I recall going through life with so much to say but holding it all in. And when I spoke, I would habitually say what I thought people wanted to hear, always choosing to bite my tongue to avoid stepping on toes.
Funny enough, I remember getting my toes trampled on and being the one to apologize. I was hit by a speeding car…at a pedestrian crossing… in a school zone…and I apologized.
I’m telling you, my vocal chords did their own thing.
Things finally turned around when my daughter was born. As her role model and spokesperson, I thought I’d help her find her voice. Instead, she helped me discover mine.
What Motherhood Taught Me About The Power Of My Voice
1) Speak your truth…even if your teeth chatter – I want my daughter to tell it like it is. I don’t want her to take the easy way out. I want her to know that vulnerability is a strength. So naturally, I have to show her what this looks like. For me, that means having tough conversations through chattering teeth, even in mid-August.
2) Let it flow – Kids rock at this. They blurt out anything, anywhere, all the time. We could learn a thing or three from them. Don’t hesitate. Don’t second-guess. DON’T think before you speak.
3) Don’t spare their feelings – I am a recovering people-pleaser — always in the habit of saying and doing for others. I finally had to kick the habit when I was repeatedly approached by well-meaning strangers who would hand giant lollipops to my toddler without asking me first. I have mastered that polite rejection shpeal to the 70-and-under category. I still struggle with the oldies.
4) Let your happiness be free of volume control – In celebration of the safe arrival of my nephew, a.k.a miracle baby, I recently let out a loud “YEAHHHH” while standing on my balcony. Heehee. I still can’t believe I did that. It felt good to express joy on full blast. When my little girl gets excited, the whole neighborhood knows. I knew it would be fun to get in on that.
5) Be quiet and clear the clutter – I realize that suggesting silence sounds partly contradictory to my message but note the difference between being silent while being tormented by the monkey mind vs. being silent while at peace. Thought-overload doesn’t allow clear communication. I sit for 20 minutes a day, thought free. Clarity in mind, soul and speech.
6) Talk to yourself out loud – A kid talks to herself and it’s cute. Mama dares to do it and you look at her like she’s cray cray. In my opinion, it’s an effective way to practice speaking while getting comfortable with the sound of your voice.
7) Say “no” – I used to incessantly over-commit myself. But I quickly learned the importance of making myself a priority as a mom. My daughter and my self really appreciate it when I don’t spread myself thin.
8) Speak up for what you want – Becoming a mom made me more aware of my finances than ever. But being frugal doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the good life. I managed to make my ideal living space fit the budget in reducing rent by $1200 annually. I scored tickets to some world class events and enjoyed quite a few amazing products and services without spending a dime. All of that was possible because I vocalized my worth through negotiation and sold my skills when bartering.
Let me tell you, with my new-found voice, life is lot more aligned with my feelings and desires.
In the comments below, let me know which of the eight lessons you could benefit from or share some of your own.
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I'm Nat Nanton, founder of Tutu Mama. Becoming a mother has made me commit to living my greatest life. If you can relate to that, you're in the right place.
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