Motherhood comes with a lot of noise.
From children and the noise they create, to the mental chatter in a mammas mind, to the everyday sound living in a modern world, one thing is for sure-in motherhood, quiet spaces can seem challenging to come by.
Years ago when my twin girls were three, I experienced the necessity of having quiet spaces in motherhood. I was driving back from an outing, the girls secured in the back seat, chatting up a storm; chatting with me, talking with each other, making lots of noise, non-stop noise. Abruptly, the chatter shifted to crying and whining as one of the girls precious lovey was dropped by her sister, just out of reach below her feet. Simultaneously, traffic began to pick up, and instead of a steady pace of driving, I was now in stop and go traffic. Taking my eyes off the road for a second, with my foot on the brake, I turned around to help the girls attempting to pick up the lovely off the floor swiftly. As I did so, ever so lightly, my foot came off the brake, and I rolled into the car in front of me, thankfully, the car in front was at a stop, I tapped the bumper of the car, luckily no damage. But the impact from this event with my children distracting me created a new rule for our family when I drive: when the car is moving, we are quiet, when we come to stop light, we can chat.
In knowing myself, I have accepted I need a few quiet moments in motherhood: when I am driving, after super long days of work, and in my daily routine of waking up before my kids.
When it comes to quiet, we all have different needs and preferences. What works for me, may not work for you. Which is why it is so important to know yourself and know how much and how often you need quiet in motherhood.
For a minute I want you to pause and ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you were in a quiet space?
- Do you crave moments of quiet?
- Does silence restore you or do you feel stressed when you’re in silence?
- And, how do you know when you need to slow down and create a quiet space to recharge and restore?
Knowing yourself and what you need is the first step in creating quiet spaces. Regardless of our differences, here are some of the scientific benefits of having moments of quiet in your routine. Moments of solitude and being in silent spaces will:
- Calm your body down
- Increases creativity
- Provides restoration
- Reduces physical and mental tension
- Boosts mental functioning including problem-solving and mental tasks
Let’s face it, in motherhood, we can know the benefits of quiet, but finding the time and making the time can be a bit of a challenge. Here are eight ways to bring more quiet moments into motherhood.
1. Start Your Day Before the Kids Wake. Sleep is a huge priority and hardly am I suggesting you skimp on sleep, however, if you need quiet, I recommend setting your alarm twenty minutes before your kids wake up and create a meaningful morning routine. Sit in silence with a cup of coffee or tea, and allow yourself to wake up mentally and ground yourself before the chaos of the morning begins.
2. Drive in Silence. Driving can be a great time to recharge. If you feel particularly stressed or crave some silence, try driving without listening to music, podcast or making a phone call. While your attention will on driving, reducing the sensory input while you drive when stressed can be a helpful way to build in silence and restoration.
3. Model Quiet Time at Home. Kids learn from our behaviors. Encourage family time where everyone has downtime with quiet time. Encourage creativity, play or reading and put the noise and distractions of electronics or screens on a break. This may be a challenge at first, not being on electronics for kids (and adults) can result in anxiety. But with more practice limiting screen time and scheduling quiet time, you’ll see over time everyone adapts and can benefit from the habit of quiet time.
4. Eat a Meal in Silence. In a world that encourages multi-tasking and productivity, override the urge to eat a meal while checking the phone, or scrolling on social media, and focus on silence and eating your meal. Focus on your senses, what you taste, smell and consume. Notice how this ritual of eating in silence impacts you.
5. Turn Off Notifications from Your Phone or Devices. Our devices can be a significant distraction in our daily lives. Notifications from our devices can take away from the moment we are focused on creating distractions. Go into the settings of your phone and limit the noise by silencing the notifications you receive in a day. Do you need every social media alert or notification from the apps on your phone? Limit the notifications to visual instead of a sound or vibration.
6. Schedule Downtime Throughout the Day. We can have the best of intentions to spend time in quiet, but if we don’t take the time to plan it in our schedule, the day can slip away into other demands and tasks. Know what you need to feel rested with quiet in motherhood and plan for it a few times throughout your routine.
7. Complete Tasks, Chores, and Activities in Silence. Music and podcasts are great to listen to when doing chores or tasks as a way to boost energy. But when you are stressed or in sensory overload, completing tasks and chores in silence can reduce stress and be restorative. As a a practice, complete tasks in silence and notice how you feel and observe the reduced tension.
8.Create a Wind Down Routine at End of the Day. When you are a mom, your work is never done. There is always something to do for someone. Instead of falling asleep on the sofa watching a show or scrolling on the phone, set aside fifteen minutes at the end of the day to and sit in quiet. Focus on your breathing, taking in a few moments of gratitude from the day, then head to bed.
And not to be overlooked, the noise of the outside world is often only one part of what contributes to stress in motherhood. The other contributing noise is the constant chatter in our minds. If you want to read more about how to reduce the mental chatter in your mind, please read a post I wrote, The Voices in Your Head: 14 Ways to Manage Negative Thinking.
I’d love to hear the suggestions and ways you bring quiet into motherhood, please share in the comments below!
© Dr. Claire Nicogossian 2019