Joco Opinion

‘The Sound of Music’ changes mother’s outlook

Do you ever feel as if you’re spending most of your days repeating yourself?

I said do you ever feel as if…

The lack of people not listening to me is one of the top reasons I became a writer. I have a lot to say about essentially nothing, but I have rights. Unless I crank up my volume, screeching like a crazy woman, words fly out the window, never to be heard.

Writing this column over the years, however, has given me a calm, possibly false, sense of relief. I pretend people pay attention to what I say, despite having little proof whether my words go straight to the recycling bin or are discussed at the breakfast table. I choose to picture the latter.

Nevertheless, I fear I’m doomed. The occupants of my household are what most cultures would call continuously chatty. This doesn’t apply just to humans because my mouthy pets drive me nuts, too. Since I work from home, the sounds of our furry children hissing or barking at each other bombard me every five minutes. Talk about destroying my focus and calm nature. But like the children, the animals could care less about my sensitivities.

The constant noise is challenging, but the real issue is it affects my ability to get in my 2 cents. Even though I’ve taught my daughters to not interrupt someone while they are talking, the lesson in social graces has backfired. Each girl has discovered if she keeps her mouth running 24/7 then she gets all the attention. Life is but a stage for our family and I keep getting pushed into the orchestra pit.

Before my alarm goes off to remind me I must pick up my children from school, I take several deep-breathing exercises.

In with the calm, out with the stress…

Putting on a big “happy to see you” smile, I listen to my daughters as they pour into the minivan. Simultaneously, they talk at me with tones far too high to be detected on the decibel meter for normal young girls. I try to interrupt so I can hear both of their stories, but most days this is a lost cause.

Arriving at home, they head to opposite corners of isolation. Apparently, they are tired of talking, and since they don’t agree with the concept of listening to me, they disappear.

When it’s time to start homework, my children become deaf and mute. No matter how many times I remind them they need to get started, it’s as if I’m speaking in tongues. If I hollered, “Let’s do homework while eating this huge chocolate cake!” they might respond. But if they had cake at school, all bets are off.

It doesn’t help my situation that our house is well-insulated. Several years ago, while watching the Von Trapp family musical for the umpteenth time, I shook my head as the Captain blew his silver whistle to summon his children.

How could a parent do something so degrading?

But one day when my girls were 7 and 8, after being ignored four times, I tweeted out horrific notes on an orange plastic recorder sitting on the kitchen counter.

“Mom! What’s that awful noise? You’re breaking our ears!” they screamed, running toward me. I ushered them to the table, as they took their work out of their backpacks while muttering how their mother had “finally gone crazy.”

I’m a big fan of the Captain now. Who would have ever thought I’d take parenting tips from an angry widow, and that an orange recorder would be my instrument of choice. Everybody has their own special “Sound of Music.”

Stacey Hatton adores emails (any form of communication really) and can be reached at LaughingWithKids@yahoo.com.

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