I’ve had moments as a mother when I figure out that one of my children is older than I’m giving them credit for. You know, when you’ve been pouring the juice for so many years, you forget that eventually, they can and should pour it for themselves. These shifts happen more subtly with older kids. It’s more on the emotional side of things which can be hard to detect. But as mothers, we have to be experts on our kids, so catching this shift is essential.
One of the most significant shifts as a mother that has tripped me up is going from “Mommy who fixes” to “Mommy who just listens.” This recently happened with my pre-teen son, and I had to apologize.
I am a natural-born fixer. My kids come to me with a boo-boo, and I kiss it, clean it, and bandage it; done. Which I’m sure I am not special for. That’s what mothers do in general. But now that majority of my kids are older; this does not work. Their emotional boo-boos are not so easily fixed, and if I try, they don’t want to talk to me anymore.
Not what I want.
As women, a lot of times, we complain that men do this to us. We say that they don’t listen; they just offer solutions to our problems. Which, of course, we don’t need help with; we only need to vent! But we often do this to our own kids. Of course, our kids still need guidance but letting them choose when we offer the advice is helpful in the relationship. This is why they will continue to talk to us through their teenage years!
Instead of fixing, I chose to shut my mouth (after my apology) and listen to my son. Some of the things he said were downright wrong, but I just keep listening. In the end, I didn’t have to “fix” anything. He felt better after his monologue and returned to his usual happy self.
Maybe next time, I’ll remember to listen first, but until then, I’ll keep apologizing.