You know when you hear your recorded voice and think, “oh my god, that’s not ME, I sound TERRIBLE!”?
Well sometimes I feel like I’m living inside a stereo with a recording of my own voice playing over and over again.
Before I had children I was blissfully unaware of the many voices that lay waiting in my voice box for their debut. There’s:
The Darth Vader in Drag: “Get back here rrright NNNow.”
The Raving Lunatic: You know the one where you’re pretending like you’re talking to them but you’re really just talking to yourself? “I just don’t understand why I have to ask you sixteen times to do something. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why you listen to everyone else. Why don’t you listen to me? It’s driving me crazy……I SAID GET INSIDE NOW!”
The Strangled Seagull: “Stop it, SQUAWK, put that down, SQUAWK, stop picking your nose, SQUAWK, give that back, SQUAWK, get off your brother, SQUAWK, don’t touch that!”
The Town Crier: This one comes out in playgrounds (usually in front of the masses) hollering across a sea of children “You’ve got five minutes until we leave, five minutes! Ok?!! Five minutes...say ‘yes, mummy!’ ... Thank you. FIVE MINUTES!”
The Manic Negotiator: “It’s ok, just breathe, it’s alright it’s alright it’s alright, don’t scream, calm down, it’s your turn next…”
The I Don’t Care Who’s Listening: Usually emerges in the car park shortly following a grocery shop. “GET IN THE CARSEAT! I’M SO UPSET WITH YOU RIGHT NOW! YOUR BEHAVIOUR IN THERE WAS DISGRACEFUL!! I SAID GET IN THE CARSEAT! NO YOU CAN NOT HAVE A LOLLLLLLLYPOP!!!!!!”
This is something I definitely wasn’t prepared for! There are days I actually hate the sound of my own voice. I had no idea that this was such a big part of the parenting gig! I had visions of Lullaby Mama, all gentle and sweet (not to mention coherent and reasonable!)…not this Negative Nancy!
But it seems that even if you approach it in a positive manner, offering them options or choices, telling them what they could or should be doing in lieu of what not to do…no matter which way you spin it ultimately you’re still the bearer of bad news. You spend a great deal of your day trying to convince them that not doing something they want to do, or doing something they don’t want to do, is the way to go. Despite all my best efforts, I still hear myself speaking and think “my god you’re so annoying! You sound so negative all the time”.
And how is it that someone so small, and someone you love so much, can push your every button so very well?! No one else has ever managed to bring to life the I Don’t Care Who’s Listening or the Spitting Dragon (I’ll leave this one to your imagination).
I’m sure that the voices will die down as my children get older…(did that just make me sound totally crazy?!). Until then I guess I just need to try to keep the less productive ones in check and look for ways to bring out Lullaby Mama more (I used to get sneaky when they were infants and change the words of songs to vent my frustrations…like Brahms’ Lullaby “Go to sleep, little one, Mummy’s looosssing the plot”. Yeah, that was a bit of a fail). So…work on Lullaby Mama, and try to find ways to balance out the seemingly negative banter. Pick my battles - I’m not going to win all of them. Try to find a healthy medium between letting them be kids yet ensuring I stay on top of the necessary discipline. Sounds good in theory, I’ll let you know how I go with it! In the meantime I welcome any tips, advice or shared experiences!