In my younger days, I never dreamed of craving silence. Days and nights were filled with noise; headphones in on the way to work and back, evenings filled with music, radio, films and TV – parties, gigs, bustling pubs.
There was never silence, and if there was, it felt weird – too quiet. Lonely.
Then, I had children.
Every waking minute became filled with screams, shouts, squeals, yells, sneezes, snuffles farts and fights.
And silence became something that was impossible to have. Like all unattainable things, it suddenly became the one thing to crave. Amidst endless repetitive shouts of ‘mummy mummy mummy!’ I began to dream of taking myself away for a night, JUST to have some silence.
At nap times, I now turn OFF radios and TVs and just sit. In silence. Beautiful, blissful, peaceful silence. On trips to the supermarket alone, I slow at amber lights, let out every car at every junction, and take the long ways around.
As a parent, there is endless ‘mind chatter’ as well as the real life chatter from the children.
The feeling of overwhelm, of having 50,000 computer tabs open in your brain, ALL THE THINGS to do. We have constant noise both within and without, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.
I’ve started carving out quiet time for myself. A bath, with a book, the children banished downstairs with their dad. Sneaking in some yoga and meditation when the youngest is napping and the eldest at school. Sitting by the pond, watching the frogs, and just being still.
Yesterday I took my eldest for a long walk through the countryside and we found a stream to play in, and sat beside it afterwards, I asked her if she was ready to go. “No, Mummy! I don’t want to go yet. I’m just sitting thinking”. Perhaps my mindfulness is rubbing off. Perhaps I can teach my children to enjoy the quiet, too.
I find my mental health (which swings, pendulum-like, between joyous and terribly dark) vastly improved by appreciating quiet, both inside my brain and my environment. It switches off many of those overactive brain tabs, and suddenly everything appears clearer and more simple. Precious, precious peace.
How do you manage to find your peace and quiet? Do you treasure it more, since having children?