I Am Not Invisible….Am I?

 

My life is loud. I have one husband, 4 children, 3 dogs, and a cat. We also have two fish named Ethel and Fred and an algae eater named Oscar but they are generally pretty quiet. Most days my house literally vibrates from dawn until around 10pm. It is probably still loud after 10 o’ clock, however, I am usually sound asleep by then and would probably sleep through a zombie apocalypse.

Our kids range in age from 10 to 18 years and they have been making noise since about 5 minutes after conception. Our only daughter is the eldest and then we have 3 boys. I don’t know what she did in a past life to deserve them sometimes, but if I had to guess, I would say either she was a slum lord or a very unscrupulous used car salesperson. A little lesson for you…. Karma is apparently forever and quite unforgiving. But I digress.

Being part of a fairly large family, by today’s standards, it is sometimes challenging to control the volume of our existence. To be honest I’m not entirely sure we would even be capable of locating our mute button. Much like unicorns and ogopogos the entire concept of indoor voices and silence seems almost mythical.

So between dogs barking, music blaring, unwatched televisions blasting endless laugh tracks, my husbands air compressor ( which will inexplicably turn itself on for no apparent reason…usually between 2am and 4 am) my sons screaming at their xbox and my yelling for everyone to turn it all down. We are the very definition of a life lived on full blast and in stereo.

I blame myself. Why wouldn’t I? I set the tone. Unfortunately the tone is set at ten. My excuse is simple. My family is 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. My regular voice, that ironically is quite audible to those to whom I am not related, to my children, is completely ineffectual.

Now I should qualify that. If I was to say ” who wants their allowance?” In a voice so low that it would barely register to the human ear they will magically appear at my side before I even have time to complete my next thought. However if I was to say “whose turn is it to take out the garbage?” In my regular voice to 4 children within 3 feet of my person, I will generally receive the blank looks usually reserved for those speaking to them in a foreign language.

So how do I respond? Simple. I raise the level of my voice…not right away of course. I try and practice self control. After all we do have neighbours. But there is that limit, that line in the sand that once it has been breached there is no going back. So after I feel there has been a reasonable period of time (usually 1-2 minutes) between request and response and I have received nothing. I feel compelled on an almost cellular level to raise the decibel of my voice to its maximum vocal capacity. This is more commonly known as a yell or a scream depending on the seriousness of the situation.

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 2 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 known universe that fails to censure themselves 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 Walmart and I’ve dined at McDonald’s. I’ve seen and bared witness to parents whose children have exposed their last nerve and laughed gleefully while doing so. I’m not saying children are bad I’m just saying they seem to casually push our buttons like they are playing with Wii remotes.

So if you are a parent that has experienced the pain and disillusionment that comes from years and years of unrequited validation. I, for one, would like to take this opportunity to validate 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 air craft carrier landing strips. I can appreciate how soul sucking it can be to live in a house where unless you are handing out food or money you are about as noticed as a ghost. I get it and I am on your side.

Now I am sure there are psychologists who can present me a litany of useful tools that can equip me with more positive coping strategies. I know these will emphasize the importance of patience and positive reinforcement when dealing with children who are listening challenged. I understand all this. I’ve read the books and I am familiar with Oprah. It’s just that in my house if you aren’t living out loud in techno colour crazy you may get mistaken for a potted plant that never gets watered because some kid says and I quote ” I never heard you ask me to do that.”

 

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28 thoughts on “I Am Not Invisible….Am I?

  1. Great piece, well written. I love the mixture of entertaining humour and heart tugging sincerity – enjoyed reading it. Thanks for following my blog:-) Blessings on your new year – now that MUST be REALLY LOUD!!! Hugs, Harula xxx

  2. Hehe – this post brought back memories!I grew up in a family with 6 kiddos, and I never understood why some people were overwhelmed by visiting us. I get it now, our house was LOUD and insane. And my poor mom yelled all the time, and still mostly got ignored. I feel bad for what my mom went through now, but as a kid I really didn’t get it. All I can say is more power to you chica!! Celeste :)

  3. Thanks for starting to follow my blog. And thank you for helping me feel every so slightly less depressed about my own less than impressive parenting abilities. I too have read books, been on courses and picked up some genuinely useful parenting techniques (as well as many other ideas that seem to have been dreamt up by self-appointed experts who can’t have been within fifty miles of a real child – or not mine anyway). But what the experts don’t tell you is, these clever strategies and philosophies only ever work some of the time at best.

    It’s funny, most people outside my immediate family think that I’m a fairly quiet, softly spoken, gentle kind of person – that’s what they say. And it’s generally quite true apart from (1) sometimes when I’m behind the wheel of my car, (2) when my kids are shouting, fighting or being rude, and especially (3) when both 1 and 2 happen both at the same time. You haven’t experienced rage unless your kids are throwing objects at each other on the back seat while screaming and crying, and one such object hits you on the back of the head at the exact same moment some jerk cuts you up in the fast lane. Even Mother Theresa would morph into a homicidal nut at that point.

    Anyway, I’m afraid I haven’t got any helpful tips for you, but just know that I feel your pain. And comfort yourself with the thought that, one day, some of your kids will have kids of your own and then they’ll understand …

    1. I would love to take a peak inside the medicine cabinet of any parent who says they haven’t ever lost their mother loving mind over something their child has or hasn’t done. Thanks for following and if I cut you off it was probably because one of my darlings “accidentally” shot me in the head with their nerd gun…..

  4. Thanks for the like! I also find myself yelling alot and talking to brick walls that look like my children. Sometimes I resort to the hand under the chin, the eye contact, and quiet but creepy voice to get their attention… not sure which is worse!

  5. Thank you for visiting and following my blog. I only had one child, but grew up in the middle of four brothers and we all had a baby sister after a five year gap. It was noisy.

    With my daughter, I would make eye contact and mouth something soundless to her, the shock made her ask what I said! It usually worked and we both ended up laughing!

  6. Loved it. Loved the tone. Loved the attitude. I relate to this completely. I have two of my own and I’m glad I’m not alone when I think all these books and advice are only good when all the stars line up and under perfect lab conditions.
    Keep ‘em coming.

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