Stories and thoughts about family and life

Is this thing on?

on August 22, 2013

Perhaps it’s being the mother of two nearly teenage boys, or my ever so slowly advancing age catching up with me, but I find my “fuse” with repetition growing shorter and shorter with each passing year.     I have a voice.  I speak in front of crowds.  I choose my words carefully–deliberately.  I work within groups to ensure our message is expressed in the proper fashion and that everyone else in the group is heard.    Yet, I feel that in so many aspects of my life I am not only not heard, but completely ignored.

I was visiting with a business colleague about this same thing yesterday.  We were talking about the hurried world in which we live and how we’re all trying to accomplish ten things at one time and no one has the time to pick up the phone and engage anymore.  And I realize that it’s happened to me too–I’ve been sucked into that vortex of time draining faster than I can control it.  My eight hour days, which often turn into 10 or 12 hour days still have entirely too many things crammed into them and I feel like I’m not doing anything as well as I could.

Perhaps that helps lead to the feeling that no one hears you when you’re speaking.  Perhaps.  But I can tell you from experience (and from the experience of all my friends with teenagers) that having kids doesn’t help that at all.  I think we Moms in particular feel like we’re constantly on “repeat.”  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said “are your chores finished–bed made, teeth brushed, dogs fed, laundry picked up?” I would be rich.

I remember my high school English teacher always telling us “Project and Enunciate!”  I guess that really burned an image into my mind, because that has become a common mantra in my house as well.  My older child is a mumbler, more out of confidence issues than anything else.  He speaks so low sometimes that it’s really hard to make out what he’s saying, and I have really good hearing.  My younger child speaks loud enough for the both of them, but loves to run his words together (something I’m noticing a lot of the kids today, by the way).  And so, we started with me constantly telling them to project and enunciate.  This was REALLY funny the first time we watched the movie “Brave,” and saw Merida (the princess) in her daily lessons with her mother and practicing speaking in the great hall.  When her mother, in an exasperated voice, exclaims “Project!  Enunciate!  You must be heard anywhere in the hall, or it is all for naught!” both my children stopped dead and looked at me.  It’s become quite the joke in our house, but it’s also been a good reminder to my kids that I’m not the only mom out there saying this kind of stuff.  It still doesn’t stop me from wondering, as I talk and talk to them, if there is some gene in their little boy brains which is numb to my voice.  I’m sure I’m not the only mom or the only wife who feels like she talks and talks with no one in her house listening, but some days I would swear it’s as if I’m invisible.

The best part is when you quiz your kids, thinking that’s going to help them develop the skills to figure out what they should be doing, and they’re simply repeating what they “think” you might want to hear.  Me:  “what are you going to do when you get home?”  one of them “um, feed the dogs, clean my room. . . ” and they’re looking at you the whole time, trying to gauge your response and see if they’re on the right track.    I finally had to tell Luke one night that my purpose in making them do chores was not to be mean, but to ensure that the woman they choose to marry one day won’t hate me for having children who can’t take care of themselves.    I’m not sure he really heard any of that either.

I know it’s not over anytime soon–maybe never, honestly.  But it would be nice to be heard, even occasionally, and not feel like Joan Rivers:  “Is this thing on?”


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