Monday, March 18, 2013

Listening and Parenting and One-Upping

I recently came across an excellent perspective on the challenges of parenting small kids on another blog,  I don't know the man, but I.LOVE.HIM. for writing it.  My favorite part:  

"We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you."

Another similar post by Glennon Melton made me smile and breathe a little bit easier.  One of my favorite parts of this post about Carpe Diem: 

"Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question."

In both of these articles, what they offered me was validation.  I'm doing okay.  My husband is doing okay.  My kids are doing okay.  We're gonna make it.  Because, if I'm honest, when I tell you a story about my toddler completely winning against me in the battle of wills that took place earlier today, what I'm looking for is support. Validation.  Encouragement.  What I am NOT looking for:

"Wait until he's a teenager!"

"Just wait until Reese is older and they can really fight like siblings!"

"This is the easy part...later is SO MUCH HARDER..."

Thanks.  Thanks for that.  Thanks for nullifying whatever it was I was saying.  Thanks for one-upping me with your story about your teenager/middle schooler/grown child.  

The fact of the matter is that I don't think we (as people) are very good listeners.  It's hard to hear a story and not share whatever story comes to mind after hearing someone else's tale.  But I'm determined to get better at it.  

When a first-time pregnant mom tells me she's having trouble sleeping, I want my knee-jerk response to be, "You are so right!  Sleep and pregnancy seem to be mortal enemies!"  Instead of "Wait til the baby comes!  You'll experience a whole new level of sleep deprivation!"

When a childless, younger person complains that the dog kept them up all night, I'd like to offer my sympathies instead of saying I remember fondly the days when my cats were my only sleep interruption.  (I may or may not take that opportunity to tell them that dogs are worthless creatures anyway.  Oh wait, I think that defeats my point of being a better listener and validating people...  Well there goes all my dog-loving readers...)

Your hard is hard to you, whatever that is.  My hard is hard to me, whatever it is.  I'm tired of being one-upped, and therefore I want to make sure I'm not doing that to other people, especially other moms.     

No comments: