A Little Peace & Quiet as a Mom

I can remember, when I was a teenager, praying for five sons.  I had a friend who was one of six boys, and another friend/mentor who had five children.  So maybe somewhere in the midst of all of that, I formed this prayer for five sons.  Now I'm the mom of five sons and one daughter.  Praise God, He threw in a "bonus" daughter that blesses my socks off.

I knew certain things about it, things I was prepared for.  Cooler-looking vehicles stop fitting a family well around 3-4 kids.  Boys eat a lot, I knew that.  I knew that God can stretch income and that it didn't have to be as expensive to raise kids as "they" say.  I knew some tricks about keeping toys tidy, and things like having a drink spot so we didn't go through a million cups a day.

One of the things I didn't know to expect with having a large family was how loud it would be.  

Now, my crew are good kids.  They really are.  But it is STILL loud... crazy loud sometimes.  I don't mean screaming and out of control; I just mean, eight people in one household-- at least four of whom are extroverts- is no small thing.  And there is constantly someone in our family in the stage of learning not to interrupt, which only adds to the cacophony.

We have a lot of extroverts.  I used to be one until I had kids!  Now I question whether I'm really an extrovert; it takes me a good hour or so to relax in a group before I feel like talking.  It just sometimes takes that long for my mind to unwind and find rest.  I think I'm still an extrovert; I'm just a tired extrovert.  (Yes, even as a Babywise devotee, I am tired, 11 years into parenting young children.)

What I've learned as a mom, especially in the last few years as my kids have gotten older and chattier, is that I have to steal away and use whatever time I'm given, thoughtfully.  I can't just mindlessly do tasks and let time fritter away, and later complain about not having time to myself or time to think.  It is so easy to either stumble through days without intentionally mentally engaging with God and His truth, or to be so busy thinking about other things (from homeschooling to busybodying about others to plans/dreams) that we don't intentionally engage with God and His truth.

But God has given each of us these 24 hour days... so what can I do with that?  What should I do with that?

I've found myself more and more taking advantage of quiet alone time I'm given while mowing the lawn or washing the dishes or doing the grocery shopping.

Those moments where my mind is free to follow one thought for a good length of time without interruption are rare, but when they come, I jump on it without skipping a beat.  I grab a book, turn on a sermon on youtube, sit down and write, speak out my prayers straight out to God, crank up the worship songs, whatever.

But I try to use that time thoughtfully and let God speak to and bless my heart through those rare moments of quiet.  Because the quiet does come.  Naptimes, time when they're coloring, building with Legos-- those times are precious and work like a healing salve for this tired mom.  I just have to use it thoughtfully.

What sorts of things recharge you when you have those small patches of peace and quiet in you rday?


Janet said...

Yep, that is my life right now as well. With six kids age 10 and under, quiet is not something that happens very often. My senses are constant overload, especially with the long drawn out stories the little ones tell (the same stories I am committed to listening to with my eyes on them!) I'm thankful for the moments of peace I do find and for a husband who works hard to make them happen! -- Janet

Emily said...

Four four and under here- I've gone from a complete extrovert to a "tired extrovert" who now needs those patches of quiet time, where as before, my energy came from big crowds and loud noises.I'm learning about myself that a few minutes of surfing the web is not nearly as restful, soul encouraging as sitting on the back porch in the quiet or grabbing a book, nugget of truth for a few moments. I'm trying to discipline myself to do things that refresh instead of grabbing the computer or picking up the iPhone. I'm also finding that there can be restoration in some alone time with one of the kids- and while that doesnt look the way I might want it to, it really can be the best thing for me some times.
Love ya Jess!

flyinjuju said...

I'm an introvert and have four little ones.
The things that refresh me:
*Early morning quiet time (assuming sleep was not disturbed, haha)
*I love reading during our afternoon rest time
*I usually read/hang out with hubby once kids are in bed.
I always joke that there is always a party going on in our house, bc someone is always doing something fun around here. ;)

Tara said...

After three girls, I was honestly surprised by the noise that comes from the four boys (and now another girl). I, too, have become a tired extrovert. Quiet is a gift I do not take lightly! :)

I need time away, weekly, to reconnect with my Savior, read a book, blog, whatever, without the probability of interruption.

Mrs. Cheerio said...

I would definitely have said I was an extrovert and loved being with others until I had my three girls. I relate completely to needing some time before I can jump in with groups now. I wonder how much if that is just me being unable to process adult conversation as quickly and fluidly as I did before children and now being accustomed to little voices making big demands nonstop! I joke, but being out of the working world and home has really made some huge changes to my personality.

Anonymous said...

I remember as a teenager (I'm the oldest of 5 spaced out kids), my mom would always turn off the radio because it "added too much noise." It blew my teenage mind because I thought it was so relaxing. Now with four boys of my own, I can understand what she meant. Sometimes I can hardly hear myself think! In the midst of it, however, I remember how very blessed I am to have these crazy boys and how much I'll miss their chatter when they're grown and gone.


Carla said...

I'm a tired introvert and a mother of 6 boys! I need alone time to recharge, but it sure is hard to get. I have virtually no energy for a social life beyond my own family, so that is challenging (I have an extroverted husband who is our social co-ordinator!). I'm expecting this will be a season, probably a long one, but it is so helpful to be at peace with these things about oneself and have a spouse who supports my unique personality.

Charles said...

This is fantastic!