I think it would be ideal if a mom lost her voice at least once a year.
Just as a reminder.
Oddly, laryngitis can be a gift. It can illuminate bad habits that we easily slip into that make us ineffective as parents. (who, me!?). One of the biggest of these bad habits is talking too much!
Because I had laryngitis, I found myself touching my kids and hugging them more. I found them and went to them (instead of yelling across the house for them to come to me). I arrested their attention before speaking, and, here’s the best part:
I didn’t argue/debate/endlessly discuss things with the kids.
You know what kind of arguing I mean…
“Mommy can I wear the pink dress?”
“No honey that one is sleeveless and it’s cold and rainy out, please wear the purple one.”
“Mommy I want the pink dress!”
“No honey, the shirt you wear under it blahblahblahblah…”
Instead, I let my first “no” be good enough and held firm. I had no other choice, I couldn’t use a bunch of words (that a 4 year old wouldn’t be listening to anyway). I had my reasons for not wanting her to wear the pink dress, but I didn’t go blathering on about them.
And so she accepted the answer.
Not having a voice has made our school day a little more complicated. Caleb had to lead the discussion after Bible reading, and I couldn’t do dictation with Julien and Ilana. No read alouds either, unless the older kids do it.
But other than that, it’s not bad. In addition to what I said above, there are a couple of other “benefits”.
- I’m making sure to get a child’s full attention (eyeballs) before speaking to them. No talking to anyone’s back.
- Since talking is such an effort, I only say things ONCE. I really need to work on this! We know that when we repeat ourselves to our kids, we are training them not to obey us the first time.
- I’m gesturing instead of speaking. And I’m using ONE WORD instead of a bunch of words. Kids know what you mean most of the time. This was a great tip I remembered from the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.
- Zero tolerance of Obvious and/or Dumb Questions. (And yes, I do believe there is such a thing as a Dumb Question and whoever said there isn’t didn’t have several kids!) Kids often ask Obvious or Dumb Questions to get out of work or to avoid thinking for themselves. Instead of replying, they get a blank stare.
Now if only I can remember to keep these good habits up once my voice is back!
Have you ever lost your voice? Did it affect how you parented?