My life is loud. I have one husband, four children, three dogs and a cat. Most days my house literally vibrates from dawn until about 15 minutes after decent people are sound asleep.
Being part of a fairly large family, it is sometimes challenging to control the volume of our existence. Much like unicorns and Ogopogos the entire concept of indoor voices, mute buttons and silence seem almost mythical.
I blame myself. Why wouldn't I? I set the tone. Unfortunately the tone is set at ten. My excuse is simple. My children are incapable of hearing the sound of my voice. I am essentially white noise, elevator music, a sad pantomime in the middle of a dark theater.
Now I should qualify that. If I was to say, “who wants their allowance?" in a voice so low that it barely registers to the human ear, they will instantly appear at my side as if transported by magic. In fact the only time you experience quiet in my house is asking someone to do something to earn that allowance.
So how do I respond? Simple. I raise the level of my voice...not right away of course. I try and practice self-control. But there is that limit, that line in the sand, that once it has been breached it's game over. And once I get there....well let’s just say, my voice has been known to get responses from children in neighbouring homes.
Am I proud of this? Of course not. Do I live in a constant shame spiral of parenting despair? Sure I do. Do I anticipate Dr. Phil's producers to approach me to come on his show to stage an intervention. Every single day. Is my voice sometimes so hoarse I talk like I have a two-pack a day smoking habit? Yes. But what is the solution?
I LIVE A LIFE THAT REQUIRES ALL CAPS COMMUNICATION!
I know in my heart of hearts I am not the only parent in the world that has failed to censure their voice in the heat of the moment. I have heard the quiet whispers at 'mommy and me' classes that speak of stories similar to mine. I've been to Wal-Mart and I've dined at McDonald's.
So if you are a parent that has experienced the pain and disillusionment that comes from years and years of unrequited validation, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge you. I heard you. I understand. I know you said it in your Barney voice 17 times before you lost your mind and screamed it out in a voice usually reserved for carnivals or near death experiences. After all, you are only human, even if your children sometimes treat you with the same amount of deference as a potted plant.
There is some good news - well maybe not exactly good news. But statistically speaking, chances are, that one day these same children will grow up, have children of their own and become invisible too.
Janyce Resh has lived and worked in the Okanagan for the past seven years. She is the mother of eight children, four of them of the furry variety. In her free time she writes a blog on [email protected] because a long time ago she decided that life required her to find the funny and rant about it.