MamaBlogger365: “Scientific Studies” in Effective Communication (or lack-thereof) by Kate Fineske

Ladies and gentlemen…
The Captain is speaking!

Except that he’s not…

You never realize how important communication is,
until you can’t communicate with someone.

And my youngest (although he understands every word that I say to him) is not quite able to communicate verbally yet.

Physically he communicates: He smiles at appropriate times, he laughs when he finds something is funny, and he has many effective gestures that help such as:

  • All done! = Arms go up (or if he’s in a foul mood the sippy cup gets thrown)
  • I want that! = Points to what he wants, along with tapping me on the leg
  • I’m mad! = Just a look (every mom knows that look!) followed by a very loud screech

Except, the bottom line is: Although my son can often effectively physically communicate, he hasn’t quite started consistently verbalizing. And it reminds me over and over (and over!) how important effective communication is.

Because I can FEEL his communication frustrations.

No! That’s not what I meant!

When you can’t communicate properly it is FRUSTRATING both for the child and the parent!

And on the flip side, often I find that – like my youngest son – I have my own communication issues.

When it comes to my personal communication as a mom with my own friends and family – I’ve often found that I lack a good, solid communication technique.

I’ve discovered many scientific theories and hypotheses as to why I have problems appropriately communicating as a mother and adult.

Theory #1: Selective Hearing (Not yours, theirs! *)

Case Study: A conversation (if you can call it that?) with my oldest daughter

Me: Please go make your bed.
Daughter: … No response.
Me: (again) PLEASE go make your bed honey.
Daughter: … Blank stare, and again no response.
Me: (a little louder – OK, quite possibly yelling) GO. MAKE. YOUR BED! … NOW!
Daughter: OK, mom! Why are you screaming at me?!

Hypothesis: Active listening and selective hearing are both things that can substantially hinder communication skills as a parent and significantly RAISE one’s communication frustration level.

* OK, sometimes I can have momentary struggles with my own selective hearing? Shhh… don’t tell my husband!

Theory #2: The Memory Gap
(a.k.a. The Black Hole that can sometimes be my brain)

Case Study: A conversation with my husband

Husband: Did you pick-up that birthday gift today?
Me: Ah… what birthday gift?
Husband: Kate, we talked about this last night…
Me: I thought we talked about me going to the bank, going to the grocery story, and then going to the pool with the kids??


Me: Wait… (As I look at my calendar – that I would be lost without)
Husband: (tries very hard NOT to give knowing look)
Me: Oh… THAT birthday gift…

Hypothesis: Three different plausible scenarios to research: a.) The more children the less focus b.) There quite possibly is such thing as “baby brain” (because I swear every time I add another child to the mix my memory has grown worse) OR c.) Multi-tasking sounds effective, but really isn’t …

Theory #3: Lost in translation (Major misinterpretations)

Case Study: A conversation with my mom

My Mother: Take a look at these documents and hang onto them for our vacation.*
Me: Ok (as I put them in my office “inbox” to go through later”) **

3 MONTHS LATER (on our family vacation, the night before we need (?) those “documents”)

Me: Gosh! I can’t believe we are finally here! Yea! Thanks for planning everything mom! And don’t worry! I remembered everyone’s passports and that brochure you gave me… speaking of… why did I need to bring that brochure with me? It didn’t look that important?

PAUSE (as I look around at everyone else’s “important document pile” which looks way more “important” and overflowing that mine.)

My Mother: Where is your book?
Me: What book? …
My Mother: The book with all your necessary boarding passes and luggage tags!
Me: (Well, lets just say MAJOR freak out session! We won’t go into the details, but you can only imagine.)

Hypothesis: Interpretation can vary depending on one’s state of mind. Oh… and important information SHOULD NOT be dispensed during said work time or while in ANYONE’S office space.

* This is what I heard, apparently this is not what she said… Please replace “hang onto them for our vacation” with “don’t forget these, you need them in order to board the ship we are taking on vacation.” (Whoops!)
** Note to self: An
overflowing, unorganized inbox is not a good place to put something that actually needs to get done, and/or is important in any way, and/or has high value when it comes to international travel.

The Results of My Unscientific Study

From the frustrations of ineffectively communicating with my kids, to my own difficulties in communicating, comprehending and confusing other people’s words and actions – effectively communicating is a constant struggle for me.

Is it motherhood OR me? Did this struggle start after motherhood? Or is it a battle I have always been fighting? (The “black hole” in my mind doesn’t remember!)

My youngest son will eventually learn how to communicate verbally, but will I ever learn to communicate effectively?

What I do know is that as I continue to fill my life with blessings, I also continue to add more “business” to my daily routine. Maybe it’s not motherhood that complicates my struggle with communication, but the addition of responsibilities???

Leave a comment! What struggles do you have when it comes to effectively communicating with others and do you think effective communication becomes even harder after having kids?

This post has been contributed on behalf of The National Association of Mothers Centers, whose mission is to create a community of women, who through mutual support and public advocacy, explore, enrich and value the maternal experience.

The post author, Kate Fineske, currently is a staff member with the National Association of Mothers’ Centers where she maintains and provides the content to the Mothers Central Blog – the Parenting Blog of the NAMC. She is also responsible for helping the NAMC work to build stronger connections and support with the local Mothers’ Center Chapters nationally.

Kate is a longtime member of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers through her local chapter of the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. She and her husband are busy raising 3 children ages 1-8. Kate’s professional background is as a graphic designer in the creative and education industry. Since 2005, she has been using her professional skills by actively volunteering with the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in various leadership positions. She also blogs personally at

You can connect with Kate via Twitter (@katefineske) and/or also connect with the NAMC via twitter (@MothersCenters) or Facebook.


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