The Lesson of Laryngitis

Apr 12, 2012 by

So the kids have succeeded in getting me sick… Again.

The three of us have had this respiratory, coughing, sneezing, yucky thing going on starting with my oldest and working its way down to me (somehow my husband has super immunity, as he NEVER gets sick). The cough is one of those deep down in your chest kind of coughs that hurt like hell but give your abs a workout.

So if that wasn’t bad enough,yesterday I woke up to another coughing fit and when I went to talk to hubby, nothing but a whisper would come out.

Crap, I have laryngitis now.

As I’m getting up to start the morning routine I’m thinking of all the things my kids will be getting away with since I have no voice, and of course they aren’t going to listen to a word I say now.  They are SO going to love this!

I go into my son’s room to get him up and he asks if I’m ok (he is very sweet like that, but it only lasts so long, ha!).  I whisper that Mommy has no voice and he is going to have to try to listen really hard today to hear me.  he gives me a hug and gets dressed and ready in record time without a peep.  Hmmm…

Next is to get my daughter up and she just looks at me with this quizzical look when I say “Good morning.”  She starts whispering too which is pretty cute.  No miracle of getting this one changed faster, but there is less screaming.   Hmmm….

After an interesting day of work sounding like a dying 1-900 operator, I had to head to the High School to get my son, who is participating in a rally for education (we start them young in my house).  I’m really starting to feel like crap, but hubby has an important meeting that he cannot get out of.

The rally was supposed to be an hour, but now I’m really feverish.  I knew my son wanted to stay with his friends, but we just had to go.  How am I going to do this?  There are 300 people, all yelling and chanting in the High School gym…O.M.G.  I whispered in his ear that we had to go.  There was a  little bit of debate, but he ultimately agreed, and off we went.

After the kids were in bed and i was curled up on the couch with some tea, I got to thinking how smoothly the day had gone even with my lack of vocal chords.

And then I had my “Ah-ha” moment.  

I do have good kids, but that wasn’t why they listened so well today.  Besides the fact that they simply had to listen harder to hear me and my whisper, I realized my behavior in how I addressed and interacted with them today was different.

When I wanted their attention I couldn’t simply yell from across the room, I had to get up and go to them to talk.  If they did something I didn’t like, I couldn’t just roar my frustrations, I had to whisper them and talk it out.

All the parenting books tell you to do just these things, go to your children when you want something, sit with them face to face when you have something to convey, keep calm and don’t yell.

But, life happens, especially when that life is busy and chaotic with work, school, other commitments, and limited time to get it all done.  We don’t and can’t always parent like “the book.”

But the lesson I learned from this bout with laryngitis is that the goddamn book was right!

I’m not delusional to think that I will never yell at my kids when I get frustrated, I’m human, and let’s face it, sometimes it makes you feel better to just let loose!  But, I don’t have to yell to get things accomplished.  The fact is, when I wasn’t yelling, my kids were much more attentive and engaged in what I was saying.

So the next time when I really want them to get something, to understand me, I’m going to try really hard to go to them, sit face to face, and talk.

Or whisper…

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Dena is the busy mom of a 7-year-old son and a 2 year old daughter. In her “free time” she enjoys a good book, a glass (or 3) of wine, cooking, and looking forward to the day she may finally be able to pee in peace. Her biggest hope in life is that she will produce two happy, healthy adults who will treat themselves and others with compassion and kindness.

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  • Kate Street

    Omg, I LOVE this post! And you’re right! One of my friends and I talked recently that if we want to get our children to comply without yelling we could either whisper or talk like a robot. Both are out of the norm and compelling and it just changes the dynamics instantly. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Dena

      I had a feeling this would be a Kate Street approved post :o) Thanks for the comments… sometimes we need these in your face reminders!

  • Michelle

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!

  • joyofmotherhood

    I Love it Too! – So true – Im guitly of it too yelling from the Kitchen to another room so much so that my 20 month old says I’m talking to you if you dont answer the first time. :) I have to “TRY” and do this for a more peacful home and less stressed Mom! thank you .

  • Kate

    Oh, this post is just so well-timed. My son bugged out over something small this morning and instead of talking it out with him, I ended up…bugging out over something small myself. Even after apologizing to him, I’ve felt rotten it about it all morning and depressed about being a pretty poor model of how to keep emotions in check. Thank you for this!

  • christaallard

    Great post! A great reminder for any parent.

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