In My “Listening Mom” Era

In My “Listening Mom” Era

My oldest child is not yet a teenager, and my youngest is no longer a toddler. There are no crying babies who cannot tell me what is wrong as I cycle through every soothing method and possible unmet need. The silly songs to get us through day-to-day activities like teeth brushing or putting on clothes are just about gone, too. It’s been an adjustment for everyone.

Parenting is pivoting. In the blink of an eye, I had to do way less talking to my kids and more listening. My toddlers are gone, and in their place are a couple of tweens (and one emotionally intelligent kindergartner) who now require a different style of guidance.

This realization became a painful lesson as my daughter shared details about her day as I was going through the after-school pickup/activity/prepping dinner rush.

She approached me, and I did not even slow down as she told me about her day- disappointments, joys, and all.

In my busyness, I rattled off a solution to her problems and rushed along to take care of the next thing. Because that’s motherhood, right? Taking care of all of the things all of the time. Except for this time. I didn’t take care of the most important thing – her feelings. She walked away with a disappointed look, and I knew that I needed to change my parenting approach. I would love to tell you that I mastered these interactions on the first try, but I cannot do that. I’ve failed at this with my daughter and my sons countless times. Because your approach to parenting always needs to be shifting. And some days, I still approach parenting as if my children are babies and the solution to all of their problems is my action.

The solution to their problems now is my lack of action.

In My "Listening Mom" Era

These days, I do a lot of setting aside whatever I am doing and being present with them. I do a lot more listening than I do talking. And when I have heard all they need to tell me, I ask, “Did you just want to get that off your chest, or are you looking for a solution?” More often than not, they only wanted me to hear what they had to say. To witness their experiences and let them know that they are not alone.

Today, my daughter came home from school and hung around in the kitchen after her brothers had grabbed their snacks and the video game controllers. I’m becoming more seasoned in this new phase of parenting, so I knew what was coming and began to wrap up my task, giving my girl the “in” that I knew she was looking for. And I heard it – “Mom, can I tell you about my day?” She had been hurt by a friend’s actions and needed some empathy. After she told me everything that she needed to get off of her chest, I said to her that the situation sucked and she had every right to feel hurt and disappointed in the way her friend acted. I asked her what she wanted to do about it, and we explored a few solutions. It was like the clouds over her face had parted, and I could see my sunshiney kid again. She hugged me and told me I was “the best mom ever.” I patted myself on the back because it took a lot of work for me to recognize these new needs in my children and shift gears to meet them.

We never stop being a safe space for our children. They will always need their parents to return to for reassurance and validation.

It used to be things that we could see or do – a scraped knee, needing to hold a hand while they learned to walk or cross a street. But as they get older, they need that reassurance for the things we can no longer see- their lives out in the world, away from us, and the complicated feelings that come with those experiences outside our homes. I am no longer in the stage of parenting where I am constantly turning my ear to listen for my babies’ cries. Now, I am in the phase of mothering, where I am tuned in to the pauses that lead to conversations and deeper connections.

Mallory Moser
Mallory, a Louisiana native born in Opelousas, spent most of her childhood years in the surroundings of Carencro. She and her husband met in Eunice, and together they embarked on a journey guided by her husband's Marine Corps service. San Diego, California, became their cherished home, where they raised their three children before life led them back to Louisiana in 2019. Mallory has navigated the legal realm for the last fifteen years. Her path took an exciting turn recently as she embraced the broadcasting world over the previous four years. On the weekends, Mallory finds solace in the pages of books - usually reading Neil Gaiman or her book club's chosen book of the month. She cherishes moments spent walking the family dogs and embarking on bike rides with her kids and husband.