I’ve learned that being a parent is a noisy job. I’ve been a mom for nearly three years, and most days the noise doesn’t affect me. The toys, the banging, the laughing, the screaming, the crying. I’ve become immune to it to a certain degree. Then there are other days I feel like the Grinch complaining about the Whos and all the noise, noise, noise, noise, NOISE! I feel like I must put a stop to all the noise. The popcorn popper, the V-Tech toys, the tantrum screams, the thuds as thrown toys hit the walls, the dog barking, seemingly endless cries of “Mommy!”
A couple weeks ago I had a day like this. It was one of those teething, needy, clingy, whiny barking kind of days, and mama had had enough. I spent all evening looking forward to bedtime. Once bedtime rolled around, I returned to the living room and husband had turned on the television. “Sit down and watch with me, babe.” To which I replied in an exasperated voice, “I’m going to go sit on the patio and do absolutely nothing in utter silence for at least an hour.”
This experience made me wonder how to create my own peace when too much is happening around me. During those times when I just want to cover my ears, close my eyes and shout “OVERLOAD!” There’s got to be another way. Plus, I want to enjoy my time with my kids, not just count down the minutes to bedtime. So what to do? Time-out for myself is often unrealistic. I can’t leave a toddler and an infant unsupervised and crying. Yelling back is unproductive and does nothing but add noise to an already noisy room. I cannot make everyone else be quiet or remove myself from the environment, so what am I to do?
I started by recognizing what is within my control. I cannot control my environment, so what can I control? Turns out the real noise that was bothering me was the clutter in my head. My head is noisy even when all else is quiet. I’m constantly thinking of things I need to do, appointments to remember, thoughts to write down. My head is a busy, crowded place, and the noise in my environment throws off my focus making me feel overwhelmed and unable to absorb anymore input. Once I hit a certain point, my brain shouts “OVERLOAD!” Turns out what I really needed to quiet down was the noise in my head. I realized part of why I keep so much clutter in my head is that I fear forgetting something important. And because I try to keep it all in my head, I forget. Go figure. I realized when I take time to clear out my thoughts (and write down what’s important), I can focus and remember.
The next time I started to feel Grinch-like, I stopped what I was doing, and took three deep breaths. As I breathed, I focused only on my breathing and imagined all thoughts in my head floating away. I then observed what was happening around me.
My toddler is laying on the floor kicking her feet. She is upset about something. Husband scoops up the toddler to soothe her. The infant is crying. I pick her up and she smiles. What a sweet smile. I can’t help but smile back. The dog is looking at me expectantly. She’s out of water. That must be why she barked. I can get water later though. Everything else can wait. It’ll get done. Or it won’t. Either will be okay because right now I’m holding my baby. Right now, this is all I need to focus on. This moment. Me and her. I breathe in her sweet scent and smile. This is peace.
As it turns out, I am able to create my own peace and quiet in the midst of a noisy world by letting everything go and just breathing in the moment. I hope this helps you create some peace in your world as well. I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and share what you do to create peace when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
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