Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finding My Mommy Voice

Every mom has it.  That look or tone of voice that means business.  The one that makes children (and husbands) run for cover and hide.  For some moms, it comes as naturally as breathing, others of us have to work on it.  Much to my chagrin, I fall in the second category.

I had such romantic notions of parenting before I became one.  I would never yell, I would always use "gentle" parenting techniques, processed, non-organic food would never cross my children's lips, and life would basically be filled with barfing sunshine and farting rainbows.

Yeah.  I'm nothing, if not optimistic.

You see, Miss Chatterbox is what they call a "spirited" child.  That would be a polite euphemism (and us southerners love our euphemisms) for -hold onto you panties, Momma, you're in for a wild ride.  She is my stubborn, determined, independent, exuberant, little fighter who is filled with lollipops and unicorns one minute, piss and vinegar, the next.  Some call her difficult, but I disagree.  She has a strong, healthy sense of self that will protect her from being easily swayed by the crowd and fighting spirit that will help her achieve her dreams.

But, I struggle to parent her within the ideals I believe in.

And, a hyper, tantrum throwing, two going on 20 year old is not a pretty sight.  After a particularly rough morning in which she fought everything from, which (identical) spoon to eat breakfast with to which pair of (identical) white socks to wear and basically screamed for 3 HOURS straight, I was ready to surrender and admit defeat.

In that moment of complete exasperation, I called my mom.

Me: (Whiny voice) Momma, I can't make her listen to me! I've tried everything - time outs, rewards, and bribing.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Mom: (Laughing) Oh Kidsie, you just haven't found your Mommy voice.

Me: Huh?

Mom:  30 years ago, I was in the EXACT same boat.  You think you were a little angel?  Harrumph, guess again!  I figured out that you needed three things. 1 - a strict routine. 2 - Lots of physical activities. 3 - The mom voice.  You have two of the 3.  Just work on the mom voice.

Me:  I have a mom voice!  It isn't working.

Mom: (Laughing) I've heard your mom voice, honey.  It wouldn't keep a mouse out of the cheese.  It needs work.

I hung up the phone resolving to try to hone my mommy voice, but dubious that it would yield any results.  Since it was naptime, I had a few moments to practice my new mommy voice.  So, I stood in front of the mirror making faces and trying out different tones of voice.  Dorky, huh?  The Firefighter definitely got a good guffaw out of it.  He also may or may not have secretly taped it to use for blackmailing purposes.  Bastard.  Remember, Boo, I don't get mad...I get even.

It certainly didn't take long to get an opportunity to try out my new mommy voice.  It was firm, but gentle - perfect- or so I thought.  Miss Chatterbox, however, didn't even stop to glance at me.

"You may want to up your volume and toughen your tone," said The Firefighter.

"Thanks, Coach.  Why don't you get off your ass and try?" I fired back.

"I prefer to be a spectator and my money is on the kid."


So I tried again.  This time much louder and more forceful.  Oh, it stopped Miss Chatterbox, alright.  Also made her cry those big, heartbreaking, crocodile tears with a "why doesn't mommy love me" look in her eyes.

"Hmm, a little to much volume, Dear."  said The Firefighter.

If my eyeballs were laser beams, he would have been vaporized.  "Thanks, Captain Obvious.  Don't you have a wall to paint?"

After a considerable amount of reassurance and cuddling, I sent Miss Chatterbox on her way.  A very short time later, another opportunity for practice arose.  I reverted to the first calmer, gentler voice, but added oomph to it.  I didn't just use the voice.  She got sat in time out every single time I used "the voice".  If she tried to get out early, the timer was reset and she was put back.  It was an exhausting 4 DAYS of tears and tantrums because Miss Chatterbox is nothing, if not stubborn.  But, I did emerge the victor!  She now heeds the mommy voice (must of the time), and spends alot less time screaming.   But it's still a work in progress.  They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing!

I look so innocent!

Tell me I'm not alone in this!  Or lie, to make me feel better.  I'm not picky.


  1. I had the benefit of being a teacher - for middle school kids- for a few years before our first. My teacher voice is scarier than any mommy voice I could have envisioned (can you see a voice?? Just sayin...) myself with. Have fun!

  2. Your posts make me giggle.

    My Mom had a home daycare when I was growing up, I've had my mommy voice since before 12. Plus, I'm not very quiet. Now that the kids are teens I can pull the voice out and make all the teens in the bleachers sit up straight. It rocks lol Keep perfecting it, you're going to need it later as well ;)

  3. I have a very quiet voice, to the point that people will walk away when I'm talking because they don't hear me. At least, I think that's the reason....

    When I raise my voice, it comes out rough and crack-y and I don't know, I can't describe it, other than, it's definately not the Mommy Voice.

    Eventually my kids learned when I meant business anyhow. Yours will, too.

    And then the little one will get big enough to blame things on. And be able to blame back. Big fun.