One of the hardest things about mothering is the sheer noise of it all!
The noise is seemingly inescapable! It is in every aspect of our kids' lives: from their toys to their loud play (and even louder fighting and fussing).
And let's just say that some of us are blessed with kids who are especially loud. Ahem.
While a clean house and obedient kids are high on every mom's wishlist, many days, simple “peace and quiet” is what moms like us crave most, right?
I hear ya. Let me share what I do to turn down the noise and turn up the peace and quiet!
The Truths About All That Noise
First, we must face this fact: No matter what, the noise ain't stoppin'.
Yes, we can encourage kids to play quietly (but kids by nature are very expressive–they run loudly and scream happily).
Yes, we can teach kids healthy ways to work out an argument (but even the most well-behaved kids bicker and yell from time to time).
And much to the chagrin of moms everywhere, I doubt Fisher-Price will ever invent a completely silent toy.
KIDS MAKE NOISE! LOTS OF IT!
That's the bad news.
The good news? Peace and quiet aren't impossible.
However, they do require a few readjustments to our thinking and an intentional pursuit of some habitual, healthy practices. That's what we're talking about in this post!
I want to share with you my 10 tips for survival when all that noise drives you crazy!
Yes, you CAN have peace and quiet… even if you have the loudest kids (trust me, I have a few of them myself).
10 Ways for Moms to Get Some Peace and Quiet
1) Stop expecting it.
You may laugh, but it's true. Alright, let me clarify: Stop expecting it all the time.
It is impossible to believe that a home full of kids will be perpetually filled with peace and quiet. This was one of those hidden, unspoken mom hangups I had lurking in my subconscious.
One day I realized that I was expecting my kids to be always quiet and peaceful when this is truly against their passionate, vibrant little natures (my husband and I definitely did not birth wallflowers).
The sheer fact of lowering my expectations and embracing the chaos has, in effect, brought more acceptance of the noise. Maybe not less physical noise, but definitely some peace and quiet in my soul.
2) Teach kids to value both quiet and loud play.
I'm a firm believer in two kinds of play: loud and quiet.
Obviously, loud play is not something we have to teach a child. But quiet play? Definitely.
This takes more intentionality and creativity on our parts (and a true getting-to-know of each child). Some kids have an easier time playing quietly than others.
While I'm always striving to help a child increase their list of “quiet” activities, I'm also equally learning to accept each child's individual capacity for quiet play. Some kids are just active (especially depending on their age and stage)… and active usually means more noise.
However, that still doesn't mean that quiet play is impossible for them. Which leads me to the next tip…
3) Encourage a daily quiet time.
Do you have a designated time each day where everyone finds their own space and naps, reads, journals, draws (or otherwise plays quietly)? Oh, this has been a godsend in our home.
This idea is an adaptation of “nap time.” Nap time was my lifesaver in those first few mothering years. I truly think I would have gone insane without it!
For one hour in the afternoon, there is no electronics, no squabbling, no needing of mom–just peace and quiet. OK, most of the time.
4) Get up early.
If you really love peace and quiet, there's no better time than the early morning (I know, I know… the non-morning people just rolled their eyes).
Alright, here's my two-second pitch for getting up early:
- You can have uninterrupted quiet.
- There are no kids running around.
- No one interrupts you and telling you that the other person stole their LEGOs.
- Or ate their food when they weren't looking.
- Or just keeps poking them with that toy that you thought you already took away.
In the early morning, it's just you and… you. Getting up early works for me (and here are my tips to make the most of the time).
Yes, getting up early means we need to go to bed earlier.
5) Get outside.
Listen to life outside your four walls, ideally without a child around.
It's true that none of us can just run away to Tahiti every afternoon and listen to the sound of the swaying palm trees. But how can you experience nature near your home?
Nature doesn't have to be time spent walking through a perfect meadow or an idyllic mountain scene (although a walk through nature like this is incredibly refreshing). Perhaps it's as simple as going outside and listening to the birds. Or (depending on where you live) even the sounds of people walking by.
Whatever would be a switch from the noise inside.
And while you're outside, I'd suggest bringing a cup of tea with you. Because, you know, life is just better with tea (especially with this Chocolate Mint Tea… my all-time favorite!).
And speaking of what fills your cup…
Don't miss the other 5 tips! I know these will make all the difference for you as well…
6) Find your version of replenishment.
Discover what's truly restful for you and making it a priority.
Only you know what that is (and don't worry if you don't because it frequently changes for me).
Whatever it is, do it, and do it regularly. Stop filling whatever free time you have with stuff that doesn't bring true soul rest.
7) Know your limits and find immediate relief.
We all have different tolerances for noise. Truly. I'm a big believer in discovering what those limits are and honoring them as part of our own personality.
In the name of sanity (and in keeping the anger monster in its place), I believe it's OK to tell our kids, “Mommy is super frustrated right now and is going to be in her room with the door shut for five to ten minutes. Please don't disturb her.”
Here's a video where I share three awesome ways to calm down (just one part of what I share in the “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” course):
Hey, moms for sure need a time out (from not only the noise but all the demands of motherhood) from time to time.
And speaking of that immediate need for calm…
8) Play “the quiet game” with your kids.
There are moments when I know that, if my kids don't give me peace and quiet right now, I'm going to lose it big time.
That's when I pull out my big guns–the “quiet” game.
We usually call this the “5 minutes of quiet” game (or who can be the most quiet). I set the timer (or if we're driving, I watch the clock), turn off the TV or radio (or anything causing noise) and we are absolutely still.
I breathe deep, do my best to stay in the moment and pray for God to turn on the calm.
I try not to overuse this game (because it's unrealistic to ask my kids to do this all the time) but when I need it, it's there.
9) Try free-form journaling.
Sometimes I find that the noise around me is really noise spinning inside my head!
These are my fears and anxieties; those little things about life that are currently bugging me; things that I must get done in the day… you name it!
When this happens, I turn to my trusty 99-cent spiral bound notebook and just begin writing. It's nothing formal or pretty–it's just a release of the thoughts in my head. I usually feel much better when these thoughts are out on paper and not rattling around in my noggin.
10) Spend time with the one who promises peace and quiet for our souls.
Ultimately, true replenishment and rest from the world is found in God!
He wants to offer us a deeper peace than anything we can experience on our own.
He longs to restore what is broken inside us and to fill us up to our true capacity.
He doesn't promise escape from our troubles but he does promise his peace through them.
Here are a few verses to ponder on God's version of peace and quiet for our souls: Psalm 23; Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 32:16-18; John 14:27; and John 16:33.
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