Quiet. How many mothers have heard this blissful sound in a while? And, I am saying this while my son is still six months and hasn’t event started talking yet or asking the favourite question of parents everywhere, why!
While others love having people in the house or going out, I can be a total homebody. I love not talking to anyone and just reading my book or even just quietly writing on my laptop. I even love just quietly going to sleep at any time during the day and I will go to great lengths to cook myself a fancy meal if I am alone at home. So clearly, I was in for a rude shock once M came into this world.
Like all other children, my son has a built-in radar for identifying the precise moment when mom sits down with her laptop or with her hot plate of food. In just six months, I’ve realized just how much quiet I used to take for granted. My hours spent curled with a book have now been reduced to minutes and I have a new found respect for mothers everywhere.
The thing is that I really really need my quiet time. Or, I turn into a cranky monster that no one wants to be around. So how do I maximize this quiet time? Here are five handy tips that work for me. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before but perhaps one of these will help you invite Quiet back into your life, even if it is just for a short while.
Wake up an hour before your baby does
My family sleeps late and wakes up late so this is not about me preaching that you wake up at 5.30am to meditate or to exercise. Trust me, I have been trying to do this since a month and have reached nowhere further than the ‘Snooze’ button. However, what has worked is dream-feeding /dream-changing the baby so that he stays asleep a while longer while I wake up. Having this one hour of me time with my cup of tea or with my phone catching up on my reading has meant I don’t start my day abruptly running around.
Put your baby to sleep early
When M was 3, he used to sleep by 10-10.30 and now I’ve slowly managed to move that time upwards so that we are in bed at 9 and he is asleep on most days by 9.30pm. It is my hope that I become one of those moms who can put their baby to sleep by 7pm but for now that’s a little bit of a pipe dream. Regardless, ensuring your baby sleeps early not only means that they get the proper rest they need to grow but it also means a solid 2-3 hour period that you can carve out for whatever you need to do. You could even just spend it in a dark quiet room but you get what I mean!
Sleep when baby does
Seriously. Our mothers are correct – let’s listen to them for a change. The housework and any other work you had in mind will wait if the kind of Quiet you enjoy is spent sleeping. I used to love taking daytime naps and these went out the window once M was born. But, I’ve realized M sleeps longer if I sleep with him and since sleep is my favourite form of quiet, we both wake up happier. Win-Win.
Delete Social Media
Before you think I am some kind of social media nazi, what I mean by this statement is to delete social media from your phone. Or, if you are too addicted to it then start with only deleting any one – Facebook or Twitter. Without realizing it, I started spending hours upon hours of my time on social media mainly as I would be breastfeeding or doing something where I only had a couple minutes to spare and so I couldn’t possibly do anything of actual value. You can always check your account on your computer but deleting it from your phone means you will be able to carve out atleast 30-40 minutes daily to do something you will enjoy more. Case in point, I was only able to take on this #AtoZChallenge as I’ve stopped wasting my time with Facebook on my phone.
Ask for help and leave
As mothers we feel very guilty asking for help. Especially if it involves looking after our baby (because ofcourse no one is better at it than you) and even more so if it is because you need some time to yourself. Between my husband and me, we are trying to implement this by having a set day in the week which is my “off” day. I can ask him at any point of this day to look after our son for a couple of hours while I go do something I like. Because sometimes, you don’t need quiet time alone but some quiet time at your favourite salon and you very well deserve it!
What strategies have worked for you to bring the Quiet back into your life?