When I was in my twenties, I loved noise. When my roommates would leave, I would crank my music and sing at the top of my lungs. I craved activity. Staying home, even on a weeknight, wasn’t acceptable.
Back then I considered silence and solitude frightening. Being alone in the quiet meant facing myself, and this was something my twenty-something self wanted nothing to do with.
Oh, how times have changed.
My life is full of noise now. Granted, most of the time it’s a joyful symphony of toddler babbling, giggling children and the deep, adult conversations I’m beginning to enjoy with my older boys.
But some days . . . not so much.
Some days the constant bickering is just too much to bear. Some days I think my brain will melt if I hear Sponge Bob’s voice utter one more syllable. I love that my kids love “Doctor Who,” but on days when my nerves are fried, the tinny theme music played over and over and over is a special kind of torture.
And sometimes, I hate the nagging, yelling, and pleading sound of my own voice.
My life is full of activity now. Each week I log several hours in the car, shuttling my kids to school or various activities. If I’m not working or studying, I’m on the sidelines at one of their games or in the audience at their concerts.
I’m never at a loss for company. There’s never a dull moment; in fact, important matters of state are often reserved for the occasions when I need the most privacy, like when I’m going to the bathroom, getting dressed, or trying to shower.
Most of the time, I love the hustle and bustle of busy family life.
Sometimes I just. Want. To. Be. Alone.
When you’re a parent, quiet, alone time becomes a precious commodity. The moments of silence and solitude are rare, but they’re necessary for recharging your batteries.
It’s wonderful if you can schedule or plan your alone time, but that’s not always possible. Over the years, I’ve found ways to snatch just a moment of silence here and there—no noise, no work, no kids, just me and my thoughts. For instance: after I drop everyone off, I’ll take the long way home, or drive around our block twice.
The bathroom in my bedroom is the BEST. I call it my Fortress of Solitude. When I really need a moment of quiet, I lock the bedroom door, then go in the bathroom and lock that door. Usually I don’t have much time before someone finds me, so I try to make every moment count.
My husband’s office has a sliding glass door that locks. He also has a huge monitor for his computer. If I sit behind the monitor just so, the kids can’t see me if they walk by his office.
It’s amazing what these little vacations can do for you if you’re having a rough day. Sometimes, they provide the deep breath you need to calm down. Sometimes they stave off sensory overload that can lead to crankiness. Most importantly, taking a moment of solitude can allow you to bask in your blessings.
Silence offers an opening for gratitude to find its way into your heart.
What are your favorite ways to snatch a moment of quiet during a busy day?