There’s so much noise.
All. The. Time.
It feels like it’s 24 hours, 7 days a week.
There’s whining, crying, chatting, banging, tapping, scratching, singing, buzzing, yelling, snoring, crunching, schlopping, chewing, slurping, stomping, clapping, singing, laughing.
There’s sound machines with crashing waves coming at me around every corner. There’s a baby (doll) crying, and then my real baby crying. There’s toys going off even when no one is playing with them.
There’s requests, questions, demands, negotiations, plans, adventures, stories, performances—at all times.
There’s ringing phones, alarms going off, voicemails, television theme songs (Daniel Tiger, I’m looking at you), Moana and Sing soundtracks playing. There’s random loud videos playing when you’re scrolling through Facebook and think you have your phone on silent.
I even hear things when there’s nothing to be heard. Like the baby crying when I’m in the shower and she’s sleeping. Like a bang from someone falling when everyone is fine. Like Imagine Dragon’s ‘Thunder’ when it’s not even on but it’s stuck in my head because my daughter has requested to play it over and over and over.
At times, it makes me feel like I am going crazy. Like my brain doesn’t work because I can’t think clearly because the noise is all-encompassing.
This noise, paired with the never-ending, running-forever list of things to do in my head is one of the areas of motherhood that is hard for me. Really, really hard. It triggers my anxiety more than anything else does.
Sometimes, I just want to sit in silence. Alone. Not listening to anything or anyone.
Sometimes, I just want to hear myself think.
Sometimes, I just want the whining to stop.
Sometimes, I just want the brain fog to go away and never come back.
But what I’ve realized is that this is part of motherhood. Of my journey. Because, I have three children and it’s never going to be quiet.
I need to get used to the noise, embrace the noise and know when I need to step back and take a break from the noise.
And I am used to the noise on some level.
I function fairly well on a daily basis getting work done and to-do lists checked off and taking care of my (loud, but wonderful) children. When all of the noise is overwhelming me, I’ve gotten into the habit of taking deep breaths and focusing on my task at hand.
It’s not perfect, but it’s something.
And I can definitely embrace the noise—especially the lovely noises of childhood.
Because when I think about it—is there anything better than hearing my 4-year-old belt out ‘Thunder’?
Is there anything better than hearing my 2-year-old giggle uncontrollably?
Is there anything better than hearing the coos of my 3-month-old?
Is there anything better than hearing one of my daughters say “I love you, Mama”? Or “See you later, alligator”?
Is there anything better than hearing cheers from my kids to celebrate their siblings’ accomplishment? (“Lucy went potty! Yay!”)
Is there anything better than hearing your preschooler say “sh-sh-shhhhh” over and over to soothe her newborn sister like she sees her parents doing?
No, nothing is better. Not even silence.
But there will be days when it feels like it’s too much. And I just want to say—
It’s okay to want to sit in silence.
It’s okay to look forward to the quiet that nighttime offers.
It’s okay to admit to ourselves that sometimes the noise is too much.
And it’s normal.
Our brains can only handle so much at one time. So, be gentle on yourself, mama. I know I’m trying.
I am learning to recognize when I need to step back and take a break from the noise.
I stay up late sometimes to enjoy the quiet—to listen to my thoughts.
I wake up early sometimes—to meditate and look inward.
I plan “me time” outside of the house—to spend time with myself and decide on choosing noise or not.
I hop in the shower when my husband gets home—to hand over the noise for a while and enjoy only the sound of rushing water.
There are moments of motherhood that challenge me—mind, body and soul. The constant noise is one of them. But these challenges will never beat me. I love being my children’s mother too much.
So on the days when the noise is taking over, know that you’re not alone. And know that peace and quiet is potentially just a shower away.
Colleen is a wife and mom to three awesome girls. She is the Motherly Stories Editor at Motherly. Follow her adventures on Instagram.