Mom Watch This


I hear these words on the reg. It is often followed by some ridiculous stunt by my 10-year old son forcing himself into the center of my Universe. The tactic works time and time again because it is often includes some disruptive and occasionally hazardous (to me and my son) attempt to be noticed.

It makes sense. After all, it is what we all want, right? To be seen. To know we matter to those we love and those who love us back. While questionable and at times dangerous tactics, I understand the motivation. Despite countless efforts to be present, I’m guilty of being a mom who occasionally scrolls Instagram during the 5th hour of basketball or umpteenth zillionth episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I digress.

I recently read a book called STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut by Dan Lyons. The premise is quite simple – silence is golden. Story after story, Lyons builds a case on how our society has become obsessed with being heard. This notion that we’ve come to believe that in order to cut through the chatter, we need to yell louder. To compete or disrupt with a desire to prove that we matter. That the only way to be seen is by shouting, regardless of the cost.

For those who don’t me, I’m a stubborn Fin with a tattoo that proudly proclaims Sisu. Often times, stoic Scandinavians are ridiculed for being too closed off. Their silence making them mysterious to some and unapproachable to many. Our comfort with quiet is a turn-off. The Eeyore of the party. But it just so happens, in this silence is happiness. After all, these same Finlanders, myself included, are often cited as being some of the most content people on the planet.

Active listening is far from sexy. It ranks up there with attempting to address a runny nose on a run. I’m slowly learning, though, this is when magic happens. In that moment where you quiet your mind and actively participate in listening. To remove yourself from societal pressures to be everything to everyone someday – and instead be someone right now by just being.  

The world is filled with noise right now. Constant chatter, debate and divide. Distractions to what matters. And ultimately, a fallback or excuse to facing hard things. To trying to new things. To learning and challenging one’s beliefs. To evolving. To creating real connections with real humans.

Lyons suggests that silence is in fact absence with a function. A distinct moment to listen, learn and grow. To turn a moment into a memory with my son – and ultimately reduce his watch this tactic to be heard.  

If you enjoyed this and want to hear more in the future, please consider subscribing to my e-newsletter here.