For as long as she could remember, Alice longed to have a big family with lots of noisy kids. When she was little, during play, Alice enjoyed pretending to be a mom and taking care of all of her babies. She often helped her mother cook and clean, and felt hurt when her mother was too busy to include her in activities. Being the oldest of five children, as Alice grew; she indeed had many opportunities to help out around the house. She especially liked to fix the cuts and bruises of her siblings, providing a Band-Aid, a kiss, and a story if the injury was really serious. Both of her parents were proud of her responsible and caring nature and told her so frequently. When they did, Alice just glowed with happiness.
Even before Alice and her husband-to-be, David, were married, she made it clear that having a large family and being a stay-at-home mom were very important to Alice. David had no strong opinions about either the size of their family or her need to stay home, and in truth, just wanted her to be happy, so he was glad to support her decision, regardless. Ten years later, David and Alice had four children, each approximately two years apart, all of whom were adored by their parents.
Alice was an amazing mother. Each day she was awake and busy by 6 A.M., even before the youngest woke up. Having strong organizational skills, Alice had her daily and weekly calendars fully planned, down to when the dishes were cleaned and the dog was walked. (Of course they also had a family pet.) Alice would tease that if her schedule was disrupted even minutely, it had a devastating domino effect on the rest of her day. Of course, she not only organized herself, but worked hard to keep her children and husband organized as well. Her oldest two children (Jack was 9 and Nick was 7) already had regular chores and were expected to leave their rooms in order each morning before school. Surprisingly, Alice had a much harder time with Jack than Nick, even though Jack was the oldest. Jack was a very thoughtful and caring child, but easily distracted and had to be constantly reminded to complete his chores. If Alice were the least bit impatient or stern with Jack, he would melt into tears. Nick, on the other hand, was naturally neat and tidy and followed directions precisely. Once Alice had set up a routine for Nick, he was usually cooperative and efficient. Alice tried hard not to compare the two children, but every once in a while, she caught herself reminding Jack that he should be more like his brother, Nick.
Though David had wanted to live in the city where he worked, Alice insisted that they raise their children in a smaller community that was family-oriented. She felt that it was not only safer and provided a better education for their children; it also would be more supportive of their values and goals. David appreciated the benefits the community provided for his children, but longed for a more interesting environment, and even wondered if their children were too sheltered.
Alice was admired and appreciated by her neighbors. She was always very friendly and ready and willing to help others when the need arose. If someone was ill or needed help caring for their garden during vacation, Alice could always be counted on to help. Soon after they moved into the neighborhood, Alice began organizing neighborhood events from the Fourth of July picnic to the Memorial Day block party. Everyone would tease her that they never had any fun together until she arrived. Alice seemed to never tire of organizing these events, and over the years, the events became traditions that everyone counted on.
Alice not only helped out in her neighborhood but also volunteered in her church and the children’s schools. In addition, she made sure that each of her children was developing individual interests outside of school. Jack loved music and was taking piano lessons. Nick was the sports fiend and was currently on a baseball team as well as a year-round soccer team. Nadine, age five, loved gymnastics, and Timmy, just three, was attending preschool. Between her volunteer work and getting the children to and from school and afternoon activities, and doctor appointments, Alice was always on the go.
As if Alice weren’t busy enough, she loved to take care of her home and to entertain. David, on the other hand, was rather quiet and preferred spending time with his family and a few close friends. This had always been a bit of a conflict between David and Alice. In addition, Alice was something of a perfectionist when it came to her home and to entertaining. The house had to be perfect (no easy feat with four young children) and the food had to be wonderful. It always seemed to David that Alice was stressed and overwhelmed when preparing for guests, and no matter how much he tried to encourage Alice to relax her standards, she just couldn’t.
As the family grew and life got busier and busier, Alice worked harder and harder at planning and organizing. Over the years, David had suggested that Alice was over-committed and that she should cut back on something (the house, volunteer work, after school activities). But Alice felt strongly that she could get it all done if she were better organized. In truth, Alice had little time for herself; she could hardly remember when she had time to watch a TV program after dinner. She kept telling herself that she would soon get a break when school was out, when baseball season ended, when the holidays were over, when school started again… But the break never came. To make matters worse, she felt that David and the children took her for granted, as if all of her efforts were invisible to them. Even when she would ask David to help out by taking over the bills, he wasn’t as organized and efficient as Alice, and she soon had to take back the task.
Alice had very high expectations for herself and those around her. She had dreamed of her role as a mother as long as she could remember. Being very responsible and dependable, she willingly took on more and more commitments and was proud of her ability to meet these commitments. Because of her cheerful and outgoing nature, very few (David being an exception) realized the effort and stress that came with these commitments. When Alice would finally fall apart from exhaustion and stress, David tried to help her understand that many of her commitments were her choice and therefore within her control. She needed to balance her commitments and standards with time for herself and relaxation. This would not be easy for her, since she derived a lot of pride from giving to others and doing things well. For Alice it was a matter of priorities, and her needs were often at the bottom of the list. David tried to convince her that being a great mom (her ultimate goal) may not be so much about volunteer work and having a perfect home, but more about enjoying and supporting her children. Though Alice knew that David was right, she secretly wondered if a bit more planning and organizing might not make it all come around right!
Alice seems to have had a clear idea of what she cared about quite early in life, and has pursued it well. Her only serious problem seems to be that of over-commitment. This can be a particular problem for strong ESFJs. They love to do for others and take delight in pleasing them. Coupled with the illusion--common to strong Judgers--that they can organize their way out of any dilemma, it can become a sort of ESFJ addiction. She does need to come to terms with this before it harms the very family life that is so vital to her.
Website Problems??Contact us at email@example.com