When I get a cold it knocks me out. Head fuzzy, sore throat, hacking coughs. It’s not a real pretty picture. And I’m forever thankful each time.
This may sound crazy, and I get that. No one WANTS to be blowing their nose all the time, popping cough drops, lathering oils and wishing for hours under the covers. All of this while taking care of day to day life. And if you’re a parent, you don’t get a day off so the wish of sleeping in bed to get better remains that, a wish.
So why in the world do I give thanks each day I’m under the weather, fighting to stay engaged in the world around me? Because I lose my voice. In the throes of a good cold my voice is shot and it physically hurts to raise it above normal talking level.
Those of you with young kids know it can be quite normal to live a full day with your voice raised *well above* the normal level. Juggling attitudes, repeating yourself constantly, trying to communicate across the house, and more. No wonder we are constantly speaking at high levels. It feels necessary to get our children’s attention.
Each time I get sick I’m reminded there is another way I can choose to speak with my children. And that’s a distinction right there, speak WITH my kids, not AT my kids. While raising little humans (my eldest is 6, youngest is 3 and we are blessed with another in the middle) it is so easy for me to speak at them, not with them. I have to slow down in order to bring them into a dialogue when it is much easier to direct them into action. Being sick reminds me of the difference and as they grow into adults I greatly desire to have a relationship where we speak WITH one another daily.
So instead of only focusing on my fuzzy head and sniffles, I tell myself my body is giving me an opportunity to reset my mom voice. How am I speaking to the kids? Is there a way to slow down so I can speak with them?
Another side effect of my colds that really helps me focus on my voice and language is that if I raise my voice while sick I’m in physical pain. My chest and throat feel as if they are on fire when I speak louder than my “adult to adult” voice level. Each time this happens I think, “Oh my word, I’m hurting myself by speaking louder. There has to be another way to deal with this insanity without hurting myself.”
And THAT thought usually brings another. If my raised voice hurts me, when I’m not sick and use it more often, is it hurting my kids? Now, this is not a mommy guilt trip blog post. This is a self reflection, how can I pivot and be more of the mom I dream about, kind of conversation. I was raised in a family where raised voices and yelling are normal but I have married a man who has shown me there is another way. And while I’m not perfect at it, never will be, I strive for this other way. My soul craves to never raise my voice at my children and only speak with them.
My PTSD is another factor in how I respond to the stress of raising humans…the anxiety, inability to process what’s happening, feelings of overwhelm…but I’m determined to continue fighting for my best self. Again, I’m not perfect. There are moments that bring me great sorrow for how I responded but I have a choice; live in that memory or work to build the future in my dreams.
Each time I get sick I am shown that I don’t have to give into my desire to raise my voice just a little louder so they will hear me. I am reminded there is another way and most importantly I AM capable of choosing it. Now if I could remember this *every time* in throws of chaos and insanity I’d be a happy mama! For now I will choose to embrace my imperfection and celebrate my desire to be more of the mom I was created to be, even if it takes me one step at a time to become her :).