I have four children, a husband and a puppy in the house. I don’t really understand the concept of alone time in this season of my life. So unless you count two o’clock in the morning, the thought of carving out a bit of quiet just for myself seems pretty impossible. But despite the host of challenges, that’s exactly what I did a year ago: I focused an entire month around adding just a bit of silence to my days.
Why? Because I was having a difficult time hearing myself think. I’d wake up with the frenzied pace of the night before already greeting me as my alarm sounded. I wasn’t sure if the demands requiring my attention were truly my priorities. I didn’t have enough space to recalibrate. Something had to change.
I knew I needed a little bit of silence to clear my thoughts and approach my life with some peace. So in that month, I learned a few tricks. They aren’t earth shattering, in fact they’re pretty common sense, but actually putting them into practice made a big difference.
Get up before everyone else.
Okay, so I joked about the 2 a.m. quiet hour, but the truth is 6 a.m. is typically a quiet time of day in my home. If I get up before the rest of my house stirs, I’m able to get the coffee made, take the puppy out to go potty, and have a few minutes of quiet before our kitchen becomes its normal zoo-like environment.
Capture the quiet work.
It’s not exactly meditating – you can’t close your eyes while folding laundry – but many tasks can be done without much thought. Driving with a napping child in the back, washing the dishes, making the bed, are all tasks I do where I can let my mind wander. The key is turning off the optional noise (the television, radio, music) and absorbing the silence as I work.
Take a social media fast.
I realized as I was setting up my experiment that much of the “noise” in my life had to do with what I consumed on my screens. So I took a break from social media specifically. And it was embarrassing how much time it opened up in my days for some quiet thinking, even praying. A fast can be an afternoon, a day, a week, a month, a year, any amount of time that allows me to recalibrate away from the virtual noise.
As with all mothering approaches, I know that as soon as I figure out a pattern that works, my children change and so I must adjust. A baby’s nap schedule, the earlier sunrise, the school breaks all change who is home and what kind of noise they make. It’s figuring out what works in the small tweaks that makes a little quiet not only possible, but sustainable.
Carving out the quiet is worth it. Because I need to hear myself think.
How do you carve out a teeny bit of quiet for yourself?
As a mom to four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She is the author of Loving My Actual Life, An Experiment In Relishing What’s Right In Front of Me and The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.