“Momma” v. Therapist

by Kimberly on July 30, 2009 · 6 comments

This is an unofficial statistic, but I would say 85% of music therapists are women.

And of those, many are moms.

I am one of those moms. I have two beautiful children, a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old. And for me, being a mom makes me a better music therapist and being a music therapist makes me a better mom.



But I’ve noticed something interesting. I primarily work with children and I have recently caught myself using my  “momma” voice with them.

You know that voice I am talking about? It’s the directive, you-do-this-or-else voice that develops right as your first child turns two. It’s the one that gives the big count-down: “1! 2! 3! 4! 5! Okay…it’s time-out time!” And it’s the one that barks, especially the first and middle name of your child (I still freeze if I hear “Kimberly Mary!”).

And I have caught myself slipping into my “momma” mode when trying to get one of my clients to make a good choice or to follow my directions.

I don’t mean to slip into that voice. It’s a bit of a natural reaction right now (and given that I have a 2 year old, I use my “momma” voice…oh, all the time.)

I am not really sure the best way to handle this when it happens. I don’t think it’s best for me, as a therapist, to have that type of dynamic with my clients. But is there a fix? At this point, all I am doing is being aware of it when it does happen, then consciously stopping myself and taking a new tack. Is anything more needed?

I don’t have the answers here, so I guess what I am hoping for is some of YOUR insight. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Have you been through this before? If so, please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mjdub July 30, 2009 at 9:41 am

Well, it has to stop. You must be in control of your voice when with a client. Some remind you more of toddlers and that might be worth exploring, too. Good luck.

Dru Van Doren July 30, 2009 at 11:43 am

I’d actually love to talk to you about this, since it’s something I’ve recently been working through personally with some success! Coffee at Catalyst some day? We have great area for kids to play while we chat 🙂

Short story… it’s about boundaries, and your ‘right’ to speak to those who have not ‘requested’ you to mother them. If you consider whether you’ve been ‘invited’ to mother/advise/correct someone, it might help you keep that ‘tone’ in check!

Would love to see you 🙂 Give me a call or drop me a note if you feel like getting together!

Dru 🙂

Ginny July 30, 2009 at 12:12 pm

It’s good to recognize it and I haven’t had that situation yet (at least not since becoming a mom), but I’m sure it’s something I will have to address. I also think it’s good to catch yourself and change directions toward the therapist side of you. In short, I’d love to hear what you figure out.

Kimberly July 31, 2009 at 10:02 am

To all three of you,
Thank you for your comments. You have gotten me thinking about the changes happening with me. I have some new insights know that I will share in next week’s post.
It also made me realize that I need to be careful how I describe events. In re-reading the post, it sounds like I raise my voice with them, which I don’t! Ah well…lesson learned.

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