Friday, October 2, 2009


I yell.  I admit it.  It's a bad habit, and I try not to do it.  But somehow, it just seems like no one can hear me.  I get this idea like, surely, if they could only hear me, they would be doing what I asked.  Right?  Perhaps they wouldn't constantly ask me to repeat myself.  So I'll just say it a little louder and then they'll hear and follow my instructions. 

Not so.

They could hear me, but they are not listening.  I don't know how to get them to listen, but I discovered soemthing this week.

I have been sick for about a week with a chest cold.  I can talk, but my voice is quiet, and I can't yell at all.  I don't have the voice, the chest or frankly the energy to yell at my kids.  And you know what?  They can't hear me.  They can't hear me at all when I speak in a regular tone of voice.

"Mommmm!  Mommm?" 

I am answering...from a regular voice.  "What?"  They can't hear me.  Not at all.

"Quit it.  I mean it.  Quit hitting your sister.  Quit biting your brother.  Stop that.  Put that down.  I said quit."  But notice no all-caps, no boldface, no !!!!!'s, for Goodness sake.  They can't hear me at all.

I am going through this week with a keyboard without any [ctrl][b].

And it's funny, kindof.  In a way, I have sort of absorbed this idea that I don't have to yell.  Heck, I can't.  They can't hear me?  Too bad.  My warnings go unheeded?  Too bad for you.  My information goes unlearned?  Wish you'd known that, hunh?  They can't hear my responses, my advice, my instructions, my scolding.  Okay, they're probably ahead on that last one.  But I've stopped trying to yell, because it takes too much energy.  I begin to wonder what if I conserved all that energy all the time?  Maybe I could just go through life without yelling.  But nothing is going right.  We live together as social creatures, and we really do need to communicate with each other.  And they aren't hearing me.

So what's a quiet mother to do?  I've been pondering the yelling.  This bad habit that I've been trying to kick.  But all week, I haven't been able to help, discipline or advise my children.  There is no information whatsoever going from me to them.  I can hear their questions, but they can't hear my responses.  I did manage to read them a story, but had to repeat part because they couldn't hear me over their jostling in the bed.  I couldn't ask them about their school day in the car, because they couldn't hear me over the engine and window noise.  I'd like to stop yelling, but communication needs to go both ways.

I guess I'll just have to start yelling again.

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