All through my school, there was one complaint from all the teachers – I didn’t talk at all! Anybody who knows me when I was in school would know that except for a few close friends, I hardly talked with anybody else. Any guests at home would always wonder why I never talked.
Though I changed a bit over the years from a complete introvert to, say, a semi-introvert, it was only in the last few years that I changed for the worse – of course, I didn’t stop and chat with every Tom, Dick and Harry I met, but I was suddenly using my voice all the time.
There is always a need to keep a conversation going when you have two small kids at home. There are always curious questions to be answered, stories to be told, books to be read and of course, a lot of rhymes and lullabies to be sung. Then there is always that part of me which wants to stay connected with my parents and sister which ends up with phone calls where it is me talking non-stop narrating the activities of the kids, all the while talking with the kids too in parallel!
Moving away from all these nice parts, it is now time to talk about a bad trait of mine which became full-blown during the last couple of years – my patience level has always been low and I always become irritated and angry very quickly. I am definitely not the sweetest person I know and grace is the last word that I would associate with myself.
So, post the birth of my son, even as I struggled to tackle the never-ending household chores and my Masters studies in parallel all the while handling THE most important task of taking care of my two children, I slowly started becoming a bundle of nerves. If the kids started crying, I was only getting stressed out even more and whether it was scolding or trying to make the elder one understand or singing some rhymes or songs to calm the younger one, I did them all in a very loud voice. I was talking a lot – even if it was only to whine more to myself about how there was always something to be done or how I just didn’t know how to calm a crying child without shouting or, even worse, trying to reason out with the child! There were no free moments or no me-time and it was indeed, a very crazy, but, more importantly, a very happy period of my life.
In between all these, I always had my family advising me to take it easy and being an avid Internet-lover that I am, I did read a lot of self-help and counselling tips from several stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) like me. But I could practice staying calm and being relaxed only for a few days at a stretch before I became stressed out again.
It could be only something as simple as seeing toys strewn all around the house. But it is really not that simple when there are at least a hundred pieces of all sorts of colourful things lying all around the house and you have to pick up every single one of them before you can sweep the floor. That caused me to immediately start off about how I am just tired of doing all the cleaning all the time!
Quoting my post in March:
On the personal front, I have to tell you that it is no cake walk managing two young kids and doing all the household work too in parallel. The constant stress of having to clean up the vessels in the ever-piling sink full of dishes and the specks of dirt and dust everywhere waiting to be cleaned up and not to forget the bathrooms which require regular cleaning up has only resulted in my stress levels in the recent times being on the increasing side. Ironically, despite being a stay-at-home-mom, I would say that I just don’t get enough time to play and have fun with my kids.
In the coming months, I am seriously going to practice two things – improving my patience levels and not letting my stress rub off on others around me. I also hope to soon find something related to GIS to work on.
Yes, there is always that part of me still in search of something to do outside of the household chores – some part-time or a freelancing job. And that is definitely another stress factor.
From sometime this February till mid-April, I seriously started putting in a lot of effort to improve my patience levels as well as decreasing my stress levels. The post in March was also a result of that. But just when I thought I was finally in the process of becoming completely relaxed, I started having problems with my voice.
What I thought was just a sore throat turned out to be a problem with the vocal chord caused because of everything that I have written above – excessive use of voice, shouting and singing!
While my voice is on the road to recovery, it has been advised a lot of rest for the next 6 months! While I am happy that this has come as a blessing in disguise to help me control my stress and shouting, the biggest punishment to me is not singing for the next 6 months! No lengthy phone calls and no reading of stories to my daughter too!
It has been 5 weeks since I started being mindful of how much and more importantly, how I use my voice. Except for three instances in the last week, when my old self was slightly back for a very brief while, I seem to be managing ok, though I should definitely reduce my talking even more.
In the midst of all this, now, more than ever, I know that the shouting or whining formed only a very less part of the day than all the other ‘good use’ of my voice that I was doing. While I definitely miss singing rhymes to my younger one, reading books to my elder one and not singing my favourite A.R.Rahman’s songs, Shri raaga varnam or Yoga Yoga, I will definitely put this temporary rest period to good use and try my best to use my voice wisely.
P.S.: The very length of this post shows that I have been using way too many words, doesn’t it? 😉