all the things a man traditionally did in the past, but there’s pressure to still do all the things women have traditionally done. As a result, many moms are putting in full or part-time jobs while also cooking, cleaning, driving kids to school, arranging playdates, and more. “The village” has become fractured and many moms lack meaningful friendships and support groups.
If you’re reading this article and you are a mom I want you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles. Take some time to consider your support group and see if you can get help more regularly. Having friends and fellow moms to talk to helps you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles and even when you make mistakes there are people who understand and empathize with you.
Is there a grandmother, friend, or babysitter you could ask for help so you can get a break?
If your support group is nonexistent, brainstorm some ways you could meet new people so that you can feel less alone on your journey. Whether that means joining a local mom’s group, talking to a counselor, or even just scheduling some time to talk to your partner about things that are stressing you out.
Now without further ado, let’s get to the 16 personality types!
Here’s Why Every Mom is Exhausted, Based On Their Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
The ENFP Mom
This mom is tired of being the only mom at the playdate who forgot to wash the crumbs off her daughter’s face after lunch. She was so busy trying to remember the favorite stuffed animal, the fruit snacks, the sippy cup, the timeline, and every word from “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” that the crumbs just got lost in the mix. Until playdate time. When every other kid has perfectly combed hair and looks like they just walked out of a J. Crew catalog. Damn ESFJs.
ENFPs are idea-generators. They are dreamers, creatives, and inspirers. Rather than spotting the details they pay attention to the big picture and things that will ultimately matter in the long run. But so much of parenting is detail-focused. A mom has to track parent-teacher conferences, doctor check-ups, budgets, food intake, dental hygiene, hair combing, meal preferences, homework due dates, and so many other things that by the time there’s any room for imagination and wonder it feels like the day is already over and all the energy has drained from the ENFP’s body and soul.
Read This Next: Dealing with Emotional Overwhelm as an ENFP
This mom is tired of being the only mom at the playdate who laughed when one of the kids said “poop”. Everyone else just gave her a disapproving stare and said “We don’t talk about that here.” The ENTP mom is over the whole “perfect parenting” act. She knows that parenting is messy, both literally and figuratively, and she’s not afraid to embrace the chaos.
While ENTPs are known for their quick wit and sharp sense of humor they also have little patience for “keeping up appearances.” Social rules, whether enforced from playgroup or marriage, start to feel like a straight-jacket to the ENTP. She wants to look at her calendar and see some breathing room for spontaneity, not a never-ending series of structured activities and tasks.
Read This Next: 12 Amazing Fictional ENTP Characters
This mom is tired of feeling like her values are being tossed aside in the name of “tradition.” Whether she wants to homeschool and her in-laws are pushing for public school or she wants to use gentle parenting methods and her partner is convinced that “spare the rod, spoil the child” is the only way to go; the INFP mom feels like she’s constantly swimming upstream. Of course, every INFP is different and perhaps her values are pulling her in a different direction than the examples listed here.
INFPs have very strong values and when those values are challenged it can be emotionally exhausting. Add in the fact that as a society we tend to value efficiency over connection and it’s no wonder that the INFP mom feels so drained. She overthinks all her decisions, trying to find the perfect balance of what feels right for her and what expectations are being placed on her. But more often than not she ends up feeling like she can’t find a happy middle ground.
Read This Next: Dealing with Emotional Overwhelm as an INFP
This mom was lying on the floor, lost in a pleasing daydream about the principles of quantum mechanics, when her five year old jumped onto her stomach, knocking all the wind out of her unexpectedly. “Mommy! I made you a drawing of a flower!” the child exclaimed as she shoved a piece of construction paper in INTP‘s face. The mom, still trying to catch her breath, forced a smile and said, “Wow! I never knew you could make such a beautiful flower out of….What is that? Ketchup?”
This mom feels the most alive when she can explore her thoughts and ideas without interruption. But being a mom means being interrupted. A lot. And not just by small children but also by well-meaning family members, friends, and even strangers who feel the need to offer unsolicited parenting advice. The INTP mom loves her kids but she also craves time alone to decompress and process all the information and questions that are playing before her mind.
Read This Next: 10 Things That Excite the INTP Personality Type
This mom is tired of being everyone’s unpaid therapist. At bedtime. After a day of gruelling work. In the grocery store line. In the middle of a disagreement with her partner. Whenever someone needs to talk, they come to the ENFJ mom because she’s always ready with a listening ear and insightful (yet comforting) words. And while ENFJs tend to be natural caretakers, even they have their limit.
The ENFJ mom is tired of being the one who always has to be strong. She’s exhausted from holding everyone else up when they’re going through a tough time. She just wants someone to be there for her, to lend a listening ear and offer some words of wisdom (or at least sympathy). But it seems like that’s always her role in life and she’s just so darn tired.
