In the mad rush of motherhood, of the many things to fall by the wayside is something I never saw coming:
Yes, yes, yes. I know. Baby’s cry. Toddler’s tantrum. How could I not expect my peace and quiet to be sacrificed? And especially now that my baby has become a very opinionated and determined toddler, things have gotten particularly loud (and my fellow shoppers at the mall this morning definitely didn’t appreciate the strength of said toddler’s protests as mommy tried to stop her from pushing the stroller into oncoming people).
(Click here for proof)
That’s not the kind of noise I’m talking about. I’m talking about the inner quiet. The kind you find when you get in your car after a long day at work, close the door, and hear nothing but silence. The kind you find at the end of a yoga class. The kind you find when you close the door after saying goodbye to house guests whose voices and energy have filled your home for however long they were there.
Silence. Peace. Quiet.
I always sacrifice my quiet. Whether it be for work, for family, for food preparation. I always have a list of things to do that seem to be more important than my innate need to just sit and be quiet for a minute. As a stay at home mom, I keep telling myself I don’t have any other options. When baby naps, mommy gets to work. It’s the only coherent time I have to get anything done.
But the truth is, well, it’s killing me. Because by doing that, I have sucked all the opportunities for quiet out of my life. Sure, there is the morning. But I’m usually woken up by baby’s cries to be freed from her crib. And sure, there is after baby goes to bed. But I’m so tired by then that the quiet isn’t a choice – it’s gravity. As I collapse on the couch, the law of gravity overtakes me even though I really want to get up and do something else.
When quiet becomes a choice, it becomes a powerful practice.
I want to choose quiet, I don’t want it to choose me.
I sat down today, while my daughter was napping, to write a blog post about decision making. Well, I made a decision alright. I decided to write about being quiet as succinctly as I could, and then, to do it. To close my computer. To close my eyes. To sit still. In the middle of a work day. To welcome the thoughts that come rushing into my head that tell me I should be doing something else. Accept them. Let them go. And then go back to being quiet.
What is your quiet sacrificed for?
Whatever it is, I have a simple but bold request: Stop reading this post. Turn off your phone. Turn away from your computer. Turn off the radio or podcast if it’s on. And please – take the next five to ten minutes not to catch up on the news or the stories in your social media feeds. Take the next five to ten minutes to close your eyes, sit, and do nothing. Just be. Think if you must. Or don’t. Say a mantra. Or don’t. Who cares? Just sit with yourself for a few minutes. When was the last time you did that in the middle of a hectic day?
Choose quiet. In the 1440 minutes in your day, surely you can take five or ten of them to devote to yourself to nourish your soul on a cellular level.
Now – and I mean this in the nicest possible way – be quiet.