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The Mommy Tone

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There is a tone that parents take when the world around them and their childrenare serious and concerning – not exactly a monotone – but what I have euphemistically called the MommyTone.

The Mommy Tone is anything but shrill or loud. It is calm, low, below-speaking decibel low and it is used during a potential panicky time. It never lies, but gives as much truth as one can handle and it always seems amazingly subdued when looking back at the moment a day or two later.

Initially it starts when parents realize that when if you react too loudly you scare your child and she starts to cry – not from hurt but surprise. I have seen it used right after witnessing a bump or bruise erupting , after some limb is safely begun to stop bleeding, when we have to explain a solemn issue, reprimand a bad decision or answer a somber question of a nine-year old.

What’s successful about the MommyTone is that it can be professional sounding, careful and deliberate – for me it bears a lot of resemblance to the persuasive speaking we do when encouraging an office mate to take your shift, correct a mistake, go with your idea. It is matter of fact, so much so that once the panic and concern has subsided, there’s often a dramatic big breath or rush of tears for the speaker – after all the cost is now clear.

Fortunately, the MommyTone is used sparingly, to ease a worry, support a theory, explain a reality. I best remember this tone when I honed it for to work in teams for a college project, for selling a big idea to a new client, and much later in my life explaining why our child has to go to the doctor for a check up or that grandpa is very ill.

And although it is not something that any parent wants to use, it is always there, slightly below the surface to call upon like a verbal band-aid when the next skinned knee comes along.

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