Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The way I see it, hearing and listening are vastly different.  Hearing is like...hearing.  Like, your ear hears things.  Listening is hearing things and processing the ideas you hear and seeing context clues like body language or environmental crap- like you hear a loud rumble and you look around and see a big truck and you know you probably don't want to dash into the street.  That's different than just hearing a loud rumble and quitting at that.

Does that make sense?

My mom was a yeller, so naturally, I swore I'd never be a yeller but guess what? Yelling feels good.  So I'm a yeller too.  Ava rolls her eyes when I yell, Scott yells back, but Warren?

Warren taught me, QUICKLY, that when I'm yelling, no one is listening.

It's almost as if hearing me yell makes him physically ill.  His shoulders immediately shoot up to his ears and he cringes back.  He usually cries, or at the very least, his eyes get all shiny like they're filling up with tears. He gets this terrified expression on his face and he usually whimpers mama you scared me. You scared me.

And I get it because I hate to be startled and obviously, it's quite startling to have someone all of a sudden screaming at you.

But more than that, they can't LISTEN when I'm yelling.  I never listened to my own mom when she was yelling, so why am I so surprised?

I guess I'm not. But the first moment I ever felt shame as a mother wasn't when I set baby Ava on the bench in the dressing room at the Gap and she rolled over for the first time- onto the tile floor.  It was the first time I screamed at Warren and he got that terrified look in his eyes.

You scared me, Mama.

I don't want to scare my kids!!  Even when they're being assholes, I want them to feel safe.  Loved.  Protected.

So that's my story.  I don't want them to hear me yelling, I want them to listen to what I'm trying to communicate.

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the prompt listen.


  1. Sometimes parenting just makes you want to yell. It can be so hard to keep a "firm but calm" voice. I totally get it.

    1. Doesn't it just? Hard to remember too that even though I always feel good WHILE I'm yelling, I never feel good after.

  2. We had the same interpretation of the prompt. Good luck to you. It's so hard to not yell, but you can do it.

  3. I keep my call pretty well in most situations. My husband tends to fly off the handle quickly. This prompt was interesting and I applaud you for letting us other moms know that we all yell some times.

  4. We learned in nursing school that hearing and listening are two distinct things. When you listen you open up a world of assessment -- you can sense emotions in the tones and form connections.
    I was always yelled at as a kid and it wasn't because I was a bad child. It was just how I was parented. And it's true, you don't listen when someone is barking at you. You learn to tune out that noise because it's aggravating and scary. That's not to say that yelling isn't always that time when my son had a fistful of rocks and launched it at another child at the park at close range...
    You're doing a great job at parenting and I love your perspective. I especially love that you chose to take this route on this prompt.

    1. Thank you so much- that's exactly how I see hearing versus listening.

  5. My oldest is a bit more sensitive too. I definitely am more careful about how I reprimand her and you're right, once our voices hit a certain pitch, they just tune us out.