If I stood outside of Hollister at the mall, (UGH, gross, right?) and asked the first 100 teenagers exiting the store the exact same question, I am willing to bet that most, if not all of them would give relatively the same answer, some would use more words, some less, but I'm willing to bet they would all communicate a similar version of the same idea. Of course it would take awhile for their eyes to adjust to the light, and they would need a good five minutes to breathe in and out, getting some fresh, cologne free air circulating through their lungs before they were able to focus enough to answer, but I’m going to science geek out and hypothesize the majority of the answers would be the same.
If you could tell your parents to do something differently, what would it be?
The answer (in very general terms)?
Listen more and talk less.
It’s really just that simple. My personal and professional experience supports my hypothesis here, but I don't have any hard evidence of this since there’s no WAY I’d be willing to stand anywhere near Hollister and risk the kind of oxygen deprivation that has the potential to murder the brain cells I have left, let alone try to get a teenager to give me the time of day.
Oh, and really by the time they are teenagers, they know that they shouldn’t talk to strangers so I'd be outta luck anyway. Of course I could post the question on Instagram or Reddit and I'd get proof, but do I need proof? I think not. I think we all remember wanting our parents to shut up at one time or a million while growing up.
There comes a time when we parent-people need to just stop yammering on and on and put on our listening ears and thinking caps. Yep, yep, yep, after years and years of giving our kids information and advice, there comes a time when we just have to say when, give it a rest and hope for the best. It may feel unnatural, neglectful even and prove incredibly difficult to absorb the idea that your kid really needs you to shut up because everything you say makes them want to text their friends smack about how “lame and annoying you are when you try to be cool and understanding." The good news is that eventually, teenagers become adults, and if you can just be a little patient, and try to keep your trap shut and your eyes and ears open at the right times, you just might find yourself with a very cool new adult friend that also happens to be your offspring.
And if that happens, they will probably be cool and a good addition to your list of go-to people when you need a friend. That’s what happened for me and my momma.
When I was growing up, my mom didn’t say a whole lot, but when she did have something to say, I listened. My mom was always right, but I don’t think it’s because she memorized Dr. Spock’s Book of Baby and Child Care. I’m pretty sure she gave good advice and knew when I actually needed to hear what she had to say because she was a very, VERY good listener. I realize that there are many people reading this who can’t say that about their momma, and that makes me sad, however it’s not too late for YOU to be the kind of momma who does listen and listen well. I'm working on this myself - right freaking now.
And lucky for you, (and me) it’s just about that time of year when you can listen to other mothers tell stories and giggle just a little bit, no matter what phase of parenting you are in. Mother’s Day is coming and with it, the entertaining, amazing and touching brainchild known as “Listen To Your Mother,” a national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother’s Day.
I will be in the audience at the second annual presentation of "LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER- Chicago 2013" will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at The Athenaeum Theatre 2936 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.
Why will I be there?
One reason is because I can escape my kids and go out for drinks after the show, in Chicago – which in my humble opinion is the best city in the world and I've been to like, a lot (not really) other cities in my day (not at all). And because the cast of LTYM Chicago 2013 features more than one of my favorite writers and is co-produced by two of the most unique (and holy crap they are so different, how did they ever become such close friends) bloggers I know - Tracey Becker and Melisa Wells.
If you are having trouble shutting up or knowing what to say around your kiddos – Listen To Your Mother Chicago will most likely inspire you, educate you and provide you with the kind of comfort and camaraderie that you deserve, no matter who you are. It ain’t just for mothers either.
EVERYONE SHOULD GO (and then buy me a drink after the show)!
10% of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and kids’ programs like the Kids Cafe, Nourish for Knowledge, Healthy Kids Market, and the Lunch Bus which all help to alleviate the stress that hunger can bring to a child and their family.
I was going to post a link to a funny clip from the show from YouTube, but I forgot how and didn't want to ask my teenager, because he already hypothesizes that I am an idiot and I don't want to give him evidence to support his educated guess AND I really do have to get dinner ready since these brats keep expecting to be fed, which I am very grateful to be able to do, no matter how much I complain about it (Not so subtle reminder that a part of the cash-ola from your ticket purchase goes to feed hungry kiddos).
Disclaimer – I am not being compensated for this post aside from a free ticket and hopefully hugs and maybe a free drinky-poo (hint hint ladies!)
Shamless self promotion - My book? Buy it. My blog? Subscribe to it.