There is sound everywhere in our house. The sweet sounds of kids playing. The stressful sounds of kids arguing. The sounds of an unofficial colicky baby crying and crying. Then add the beeps of the house—the dishwasher, the house alarm, the buzz of the phone, the hum of the overhead lights, the supposedly calming music from Alexa. It’ll be fine, and we’ll be going through our day. Then something will happen. It becomes too much. My mind is over-stimulated with sound, and I’ve had enough. I yell, “Alexa, off,” and even the machine can’t hear over all of the sounds and refuses to be silent. It’s almost comical. Almost.
Most days, I’m okay with the noise. It’s the soundtrack of our life right now. And I’ve always enjoyed music playing in the background. But there are times when I realize it’s too much noise stimulation. Then I know I need silence—no background music. No one talking. No sound. Just silence. And I realize that that is an impossible and unfair ask right now as a stay-at-home mom.
Even in the afternoon, when our house is quieter and little kids nap, and our big kid quietly plays in her room, I am still tied to the baby monitor that flips through the varying levels of white noise machines in the three kid’s rooms. It’s still sound.
I still enjoy music and a good podcast, but the layering of all of the sounds becomes too much at some point. The two hosts of one of my favorite podcasts, Herself, often talk about being overestimated in motherhood and have had guests talk about sensory overload. Hearing them talk about what triggers them and how they’ve learned to work through some of their sensory overload has helped me see some of my triggers, and I’m working on figuring out what works for me and our home.
My husband has realized that I sometimes need silence throughout the day, and when he is home during nap times, he often, without talking about it, will take responsibility for the baby monitor. And it is glorious. He usually does this in the evening, too. He’ll grab the monitor after bedtime and keep it with him. Or in the morning, when he’s up before I am, he’ll take the monitor. My sleep without the hum of the baby monitor is 100 times more refreshing than my regular sleep. The silence is a little bit of magic that can help recharge my soul. This sounds like I’m exaggerating, but the few hours of silent sleep are more refreshing than I would have ever imagined pre-kid.
So while there is sound everywhere in our house, there are moments of silence. And this small act of taking the baby monitor is huge for me, and it’s easy for him. I may even say it’s as romantic as unloading the dishwasher.
I do love this current soundtrack of our life right now, and I’m grateful for the sounds of our kids and our home, but I do love my moments of silence, too, that allow my mind a mini refresh.