Monday, June 17, 2013
Sometimes we moms have to use the voice. It's a far cry from a soft, sweet, comforting voice, or an urgent, worried voice, or a lovingly encouraging voice. No, this is the voice we save for extreme situations, like when our children refuse to listen to us. By "listen", I mean both definitions of the word. The first definition* is the more basic: to actively try to register and comprehend what is being said. If you have ever been ignored in favor of Sponge Bob, you understand what I mean. The second definition* of to listen I am referencing is to comply with an explicitly expressed request or command. Of course, in order to accomplish #2, one must first be willing to do #1. The voice is sometimes brought out of storage in the nether regions of the throat for #1, but is used primarily for #2. The voice can be engaged out of anger, frustration, irritation, or desperation, but no matter what the reason, the voice demands immediate attention. Our children know that we are not kidding, and that they have only one chance and they better not mess up. If we utter their complete name--first, middle and last--using the voice, we strike terror into their hearts and are assured of their complete and immediate compliance. The first time or two, that is. After that, the voice starts to lose its effectiveness unless we back it up with physical aggression or punitive consequences, neither of which I recommend.
Our kids are going to test us, push our limits (and our buttons) and try to get away with as much as they can. We need to have a bunch of weapons in our mommy arsenals, but the easiest, cheapest, most natural one at our disposal is the voice. Use yours well.