Silence is Golden

The old saying is true: Silence is golden. It is a rare commodity among moms, not just because of Power Rangers and V-Tech toys, but because we forget the purpose that silence serves.

Somewhere along the line, we started equating quietness with emptiness, solitude with loneliness. I’ve even had people tell me silence is frightening. We are forever supposed to be talking to people, listening to people, or wishing we could be. A friend of mine recently announced that, the night before, she sat at a bar, ordered a lager, and read a book by herself. The moms answered her with oohs of admiration. She went by herself? She didn’t talk to anyone?

In college, every so often I would spend a Friday or Saturday night home alone. It was the quietest time of my week, when my roommates and friends were out being loud. The phone was quiet. The house was quiet. Wonderfully, wonderfully quiet.

When I announced my pregnancy to one of these college roommates, she was concerned. “Won’t that cut into your alone time?” she asked.

Did it ever.

That’s why my alarm rings at 4 each morning. I get three hours before the house is filled with the sounds of telemarketers, Sesame Street, Horton Hears a Who, and toddler temper tantrums. At 4am, all I hear is the hum of the computer and my own keystrokes.

Not everyone needs three whole hours. Some moms may fill the quota with a non-interrupted 10-minute shower, or by turning off the television 30 minutes early each evening, or by simply making the creation of personal quiet time a priority.

We have grown so unaccustomed to the sound of nothing that it sometimes seems as though it could swallow us up. On those rare occasions when no one is talking or no one is home, we fill the silence with background noise, which we have come to feel we need in order to function. We put in a CD or turn on the TV. Perhaps we’re afraid we’ll grow accustomed to silence, and we will learn the power that quiet time can have in our lives. 

Silence is a therapeutic punctuation mark in a busy day, a pause made all the more striking by the usual din of motherhood, and a bit of quietness in your day will help you appreciate and welcome the noise that will inevitably follow.

Try weaving a bit of silence into your day. You might just grow to treasure those moments. Moments to reflect. Stare into space. Think. Contemplate. Pray.