The sound of silence

Knock, knock, knock. Muuuummm, mmmmuuuumm, Can I come into your room? Can I have the iPad? Will you read me a story? Where’s my onesie? Is it breakfast time yet?

I close the laptop with a sigh. It’s 6.03 am and I thought (stupidly) that at this time I would get some peace and quiet. I’ve got so much to do. My husband is away, work is piling up and don’t even talk to me about washing.

The door opens and they all pile in. Two excited children and two unruly dogs. The kids are jumping on the bed, laughing, arguing and commencing an endless stream of demands that will go on until they finally fall asleep this evening. The dogs need to go out and my work deadline is still looming.

Wishing for the sound of silence. But is it really what I want?

Wishing for silence

I let the dogs out, pack the children back off to their bedroom and open the laptop again. Excited chatter drifts over the baby monitor before it is replaced by the hideous drone of Topsy and Tim. I can’t help longing for the days when I used to work in total silence.

Do toddlers have too much screen time? I take a look at the average amounts of screen time among young children and see whether my two are getting the right amount.

I don’t like the television or music on in the background when I’m working. I’ve never been that person. Noise doesn’t help me to learn or concentrate, it just distracts me. And now there’s always something going on. I live in a noisy household, it’s just the way things have turned out.

I’ve taught myself to cope. I work in the living room while my husband watches television, just so I get to spend some time with him. I work while one of the children sits next to me reading or playing. I try to concentrate while they put on a dance show. I kid you not, an actual dance show, complete with makeshift stage. In my living room. How did my life come to this?

A wake-up call

I allow my mind to wander. I think about how different things might have been. That fateful day when my husband didn’t arrive home. When I saw the news on Twitter. When I thought he was dead. This could have been my life. Coping with two children alone, day in, day out. Snatching moments to work when the children were occupied or sleeping. Keeping them close because I know life is precious and painfully short.

And I thought of the future. One day, the children will be gone. They’ll phone and visit from time to time I’m sure, but they’ll have their own lives. I’ll have the silence I need to concentrate. I’ll work when I want. I’ll read, watch the television and finally find time to play the piano and violin. I’ll exercise when I want to, have a well trained dog for the first time ever because I manage to get to obedience classes. I’ll see friends, have lunch and travel when and where I want to.

And I know full well that the noise I’m trying to ignore is the best part of my life. It makes me complete, it makes me happy. It makes me who I am, and I wouldn’t be without it. I close the laptop and go into the children’s bedroom.

Work can wait. Silence can wait. One day I’ll get my silence. It will be a sad day indeed.

Wishing for the sound of silence. But is it really what I want?

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17 Comments

  1. May 1, 2017 / 7:13 am

    Ahhh this is beautiful.

    I hate silence. I even have to have music when I shower or the few minutes I am in the kitchen to make a brew. However, I cannot work with noise. Same when I am reading.

    I would never get anything done if I had children. But you’re right, there will be a time when the house will be silent. So make the most of the dance shows. Haha
    Melanie Chadd recently posted…East Neuk GlassMy Profile

    • monsterid May 2, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Oh I quite like silence even when I’m not working, hubby is like you – can’t cope with quiet ever! We’ll keep enjoying the dance shows 😉
      Nat.x

  2. May 1, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Oh you’ve summed up just what I’ve been feeling. One day there will be more time then we’ve ever asked for and more silence. My house will be beautiful, my garden perfect, my blog organised, my work done, my wardrobe ironed, (well, maybe not that bit!) and yet, will I be happy? Or will I join the legions of older Mamas who message me, comment on my posts, stop me in the street to say; ‘make the most of it, you’ll miss this, enjoy every second, it goes by so fast’? I think we both know the answer! I am in this limbo of not wanting to wish the time away but equally desperate to build on my career now I have a chance, I don’t think there’s ever a perfect balance. Lou xxx

  3. May 1, 2017 / 8:10 am

    I love silence, having brought up 4 kids now all left home, noise was part of every day now I enjoy peace and quiet, yes they visit yes they phone but I am not sad I am happy that they are happy and I can now do things I enjoy guilt free 🙂

  4. May 1, 2017 / 8:19 am

    You just made me tearful reading this. The noise drives me mad some days but then when I think about how one day I will have that peace and quiet because the children will no longer need me, it makes me sad. Thank you for a beautiful reminder to stop and enjoy the moment and the noise and the chaos. One day I will miss it x

  5. May 1, 2017 / 8:23 am

    What a beautiful post and so true! My kids were all out with friends at the end of the school holidays. I needed the peace to work and enjoyed the first couple of hours, but then I started to miss them. Life would be so different (and so boring) without them. We need to enjoy them – with all their noise – for as long as we can.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Silent Sunday 30.4.17My Profile

  6. May 1, 2017 / 9:17 am

    When two of my kids moved out and I always seemed to have an empty laundry basket, that was a sad time indeed. I remember reading about your husbands accident and feeling so bad for you at the time.

  7. Msedollyp
    May 1, 2017 / 10:39 am

    So true and so beautifully written. There is no perfect in life but there is love. Without that all else would wither and be meaningless.

  8. May 1, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Just beautiful lovely – and resonating with me so much right now x

  9. Helen
    May 1, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    Enjoyed reading this and I find myself constantly reminding myself to ’embrace’ the chaos, for chaos is life ‘happening’!

  10. May 2, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    Hi Nat, I can’t work when there is distractions or noise, my brain just won’t focus. You are right to go with it though, the chaos that is created by young children is special and once it’s gone it’s gone. I must say that these days it’s my husband who is the noisiest person in the house by far, when he is around I really find it hard to concentrate, not like in the early days of a relationship, but more in the way the atoms seem to bubble and fizz in a room when he’s around. And it’s not like he is demanding my attention, he’s just a naturally noisy person.

    Enjoy the chaos.

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…A Weekend Of Walking In Tyros, GreeceMy Profile

  11. May 2, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Hi Nat, I can’t work when there is distractions or noise, my brain just won’t focus. You are right to go with it though, the chaos that is created by young children is special and once it’s gone it’s gone. I must say that these days it’s my husband who is the noisiest person in the house by far, when he is around I really find it hard to concentrate, not like in the early days of a relationship, but more in the way the atoms seem to bubble and fizz in a room when he’s around. And it’s not like he is demanding my attention, he’s just a naturally noisy person.

    Enjoy the chaos!

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…A Weekend Of Walking In Tyros, GreeceMy Profile

  12. May 3, 2017 / 7:02 am

    Oh you made tears spring up at the end of this post. You’re completely right, the silence will come one day and it will probably be a day when we miss the noise of young kids. xx

  13. May 3, 2017 / 10:28 am

    What a beautiful post. It’s so true in the blink of an eye they are not little anymore and life will be quiet, it’s a great reminder.
    Angela Webster recently posted…April At The WebstersMy Profile

  14. May 3, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    I’m always reminding myself that I’ll be sad when the chaos is gone, too! These really are the best years….

  15. May 3, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    I’m the same I have to work in quiet. I work in the evenings on the sofa while my husband watches TV but I don’t normally write posts during this time as I can’t concentrate. I don’t work when the girls are with me, unless I really have to or they are just sat watching a film. I will miss the noise when they are no longer living here. I love the silence, but not for long periods. x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Letting Kids Be Kids and Soothing Away Those Tears…My Profile

  16. May 4, 2017 / 6:05 am

    This made me cry. You are so tight. I’m so used to a noisy house that i hate silence now.
    I also can’t help thinking of peppa pig and the episode with baby Alexander when they say it’s a noisy house. I know-I need to get out more xx

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