“You don’t always get what you want,” I was telling my daughter once at dinner. I don’t know what we were talking about – hamburger, maybe. I did want to take the moment though to teach her something, kindly, about gratitude.
“What do you not get?” my husband piped up. I could see his eyes twinkling.
“Peace and quiet!” I retorted. Touche, my love.
With children running around me all day and all of them often talking at the same time – to me and to each other – the level of noise in the home can get quite crazy. In his new book Sonic Boom, Joel Beckerman mentions how sound affects us whether we realize it consciously or not.
The right sounds can put us in a bad mood or good, make us want to act or not, and feel great or really just lousy about acting or not.
Here are some practical suggestions for how to control your auditory input when you live with kids all day long. (And don’t think this only applies to moms.)
1. Leave room in your day to be quiet
I love staying up late, but I also like waking up before everyone else and hearing the home breathe, so to speak. I’m realizing the silence is as important to my soul as the activity during the day. I need to hear the rustle of the breeze through the leaves, I like listening to the sound of the highway in the distance, the birds, people beginning to start their day, the neighbor watering her garden. It feeds me.
2. Select the sounds you want to hear in your day
This doesn’t always work perfectly. We don’t always have ideal environments and, let’s face it, screaming babies are part and package of being a mom. However, to a large degree, you can consciously choose classical music over traffic reports, there are headphones available and you can teach (eventually!) the kids not to whine. I’m learning to have calming music playing in the home at all times. It still takes an conscious effort on my part to turn it on, but the benefits of it extend to the children as well. They’re calmer and better behaved, not to mention quieter.
3. Consider instituting a “quiet time” into your daily routine
If you’re always around kids, sometimes it doesn’t help your patience through the day to stay up late or wake up early. It can help to carve out an hour of quiet time in the middle of the day. This is an hour for you and the children to be quiet. They can choose to play quietly in their rooms or take a nap or play outside. This gives your ears a break. They need them. I know mine do.’
The sounds around us affect our mood and thoughts in ways we can’t even imagine. Be proactive in controlling them and you can have a better day.