The Gift of Laryngitis

I think it would be ideal if a mom lost her voice at least once a year.

As a reminder.

This morning, after a couple of weeks of sore throat, my voice was all froggy and croaky, then pretty much gone.

Oddly, laryngitis can be a gift because it can illuminate a few bad habits that we can so easily slip into that make us less effective as moms. (who, me!?). I posted about this 5 years ago when I mentioned that laryngitis was helping me meet a parenting goal.

I wrote:

“What would change about your day with your kids if you couldn’t speak above a whisper? I found out today.

I had a bit of a cough and sore throat that turned into laryngitis when I woke up this morning. I found myself:

  •  touching my kids and hugging more
  • going to them (instead of -gasp!- yelling across the house for them to come to me) and arresting their attention before speaking, and
  • a total lack of arguing/debating/endless discussion.

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).

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!
  • 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.
  • Zero tolerance of Obvious and/or Dumb Questions. (And unlike some people, 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 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?

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