Written by Girl Birthday Gift
On Monday I took the boys to a new park as a reward for bravely enduring their annual flu shots. Such an ordeal deserves a prize as grandiose as a shiny new-to-us park, after all.
There we were. Or should I say there they were, zipping down the slides and flinging their army men off the edge of those death trap fire poles. (WHY do they put those in parks for toddlers and young children? Seriously. And would you consider yourself a "park mom"? I don't. I consider myself a "sit-on-the-benches-and-don't-bother-me-unless-you-are-bleeding-because-I-am-reading-a-great-book mom". It's called sanity, people.) I began hearing mom voices with their high-pitched vowels creeping up over the edge of the pages and weaseling their way into my ears.
"Sweetie, we have to wait our turn. No, no, noooo we don't push other people in line."
"Do you want to go on the swings with brother?!
"You turn around and go tell that little boy sorry. You gave him an owie."
"Would that make you happy if mommy played trucks with you?"
"YAAYYYY! Good job!"
"Ooopsy! It's okay. Ohhhh, it's okkaaaaayyy. Mommy's got youuuu."
Disclaimer: I am not making fun of moms. Okay, yes, I am making fun of moms. BUT! That includes myself. I guarantee I have uttered each of these statements approximately 3,462 times in my short career as a mother. Really, if anyone deserves a trophy in the world of mom voice, it's me! Gold medal, numero uno! Look at my kid in the picture above giving himself the face palm because of my mom voice!
I started silently laughing to myself, because a few weeks earlier I had just watched The BreakWomb video about what it would look like if moms talked to their friends the way they talk to their kids. It had never occurred to me how much we practically morph into another person when talking to kids. Specifically our own.
And it started me thinking. And observing.
Do I talk to my kids like that? Yes, we have already established that concept.
Do ALL moms talk to their kids like that? Are you THAT mom?
(Side story! I just was Googling why moms use baby talk and the science behind it, but look at which suggestions popped up based on popular search. Things like this give me both a sense of incredulity and faith in humanity. I'll tell you why moms hate Caillou. He's a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner of that magnitude. And he's too old to be doing the baby talk thing... wait a minute. I bet you Caillou's mom does the mom voice when nobody is looking! And moms kiss their babies because they smell like pink slices of cake from heaven. I would also like to point out that moms don't hate their sons, they just hate the decisions they are making. The rest of these make me sad and I don't want to talk about them. Moving on AGAIN...)
Alright, as you were, as you were. Apparently science tells us that the term I have so scholarly dubbed "mom voice" is more widely known as "motherese" or "parentese" and it is used for bonding and language development. Mothers naturally tend to do this so they can teach their kids how to connect on a more intimate level.
Now that we have learned it is a maternal instinct to "motherese" the cheeks right off our kids' faces, at what age do we stop? Do you find yourself speaking more directly to your kids and conversing with them in a normal, adult manner from an early age? Six months? One? Five? Personally, my own mom has never been one for the baby talk, and always spoke directly with us and still does with anyone age one and up—er, possibly even four months and up, but who's counting? I appreciate that and try to remind myself to tone it down with the, "Ohhhhh, my little bayyybeee!" Especially since Wes just turned two.
In turn, I have found myself paying more attention to how mothers speak with their children as well. It's incredibly fascinating, don't you think? On a scale of 1-10, how guilty are you of the mom voice?
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