Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mom's Influence on Our Career Success

If you're struggling at work, it's time you stopped blaming the boss or the company. Because according to one psychologist, the inability to rise above the challenges and achieve your career dreams is the fault of....

Your mother.

OK, I know what some of you are going to say. I, myself, am a mother, and I get pretty sick and tired of being the fall guy (woman) for my kids whenever things don't go their way, from the fact that they don't have iPhones to making them do homework. "Make sure you mention this to your therapist when you're older!" I call to them as they stomp off to their rooms and slam their doors, miffed at some horrible thing I've done to ruin their lives.

But according to Stephan Poulter, author of "The Mother Factor: How Your Mother's Emotional Legacy Impacts Your Life," there may be more of a direct link between our career success and our mothers than we might understand.

For example, if your mother was a perfectionist, then you might have difficulty taking feedback at work.

"Ninety five percent of the time it's your emotional history spilling into the present," Poulter says.

The perfectionist mother is just one of the five predominant types of mothering style. The others, according to Poulter’s book:
· The “unpredictable” mother. She is overcontrolling, fearful and anxious. Focuses on appearance over substance and creates a child who is often ashamed, never good enough, focused on external issues and ultimately, self-loathing. Poulter advises that to overcome these problems, you must first “consider your opinion the most valuable because this concept stops the agony of people pleasing and worrying about other people’s opinions of you.”
· The “me first” mother. Self-serving, approval-seeking, non-empathetic, critical and arrogant, she sees the child as an extension of herself. The child can feel dismissed, emotionally deprived, self-doubting and angry. As adults, these people must learn to understand that they are “good enough,” he says.
· The “best friend” mother. This is a style quite popular with today’s moms. This peer-styled relationship between mother and child lacks boundaries and leadership, creating an unbalanced emotional dependence. The child can feel abandoned, neglected, angry and “motherless.” As adults, these people must learn to let go of their anger. “If your mother could have done a better job of mothering you, she would have,” he says. “You have to come up with what you emotionally desire and create that network of loving people.”
· The “complete” mother. Secure, insightful and nurturing, this mom understands her child’s needs and desires and how to guide them towards their own personal fulfillment and growth. The child is empowered, secure and prepared to become an adult.

If you're interested in asking Poulter some questions about this issue, please tune in April 15 at 10 a.m. CST to my Blog Talk Radio show where I'll be interviewing him further. (As of this posting, there were technical difficulties with the specific segment URL, so I'll get that posted at a later date.)

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Anonymous said...

In general I agree with the view of this author that mothers has by far the most influence in shaping us. Although it seems to me that there must be a better way of classification which generates strengths & weakness in kids.

Complete mother is the only type that have no negative word assoicated with it. In the 4-5 types mention, it seems the author is placing right-wrong mothers, actually, it seems that those type is linearly scale from bad to good & the Complete/perfect mother is right way to mother.
Doesn't that seem strange?

If you ask me, she might be 'me-first' & if you ask my sister then she might be 'unpredictable'.
if I ask my mother, she will say she is the 'complete' type; I believe that most mother see themselves secure, insightful and nurturing to their kids + it's the best answer.

If you can, please also ask him this: Why is sometimes 2+ kids with the same mother/parents has varying personalities, sometimes even opposites to each other?

Anita said...

You've made some good points, and I'll be sure and ask him your question during the Blog Talk Radio show tomorrow. As a mother myself, I know I go to bed about every night thinking of what I could have done better with my children and second guessing myself constantly. But, I know that I do the best I can, and would by no means see myself as a perfect mom. I think that's how a lot of mothers feel, and know that most of us wish we could be perfect...but that's not possible because we're just human beings. We all have to remember that. We make mistakes, but you just have to keep trying to move forward.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insight & asking author, he gave a pretty good answer. I think I completely misinterpret initially.

For anyone else interested, the interview is here: