I took this free Briggs Myer type assessment a few months ago after I saw it referenced on Design Mom. I can't really stop thinking about it since I took it. I feel that it illuminated – in glow-y screen font – some aspects of my personality that I have really buried deep to get through the last 3 years. (Or maybe I'm just in my cycle of career-obsessed-thinking.) If you believe the online test then I'm an INTJ, aka "The Mastermind/Visionary". What I take away from the test and its analysis, is that careers are pretty important to INTJ. And my career is nonexistent. (I've pasted my test-analysis in all its glorious detail below.)
It also claims I take my role as a parent and a significant other quite seriously. If that's accurate, it's probably the reason why I've been able to set aside my own career ambitions for the last 8 years. But man, do I feel tension! From the outside, it might look like: what's the tension? She's an SAHM! There is no tension! She gets to do one thing, all the time! Even as I've become more and more convinced that I did the right thing for my family over the last few years, it's become more and more difficult to continue to have much enthusiasm for the daily grind. (Maybe that's a reflection of the part about INTJs being "adaptable, and are easily bored by repetition and routine.") My mind is just elsewhere. It's been elsewhere for longer than I care to admit.
I'm not saying this so that anyone apologizes or feels bad for me. I'm saying it because I think sometimes I look at people from the outside and everything appears peachy-keen and consequently, I hold myself to impossible standards of always being perfectly fulfilled and optimistic and happy by exactly the way things are. I think that the minute I'm not feeling picture-perfect I should change. At points in my life, I've been addicted to the adrenaline rush of change instead of committed to seeing an uncomfortable situation through. In the long run, I'm not convinced that changes always make things better; sometimes, they just introduce a different set of problems from the ones I already have. I generally still subscribe to the theory that there IS time for everything, just not AT the same time. I think some periods of my life will be more about other people, and some will be about me. I feel that to do my best as mother of young children, I need to really BE with my children. I think dividing my energy between young children and a career would be more frustrating for me than choosing to focus on just one.
Fritz and I have always been committed to idea that one parent would be working and one would be at home with children. The very first time we had that conversation, years before Noah was born, I was making more money than he was; he was a relatively unhappy postdoc. It wasn't clear to either of us who would be at home. But sometimes, I wonder if it wouldn't have been easier if the tables were flipped. What I do hope, very much, is that someday the tables can be flipped. I don't know if that's really possible. I do know that Fritz's job in academia has a very specific trajectory, and if he can get tenure, the pressure might allow some realignment of responsibilities. And there's always the fact that the kids just keep getting older and more independent.
I just have to stick it out.
I DO have some figuring out to do about me, however. I grow more leary of returning to architecture each day. I still love a lot about architecture, but the prospect of doing it on someone else's terms, after spending the last 8 years dedicated to doing what is best for Fritz and the kids... well, not so interesting. The visionary, work-obsessed side of me (revealed by the test) does exist. It's hard to imagine sitting in front of a computer drafting as the right kind of change. I can see myself working independently, choosing which clients I want to work with or dabbling in architecture, except: you can't really be that kind of architect without a lot of independent wealth or fame. The pragmatist in me thinks I will eventually walk away from architecture; it's just a matter of when I finally get sick of coughing up the money to renew my license every year.
As a side note, there's actually a personality type dubbed "The Architect" (INTP), but I'm not it. After scrounging around on the internet, I found a few other similar tests that were willing to consider I might be "The Inspector/Logistician" (ISTJ), "The Protector/Nuturer" (ISFJ), or "The Counselor/Advocate" (INFJ). But I am not The Architect. The idea that my results are somewhat ambiguous was a bit of relief. Maybe we can push our personalities a bit based on where we are and who we need to be at any particular point in our lives. So, anyway, for now, I'll push a bit more in the direction go INFJ or ISFJ, because they both seem much better suited to stay-at-home-parenthood.