Mean Mom Voice is the way to get things done

Editor April 3, 2017 Comments Off on Mean Mom Voice is the way to get things done
Mean Mom Voice is the way to get things done

I’ve decided I’m going to start yelling at everyone, all the time, in the meanest voice possible. This, I’ve discovered, is how to get things done.
When dropping off a deposit at the bank? “YOU BETTER GIMME SOME CASH BACK, AND I MEAN RIGHT THIS INSTANT.”
When ordering at a restaurant. “BRING ME SOME WATER HOW MANY TIMES MUST I SAY THIS TO YOU.”
I have yet to try this technique at either place, so I’ll have to get back to you on how effective it is. What I can tell you is it’s pretty much the only thing that works at home with my four kids.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I want to be a nice mom. I start out as a nice mom! “Darling child, it appears you’ve left your shoes in the middle of the kitchen, and your socks on the kitchen counter. Will you please put them where they belong while I make your delicious and healthy after-school snack?”
Imagine my loving smile as I make my request, and I am probably wearing pearls. (It’s fun to imagine those things.)
But I might as well be speaking Greek. Silently. I am speaking silent Greek to this 6-year-old child, because he does not even turn his head at the sound of my voice.
“Please put your shoes in the basket, and get your socks off the counter.” My speech is still measured, calm.
He turns to his 9-year-old sister and starts a conversation about Pokemon. The two of them might as well be speaking Greek, but it is not silent.
“Do you hear me talking? Your shoes and socks. Pick them up.”
Pokemon chatter continues, and I’m sure I have failed at parenting because my children are clearly the most rude children in all of America. Enter the Mean Mom Voice. You know the voice—the one you’d never use at the park or the grocery or anywhere public. It’s the voice that humiliates you when you forget the living room windows are open on a beautiful day, and now your neighbors, having heard you screeching about socks, know the truth—that you are possessed by the powers of darkness.
“GET YOUR SOCKS OFF THIS COUNTER THIS INSTANT! AND PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE BASKET NOOOOOOW!!!!”
I might be growing horns at this point.
The 6-year-old’s head snaps in my direction. “Mom! Why do you always have to yell?” He sounds legitimately wounded, as if I’m the unreasonable one here.
Mean Mom Voice is common in the morning because four kids, and school. I wake them cheerfully, “Rise and shine, my darling children! It’s going to be a beautiful day! I have prepared a delicious and healthy breakfast for you!” (Not really. I have cheese sticks and granola bars. Also, I don’t say those things, but the cheerful spirit is there if I’ve had my coffee.)
The kids shuffle downstairs in their pajamas and flop on the sofa. They do not move. And so begins the string of orders/inquiries.
“Did you go to the bathroom?”
“Go to the bathroom.”
“Get dressed. Get dressed. Are you dressed? You’re not dressed! GET DRESSED.”
“Put on your shoes. Brush your hair. Brush your teeth. Do you have your backpack? Did you pack your homework? Put on your shoes. Are you really not wearing shoes? PUT ON YOUR SHOES RIGHT! NOW!!!!” My voice is a guttural growl, horribly unflattering, but you know what? They put on their shoes. Because Mean Mom Voice works.
So I’ve decided to stop frustrating myself with repeated requests in my Reasonable Mom Voice. I’m going straight for the big guns, busting out the Mean Mom Voice first thing.
When I rouse the children in the morning, “GET OUT OF YOUR BED THIS INSTANT DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!!!????”
“YOU BETTER GET THAT HAIR BRUSHED RIGHT NOW AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!”
I think there’s real potential for success here. And if it fails, I’ve at least worked toward further developing my pirate speech. Either way, I win.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at sliindelife@gmail.com.)

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