I grew up in a house without siblings. It was just my dad, my mom and myself. And a few goats here and there, but that, my friends, is an entirely different blog post altogether. It was, except when the goats were there, a quiet place.
Being the only child gave me a lot of control over the noise level. I have to say, there just isn’t much reason to scream or yell when you’re playing alone. There just isn’t. And I grew up in an old 10 room farmhouse. Each of us had a lot of space to ourselves.
It was quiet.
Life is a whole lot different now! I have as many kids as made up my entire household growing up. Not only do I have three kids, but I have three in four years, which sets them up to interact, play and fight together, a lot.
My recent joke has been I should write a book for only children contemplating having kids. Here is the entirety of the book, “It will be loud and you will lose your mind.” Maybe I should just write a bumper sticker or a Facebook post, huh?
I jest, but I don’t. It has been the biggest, hardest adjustment for me when it comes to having a family. It is sooooooooo loud. All.the.time.
That theme has been amplified the last three years of my life. Is it from the postpartum depression and anxiety, or is it, likely, that a third child adds a huge new layer of loud.
I talked about how loud it was so often to my one doctor that he asked me to find out from my mom if I had experienced a noise related trauma as a child. She said there was no trauma, but our house was quiet and I was never really fond of loud.
So no deep, dark secret–it’s just the way I am.
I love my girls. I wouldn’t change a thing about our family. I’m well aware I could escape some of the noise by not homeschooling, but I refuse to let noise, or my reaction to it, run our lives. Rather, I have spent the last three years trying to make a truce with the noise of my amazing family with it’s echo in my head.
Me and my weird relationship with noise. I thought it was just me. Until a friend asked me to read “The Good Mother Myth.” It is an amazing anthology of essays by an array of mothers intent on telling the truth about motherhood. Each author tells her story to help debunk the image that every mom must act just so, look just so and be just so in order to be a good mother. I’ve been loving it. Each essay resounds to some degree or another. One, in particular, was written just for me. “Through Distortion” by Arwyn Daemyir talks about her son AND HER, being sensitive to noise. Like me.
All the sudden, while reading, I found out I am not alone. There are other moms that want to yell and scream and beg their children to be quiet.
“I let my shoulders pull all the way up to my ears, tight, tight, tighter , then exhale and release…” and “Before having kids, I never thought of myself as having noise issues.”
Right there, she was writing to me. To my heart. To my ears.
In this particular piece, her son has figured out how to make an electronic keyboard play Happy Birthday on a loop. She describes wanting to escape, wanting to smash the keyboard to bits. But instead, she headed into her sons playroom and joined him in the noise. She chose to go where he was.
I relate. My girls love to run around and yell. Last night we let them have a screamfest, brought on by daddy, when he chased them around the house with a water balloon and then with arctic cold hands.
I wanted to run. I wanted to yell for the noise to end. I wanted to cry, today I even did, but for a few minutes last night, we let them have a screamfest and I chose to ignore the fear and stress within me. I let them scream. I let them be little girls.
Do I always do that? Oh no. Several times today I have sent them to another room if they are going to be loud. I have whispered to them, I have begged them over and over to be quiet. I have cried because of the noise.
I don’t know what to do about it, but for today, it soothes my soul to know I am not alone. There are other Good Mothers who struggle with noise. And for today, that will be enough.
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