Read This Next: A Look Inside the ENFJ Mind
This mom knows that her toddler’s tantrum is a normal part of their psychological development. She knows that when her child is screaming and pounding her fists in her high chair because her toast wasn’t toasted just right that it’s not time to lecture about the triviality of the situation. But so much feels so trivial. And giving a firm “Suck it up, buttercup” response would result in horrified glances from fellow parents and even more screaming from said toddler.
ENTJ moms are highly ambitious and they expect a lot from themselves and from those around them. They enjoy the meaningful moments in parenting; the teaching moments, and even the questioning moments when teens start second-guessing everything they’ve been taught. But so much of daily life is about keeping up with the small details of life that can feel very meaningless in the moment. Cutting crusts off sandwiches, scrubbing the high chair, doing laundry, and refereeing arguments between siblings. ENTJs want to be out there trailblazing new paths and making big leaps forward, but there’s a lot of “little stuff” involved with parenting that can feel oppressive. And in the sticky situations of life where ENTJs really feel like they’ve got a lot of good advice to give, kids often want emotional validation and support rather than the sound logical advice that ENTJs are highly skilled at providing.
Read This Next: 10 Things You’ll Relate to if You’re an ENTJ
Quiet and intense, INFJs gain the most energy from time spent alone in reflection. Now whenever the INFJ curls up with a blanket and a cup of tea to ponder her latest existential musings, she’s interrupted by tiny hands pulling at her clothes and a high-pitched voice asking her to play hide-and-seek one more time. “Not right now, sweetie,” she says as she tries to push away thoughts of her adult child going to therapy and confessing “all I wanted was to play hide-and-seek and she couldn’t even give me that much.”
INFJs are highly intuitive and they’re often able to see things that others miss. They use this trait in their parenting, always trying to be attuned to their child’s inner emotional world even when the words don’t make sense. And while this ability to connect on a deep level is one of the INFJ’s greatest strengths, it can also be exhausting. The constant need to be “on” and attuned to another human being’s emotional state can leave the INFJ feeling drained. Add in the never-ending list of chores and responsibilities that come with parenting and it’s no wonder the INFJ mom is exhausted.
Read This Next: How INFJs Process Emotions
INTJs are studious, logical, and efficient. They’re the type of people who make to-do lists and then actually complete all the items on said list. So when it comes to parenting, they approach it with the same level of organization and efficiency that they do everything else in life. But the thing about parenting is that it’s often messy, chaotic, and unpredictable. And the INTJ mom can find herself feeling frustrated when her well-laid plans go awry.
INTJs are always seeking to improve and optimize everything in their lives. So when they see an opportunity for improvement in their child’s behavior or their parenting style, they go for it. But sometimes this process of constantly seeking to improve can leave the INTJ feeling exhausted. On top of that, INTJs need a lot of time alone in order to feel content and energized. But with young kids, alone time is often a luxury that’s hard to come by.
Read This Next: 10 Things That Terrify INTJs
Adventure and fun are close to the ESFP’s heart and this mom aims to bring that sense of adventure into her parenting. She wants her kids to have the best childhood possible, filled with laughter, memories, and excitement. And while that’s a beautiful sentiment, it’s not always easy to do with society’s restrictions and rules. Parenting obligations keep schedules full, and you can’t always pull your kid out of school to go on an impromptu road trip without getting a truancy officer involved. The ESFP can find all of these things stifling, leaving her feeling exhausted.
ESFPs also have a great need for personal freedom and individual expression. They foster this in their child but society isn’t always as accepting of a kid who wants to march to the beat of their own drum. The ESFP can find herself feeling overwhelmed and angered by the judgment and “mom shaming” of fellow mothers or the cliques that her child has to deal with in school.
Read This Next: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ESFP
This mom thought it would be a lot of fun to take her kids on a hike in the rocky mountains. She packed all the gear, snacks, and water they would need and she was confident that they could handle the challenge. But after 15 minutes of ascending the mountain, she heard a chorus of “Mom, I’m tired,” “Mom, I need a drink,” and “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.” The ESTP mom can find herself feeling exasperated by her kids’ lack of stamina and enthusiasm. Not everyone can keep up with her energy level and her need for action, and sometimes she feels forced into a sedentary cage where she has to spend her days playing pretend and soothing emotional injuries.
ESTPs are also highly independent and they value their freedom above all else. So when they’re constantly being pulled in different directions by their kids, they can feel suffocated and exhausted. Making it work for this mom means finding a balance between giving her kids the attention they need and maintaining her own sense of self.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ESTP, the Daredevil Personality Type
This mom was in the middle of painting an abstract design that expressed her soul’s longing for freedom when her two-year-old came in and started “helping” her. Paintbrush strokes went everywhere, and the once beautiful painting was ruined. The ISFP mom can find herself drowning in the responsibilities and interruptions of parenthood and feeling like any moment of introspection or creativity is stolen from her.
