Friday, June 17, 2011

Watch your tone!

Today I talked to one of my dear friends who just welcomed her first baby into the world just two weeks ago.  I had gone to visit her and meet her little handsome dude this past weekend and she was absolutely glowing with a 'new mommy' aura.  I found myself slightly envious. 

Not that I'm not a 'new mommy', but my 'new mommy' is speckled with the seemingly endless needs (and chatter) of a three- and five-year old.  While Raegan is new, the new-ness of learning 'how' to be a mom doesn't exist any more.  I'm by no means an expert, but I've pretty much got the little tricks down pat.  I've all but mastered how to get out the door in a timely fashion by pre-planning and factoring in the extra time required for the last minute diaper, outfit, and mommy's shirt changing.  I can change a diaper in record time and in any location.  Multitasking has taken on a new look as my family size increases.  Projectile vomit, diaper explosions, and trimming teeny tiny fingernails aren't really scary to me and knowing how to attend to each of them is basically second nature.

I also find myself doing things I never thought I would in order to achieve a level of peace and quiet that otherwise was unattainable.  Bribery, threats (safe, non-physical, and minor), and relying on Nick Jr. and Disney/Pixar have all become a part of my parenting that I'm not necessarily proud of, however they're an intergral part of what helps keep the peace when things get crazy.
While my friend and I were chatting today, I asked her how she was feeling, how things had been going over the past week since seeing her.  The excitement, overwhelming love, and amazement in her voice was very prevalent as she talked about how much she is in love with her son.  I couldn't help but smile.  I remembered when she was pregnant and was feeling nervous about know 'what to do' when her son was born.  I had told her at the time that she'd be absolutely fine, that instinct would kick in and she would figure it out as she went along.  From the sounds of it, what I had told her (along with every other mommy that I work with) was true.

After we hung up the phone, I found myself thinking about the tone of her voice when she was describing the budding relationship that she has with her son.  I remembered that tone, the awe and wonderment of discovering just how big your heart can grow when you become a mommy. 

It got me thinking about my own tone recently.  I absolutely and totally am with my kids.  I am amazed by them daily and am in awe of their abilities and the way they've turned both Randy and me into totally different people without ever really trying.  But when I talk about them to others, does my tone reflect that?  Do I sound like a mom who is over the moon about every runny nose, dirty diaper, whine-laced cry, and level 6 meltdown (I borrowed that last one from my friend!)?  Do I sound exhausted, underwhelmed, slightly disconnected to the miracle that each of my three kids truly is?  Am I sounding stressed out, over-commited, extended beyond my capabilities? 

There are days when I know my tone isn't the greatest.  In fact, there are times during almost every day when my tone could be adjusted.  My dishelved tone doesn't mean that I'm throwing in the towel (admitting defeat/failure), but more like I'm raising my white flag (surrendering).  The two idioms may have similar meaning, however I don't like to use the words 'defeat' and 'failure' when I'm referring to anything I do, most especially mothering.  When I use a tone that isn't the nicest, the friendliest, the most 'mommy-like', it's because I'm frustrated that at that moment I lack the ability to overcome the stressors that are adversly affecting me.  So rather than 'give up', I stop thinking rationally and start using my white flag of annoyance (better known as 'tone'). 

I've been working a lot on recognizing what causes my tone to change, and reducing the stress level (or my response to the stressful situations) not just with myself, but in the whole house.  I know that I am in awe of my kids, I adore them, and, (to borrow a phrase my friend said today), realize just how 'freakin' awesome' they are.  I've always felt that way.  But in the past few months, I've become a mommy who is in need of a few changes, a few adjustments.  So, I'm taking action to be a more 'complete' mommy, a mommy who makes it known just how much she loves her role all from listening to the tone of my voice.

Some of my most recent 'awe-inspiring', 'tone changing' moments with my kids...

keeping cool in the fountains at the park

she's like a little spider monkey

before her first gymnastics class

learning 'straddle'


learning how a gymnast stands

watching Brynn's gymnastics class from the observation deck

walking the beam by herself

ready to swing

swimming/looking like a frog

ladybug Brynn in the jacuzzi

swimming with baby sis

don't let the look of indifference fool you...she loved it

modeling how to play croquet for Brynn


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