I live for the peaceful moments when we’re out exploring, watching a seagull take flight above us or watching waves lap at our feet below.
It’s then that I could almost be convinced that the soundtrack of my life consists of the soft roar of the Pacific punctuated by the happy squeal of a child who just got touched by freezing water.
Unfortunately, that’s only the soundtrack of the occasional weekend excursion, at least in my world.
The rest of my life probably sounds a lot like yours:
“Mom, watch this!”
“Mom! Did you see that!”
“Mom! Did you know that your heart is only a big as your fist? Or maybe that was your brain…” (Sometimes facts get a little turned around by the time they get home from school, right?)
Children are loud. Their fighting (often over the smallest things ever conceived) feels like nails on a chalkboard to a mom who has heard it all day.
I find that even their happy play often SOUNDS like fighting.
Earlier this year I was describing this to my therapist—knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do about it but just needing to get it off my chest.
She said it seemed like my “alarm center” was getting triggered a lot. I was struck in that moment by how perfect her description was. The noise of my children often triggers an alarm I can hear in my head and feel in my heart. I feel my agitation rising almost as literally as I feel the bath water rising when I fill the tub for one of my kids.
I know I need to find shelter from the din or lose my marbles once and for all.
Does the noise get to *you*?
Maybe a lucky few of you are reading this thinking, “WHAT is she talking about? My kids—and the dog—are jumping off furniture right now while screaming battle cries in a British accent, and it’s all good!”
Hats off to you, my friend, because I would be hiding under the sofa right about then.
For introverts and highly sensitive people, a need for quiet is hard-wired—and I think this makes the chaos of motherhood a little more challenging for us.
Thankfully, this need is something we can work around, something we can work to accommodate. Here are 5 strategies to help you handle the noise (oh the noise!) of motherhood with a little more… calm.
5 Strategies for Handling Noise in Motherhood
1. Carve out reoccurring blocks of time for yourself
More goes into this than the simple desire to “have more alone time.” Finances and your stage of motherhood, in particular, are big players. I said it when I talked about reducing metaphorical noise in your life, but I highly recommend juggling your budget around to accommodate some blocks of babysitting that will give you regular stretches of quiet. Also, stretches of quiet are easier to come by once your children are in preschool or school. (Moms of babies and toddlers, we love you! And it does get better.)
Another option is asking for help from family and friends. If you explain your nature and what a difference the occasional afternoon off makes for you, I bet your loved ones will be more than happy to help out. As a bonus, asking for help and returning it is one of the best ways I know of to build a modern village.
2. Use technology as the sanity-saving tool that it is!
I don’t even want to think about where I’d be without PBS Kids. I know and believe in all the arguments to get kids off devices and into real life, but I also know I wouldn’t have survived my early motherhood years without the help of kids’ programming and apps. Even now, with my children being 8, 6, and 3, I still use technology to break up our days and give me more time for quiet and low engagement.
3. Structure your days with blocks of noise & engagement followed by quiet & independence
I bet many of you do this naturally. I know I do. If I spend an hour making crafts with the kids at the table, I send them outside to play independently for the following hour. After I listen to their after-school chatter and survive homework time with three kids, I have them watch a couple of shows while I prep dinner in peace.
Noise and engagement followed by quiet and independence. It’s a constant give and take that keeps me sane. 🙂
4. Look for regular tripping points and see if you can fix them
Are your kids exceptionally chatty and prone to fighting right after school? Try handing them a kids’ protein bar the moment you see them. 😉 Are they bouncing off the walls when you’re trying to make dinner? Refer to point #2, or maybe try instituting some playtime in their rooms every day at that time.
Look for times when the noise level always gets to you, and think about how you could resolve it.
5. Talk yourself down
I’m continually exploring the idea that what we tell ourselves IS our reality. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of the noise and I know there’s nothing I can do about it, I repeat words in my head like these: “Your kids are happy. YOU are happy. Everything’s fine.”
Practice this: Talk yourself down from the point of alarm; breathe yourself through the noise.
I’m really curious (even more curious than normal, if that’s possible!)—
Does the noise get to you, or can you roll with it? (Tell me I’m not alone in this!) What do you find yourself doing to handle it?
A Recovery Guide for Overexerted (Highly Sensitive) People
The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
If you’re an introverted mom, sign up here for my monthly newsletter and to be first to know when I launch my new 7-day email course, Talked Out, Touched Out: 7 Strategies to Help You Thrive as an Introverted Mom.