Deep inside you lurks the mum voice. Combined with the eyes-of-death and a commanding gesture it’ll stop any kid in their tracks!
Here’s how to find it and how to use it…
I’m a pretty easy-going person. Friendly. Happy. Sweet-natured, most of the time. When I fell pregnant, I just knew I was going to be one of those unflappable mums who would never raise her voice. I would always speak kindly and bake copious amounts of cookies.
The first year or so after my son was born went pretty much as planned. I was cheerful, soothing, encouraging, gentle – I was nailing it!
Then one day, quite by accident, I discovered my mum-voice.
My son, newly walking, developed a serious fascination with our kitchen rubbish bin. I was constantly plucking his hand from the lid and steering him away, all the while cooing, “No, we don’t play with the bin, gorgeous boy.”
But the kid was determined. The bin clearly contained some delightful mystery, and my attempts to distract him were about as effective as a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen lake. He wasn’t bothered by this silly woman and her tactics to move him on! Happily ignoring me, he turned back to the all-important task of rubbing every single bit of wayward potato peel, escaped coffee ground and indeterminate splash of brown liquid all over his curious little hands.
And that’s when it happened. It bubbled out of me, almost involuntarily; a sharp, guttural, proverbial cannonball that rose up from the pit of my stomach, shot out and hurtled straight toward my son before I could stop it.
“JACKSON. STOP PLAYING WITH THE BIN.”
Interesting. I wasn’t angry at him. My eyes were narrowed like I was angry, my voice had dropped two octaves and doubled in decibels, but I was actually feeling quite calm.
He looked up at me. I had stunned him. But the effect was only momentary, and sure enough, one pudgy little hand reached out once again to touch its bacteria-laden prize.
“JACKSON. WHAT DID I SAY?”
Again, that eerily calm feeling washed over me as I watched his face crumple in the aftermath of what had been the very first time he had ever been firmly told “No”.
It was a defining moment of motherhood. Who knew that I had this perfectly crafted parenting tool just sitting in my mummy-arsenal, waiting to be called upon in all its formidable-yet-perfectly-controlled glory? And where did it come from? Maybe one of the lesser-known post-birth hormones? Like hey, you’re going to produce breast milk now and you’re going to start getting your period again, oh and by the way CHECK OUT THIS SHINY NEW VOICE YOU GET TO PLAY WITH.
I still remember being on the receiving end of this voice when I was a kiddo. Now the baton has been passed. The voice is mine. And using it is glorious.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t chase my kid around the house eight hours a day, bellowing at him in a giddy rampage intended to strike fear into his little heart. 90% of the time, I am the sweet, unflappable, cookie-baking mum that I envisioned. But there are just some occasions in motherhood when you need to strike fear in your kid’s heart, and on those occasions, my mum-voice rears its monstrous head like an angry swamp beast. Boom, kid. You’ve been parented.
Are you ready to embrace your own mum-voice?
Here’s our top three tips for harnessing your mum voice to parenting success!
1. Don’t over-use it
The key to really optimising your mum-voice is to use it sparingly. Look at it this way: if a bikie with a machete came knocking at your door one day, you would flip the freak out, right? But if he appeared regularly and you realised that although he looked scary, he never actually did anything to hurt you, you’d eventually just find it annoying, perhaps groaning, “Oh, Greg’s here again, making that bloody racket.” Suddenly Greg’s not so intimidating. Likewise, over-using your mum-voice may result in your kids’ ears just blocking out the frequency as they roll their eyes and mutter, “She’s on a rampage again.”
2. Don’t abuse it
Mum-voice is power, and with great power comes great responsibility. First and foremost, we are a safe place for our kids. It can be exhilarating to wield power over tiny people, but we must remember that they’re our tiny people. Their still-developing brains won’t always compute the fact that mum can use the voice and still love them at the same time. So balance that toughness with plenty of reassuring cuddles and kind words in between.
3. Be proud of it
Your mum-voice is unique and beautiful. There’s only one like yours. Own it, hone it, and reap the rewards its careful employment bestows. Generations of mums before you have paved the way – and now is your time to shine. Unleash that mum-voice and be proud!