What I Learned When I Lost My Voice

Joelle Gilmore

I was out with some friends that night before, toasting the New Year and the birth of a friend’s third child when my voice started to crack. Then it grew smaller and smaller.

When I woke up the next morning, it was gone. Totally gone. All I could manage was a tiny whisper, made audible only by cupping my hands around my mouth like a makeshift megaphone.

Introverted? Yes. Highly sensitive? Yes. Talkative? Somehow, yes.  I am from a talking family. My family communicates with our mouths and our hands going a mile a minute. Overwhelming at first, but you always know what we are thinking.

My husband will tell you that I talk more than anyone he knows. My kids know to ask me when they want an answer instead of the silent head gesture they will get from Daddy. I can be loud. I love to sing. I somehow find myself engaged with other grocery store patrons despite my best interests. (This undoubtedly leads to a good half-hour of me questioning what I said, if I offended this random person, and how much of a fool I like am).

But that day when I lost my voice,  I was silenced. As nice as it would have been to stay home in silence all day (the dream!), I had a playgroup to co-coordinate, an OT appointment to keep, and hopes of going to the gym for a walk.

I wrote everything down in the early morning and depended on my oldest to read my notes and speak them for me. (“Mommy says it’s time to brush your teeth.”). Then he got on the bus, and I was left to contend with two needy, albeit adorable, three 1/2-year-olds.

What I learned when I lost my voice:

  • Do not let your three-year-old order at Dunkin’ Donuts when all you want is a coffee for your friend.
  • It is completely possible to get three young children fed, cleaned, dressed, and out the door without yelling.
  • Engaging in limited conversation during an entire playgroup meeting is wildly refreshing, though a little lonely.
  • When you can’t talk, it’s hard to say “no” to your kids, but easy to say “yes.”
  • Sometimes people listen to a quiet whisper more clearly than a loud boom.
  • Mom sets the tone. Because I had to whisper, they decided to whisper, too. 

My voice was back by bedtime, (thanks, Throat Coat Tea!), but it was gone long enough for me to realize that I need to manage the volume of my voice. I start every day saying my gratitudes and what my goals are for the day. Yelling less is always in those goals there, despite my best intentions. Losing my voice gave me no choice but to see what my day really could be like if I kept my attitude, and my volume, under control.

It wound up being a very good day. A very peaceful day. A very quiet day.

I’m not sure if the calm should be attributed to my imposed whispers or the caffeinated pumpkin coffee my kids ordered for me all by themselves, but I’ll take it.

Head to the Family Room

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Joelle Gilmore is a 30-something mom of three small children trying to find balance after a past of Type-A living. In 2012 she stepped aside from her career in academia to care full-time for her infant twins and 2-year-old son. Since then, she's been blogging about her parenting ups and downs, her battle with Multiple Sclerosis, her sons' sensory issues, and the self-reflections that often surface in the course of parenthood.