Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Listen More, Talk Less - an impossible dream

I’m starting to think about the resolutions I made on New Year’s Eve.

Our friends had left, I’d finally got the baby to sleep, my husband had put the five-year-old to bed and conveniently fell asleep beside her (cute picture but still…) leaving me to clean up the mess and see in the New Year with a cup of tea on our inner west back step where I could occasionally see the top of a Harbour Bridge firework.

And in my couple-of-drinks-more-than-usual haze, I wrote a list. Of completely unachievable resolutions.

One of these - which I make every year - is to “listen more, talk less”.

As I say, completely unachievable.

Too often it’s only my voice I hear in a conversation. Just when someone is offering something rather interesting, bam, I’ve interrupted, agreed and brought the conversation back to myself. Terrible habit.

My husband is always telling me I interrupt. So is my five year old. Either that or she tells me to ‘just stop talking’. I usually feel completely justified and have a list of responses in my own defense such as, I just have a lot to say, I didn’t realise you hadn’t finished, I was just agreeing with you and I’m your mother, I will always talk too much.

However I do secretly dream of being someone that listens. Really listens. Shows an interest in what other people have to say. Doesn’t give away absolutely everything. Maintains a little intrigue.

But alas someone just has to nod at me in the supermarket and I will unload everything from my toddler’s sleep patterns over the past week to the intricacies of our latest infestation of head lice.

I want to be subtle. I want to be mysterious. I want people to ask, ‘who is that woman and what’s her story?’ Rather than knowing everything there is to know. Because I’ve already told them. Plus I sometimes forget to whom I’ve told my news so there’s a chance people could have heard it twice.

So this is the year of keeping things a little closer to my chest (which may just be possible now I’ve dropped a cup size since weaning my second child).

I will endeavour to do the following:

  • ·      Remember people’s names the first time they tell me – we’ve just started school and I’m already behind in that department.
  • ·      Not finish other people’s sentences – they’re relaying information, not conducting a guessing game.
  • ·      Make sure I hear other people’s voices more than my own - should I ever get invited to another dinner party.
  • ·      Not tell everybody every singe thing about me – I mean really, who cares if I have hemerrhoids this week?

Plus I will wait for my husband to finish what he has to say and also wait for my daughter to finish what she has to say.

Thank goodness for my baby who at 18 months only has a handful of words and lets me talk as much as I want. Not only that, when I do talk, she looks at me with such love and admiration as if she finds everything I say so interesting and amusing.

I’m great company for the under twos. Now I just have to work on communicating effectively with the rest of society.

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