ISFPs are highly sensitive and individualistic people, but they can feel forced into a mold by society’s expectations of motherhood. They want to raise their kids to be independent and true to themselves, but they can find it difficult to do that when they’re kids are constantly being tested in school or (in the teen years) comparing themselves to other teens on Instagram or social media. Some ISFPs feel like the world is trying to rob not only them, but their children, of their freedom to find their own path in life.
Read This Next: 10 Things That Excite the ISFP Personality Type
This mom thought she was going to get a minute to relax. Everything was quiet. All seemed well. She laid down for two minutes before she noticed a suspicious smell coming from the kitchen. Exhausted, she trudged to the kitchen to find that her kids had tried making “soup” out of Elmer’s glue and pink glitter. They’d even turned the burners on the stove. Now there’s globs of pink goo all over the kitchen….and in her Siberian Husky’s fur.
On top of the natural chaos of parenting, the ISTP mom often feels drowned by social obligations. She doesn’t like the hassle of trying to fit in with the other moms at school or the other moms at church, but she knows setting up playdates or going to kids birthday parties is important for her kids. So she does it, even though it’s not really her thing. The ISTP mom can find herself feeling exhausted by all of the small talk and pretending to be interested in things that she doesn’t really care about. She can also feel overwhelmed by the high emotional needs of children. It’s exhausting for ISTPs to deal with a lot of turbulent emotions and these intense feelings are just a natural part of childhood.
Read This Next: What ISTPs Do When They’re Really Stressed Out
This mom craves community and a sense that she has a “village” surrounding her on her motherhood journey. But today the village seems to be disappearing little by little. When she tries to get together with friends, everyone’s busy. She wants to enjoy a pleasant phone call with a friend, but her friend prefers texting. It seems like more and more people are living their lives on social media and not in the real world where she’d like to be. The parenting journey can feel very lonely for someone who craves real-life community and connection while the rest of the world is becoming more and more connected to devices.
ESFJs also have incredibly high standards for themselves as parents. They’ll beat themselves up over every little mistake and they’ll agonize over whether or not they’re doing a good enough job. This can lead to a lot of self-doubt and exhaustion. Their to-do lists seem never-ending, and when their children are struggling they tend to overanalyze the situation and blame themselves or work harder. It’s crucial for the ESFJ mom to get a break, but it’s hard for her to ask for one.
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This mom is exhausted because of the fickle nature of the world today. She wants something reliable and sensible to follow in her parenting journey, but the world keeps trying to tell her, and her kids, who they need to be. For example, the world pervades kids with materialistic messages (hello, Ryan’s World) but she wants her kids to be content with what they have. The world tells her that her kids need the latest gadgets, but she knows that they’ll just end up breaking them or losing them. It’s exhausting trying to protect your kids from the materialistic messages of the world when it feels like those messages are coming at you from all directions.
This mom is also tired of being the “tough parent.” She knows how to enforce discipline and rules and keep her kids in line, but she’s starting to feel misunderstood and frustrated. She’s exhausted from being the “bad cop” all the time and, especially if her partner takes the opposite approach, she feels like her loving heart gets misunderstood in the process.
Read This Next: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ESTJ
This mom craves consistency and security but it feels like unpredictability is forced on her from every side. She thought YouTube Kids was safe for her kids, but now she’s reading about how it’s full of strange, dark content. The news is always talking about the latest kidnapping or school shooting and she just wants to keep her kids safe. It feels like the world is a scary, unpredictable place and she’s just trying to do her best to protect her children.
ISFJs crave a life of peaceful stability and harmonious interactions. The turbulent nature of children’s emotions can feel overwhelming. She didn’t know someone could have such an intense reaction to getting the “wrong” color plate or toy. As an introvert, she naturally craves peace and quiet, and as a Feeling type she naturally craves peace and warmth. Whether she’s dealing with an argumentative teen or Blippi songs blasting on repeat, the ISFJ mom can feel drained by the constant noise and chaos.
Read This Next: The ISFJ Personality Type and the Enneagram
This mom is exhausted because she spent an entire hour organizing the children’s bookshelf by author and five minutes later her toddler had pulled all the books off and thrown them on the floor. It feels like everything she does is a waste of time because as soon as she turns her back, it all goes to ruin. She just wants a tidy, organized house but it feels like her kids are constantly making messes.
ISTJ moms also like a sense of predictability and peace in their homes. But she finds herself either putting out fires between siblings or trying to make a schedule while the kids tear off the couch cushions and blast Dog Man – The Musical at full blast on the Alexa. It’s hard to find a balance between giving the kids the freedom to be kids and maintaining a sense of order in the house.
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What Are Your Thoughts?
Just as there are exhausting moments in parenthood, there are also beautiful and timeless moments. Myers-Briggs® type theory might give some insight as to why certain moms are feeling exhausted, but in the end, every mom is tired because motherhood is a demanding and constant job. So, to all the exhausted moms out there – keep going, you’re doing an amazing job!
If you have any thoughts or advice for other parents, let us know in the comments!