At 5:15am, the world is quiet. It feels like everyone, and every thing, is still asleep. By 5:30 the birds start their song.
This is the smallest of the things I’ve noticed since I started devoting parts of my day to getting really quiet.
My other realizations include how impatient and easily frustrated I can be, how many assumptions I make, how often I let negative thoughts take over.
The birds were much more pleasing to notice.
My daughter has enforced quiet time every day. Quiet time is the new naptime, since she won’t take one of those anymore. She needs that hour in her room by herself, reading, relaxing, tearing up tissues into small bits for me to clean up later. Or, forget to clean up until just now as I write it.
She needs some low-key time, and as it turns out, so do I. Hers is forced upon her; I have to fight for mine.
My mornings are sacred, yet so often interrupted lately. My son has become a bird, chirping at 5:30.
Other things I’ve noticed: it’s really hard to do things for yourself when you’re a mom. And: you have to do them anyway.
It feels ironic, speeding up just to slow down, but it’s the only way I make it happen. The benefit of mama quiet time is that I’m much more joyful and relaxed even when I’m zooming around, trying to get laundry and the dishwasher going so I can plop myself down on my meditation cushion for 11 minutes during nap time.
That 11 minutes is what allows me to laugh through my daughter’s next outburst and my son’s flailing temper tantrum. It’s how I find the grace to give myself a break when it looks like a tornado touched down in our playroom. It’s how I don’t take it to heart when I want to sip my coffee quietly and my daughter yells at me that I “never play with her anymore.”
There is so much to potentially feel bad about in motherhood. There is that little voice in your head that wonders if you’re doing it right, if you’re doing enough, if this is how crazy and chaotic it is for all mothers. And, as a bonus, there’s often a little person actually yelling things that make you feel bad.
The only way I’ve found to escape it is to get really quiet. Sit still. Meditate. Read a book because you want to, even if you’ve run out of laundry baskets in which to pile the laundry.
Go to yoga, even if the rushing around you need to do to get out of the house doesn’t feel worth it. (Yoga is always worth it.)
Give yourself permission to consider peanut butter and jelly a legitimate dinner once a week. Eat on the deck so you don’t have to clean up everyone’s crumbs. And while you’re out there, listen for the birds. They’ve been up chirping since 5 a.m., too. They’ve got your back.
Carve out little chunks of time for yourself, whether it’s five minutes or a whole hour. Prioritize sanity over dishes, until you reach a place where you can keep both under control.
Yesterday, a woman in a Facebook group that I’m in posted a question. She’s a mama of two, she’s tired and worn out, she wants to start getting up early and she didn’t know how. She was looking for help.
The thing is, she already had all the answers. She wanted to get up early; her body or mind or both were telling her it was important. She just needed to do it.
It’s the hardest thing, sometimes, to realize that it all really is that simple. To see that, for all the brilliant advice you can be given, you have to take your own road. You have to get quiet. Find out what you really want. Discover what your priorities are. Think about what works best for you.
And then, just do it.
When you get quiet, you find so many answers. They were always there, you just couldn’t hear them before.
Whatever you’re searching for, get quiet. Hear the things you’ve never heard.
Psst...not sure how to tune into yourself? I made this for mamas just like you.