I find myself speaking less and less these days, partly because I have a 2-month-old infant who wakes every few hours during the night. My 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son no longer take naps, throwing the “nap when your baby naps” suggestion right out of the window.
My outward voice has temporarily shut off due to sheer exhaustion and just the thought of uttering words is physically impossible at times. My inner voice has even taken a temporary hiatus from being aflutter with laughter and fresh ideas.
Raising children is a demanding charge and amid the nose wiping, life lessons and piles of laundry, staying at home can be very isolating. Some days, I find myself putting on blinders, with my nose to the grindstone, praying for 6:30 when our bath and bedtime ritual begins. Drained from the chaos of an emotionally challenging day, I am starting to wonder:
What has happened to my voice?
By the time my husband gets home, my voice is tired, cranky and usually craving nothing more than a glass of wine and a night of cuddling on the couch.
So focused on my daily to-do list, it is easy to find my once vibrant voice smothered into quiet submission.
During this brief time of stillness, which incidentally is looking up after only one night of rest, I found myself almost happy for the absence of everyday conversation and grateful for the physical inability to converse.
A natural at the art of small talk and playful banter, I realized great strength and self-reflection can come from being speechless. Meditating on my fatigued tranquility, I have come to silently consider several new ideas:
- I should not feel obligated to talk. Most of the time, I have this overwhelming urge to speak and break the stillness of a room. Hanging out in silence has proven awkward at first, but now, I find it comforting and thought-provoking.
- Always speak from the heart. Yes, my brain is having a hard time functioning lately due to temporary sleep deprivation, but I am finding my thoughts to be pure as I muster the energy to get a simple point across. I am choosing my words wisely and starting to speak with purpose.
- There is something healthy about staring out into space. I found myself mindlessly gazing at my surroundings. I started to take in still moments, stop moving and allowed my mind focus on – nothing.
- Embrace the chaos. My new mantra! Instead of fighting the uncertainty of my day, I am accepting it. Unexpected diaper changes, a client calling during the middle of my scheduled writing time, seasonal allergies… There is no way I can control my life right now, so I must be open to the idea of welcoming interruption. I need to see unexpected intrusion into my day as an opportunity. I might not know what I will learn from these disruptions, but at least I will head into them with a good attitude.
- Just play. It is easy to be distracted by your daily responsibilities, so I am taking some time to play. I am hitting the library, work on jigsaw puzzles with my husband, and building elaborate Lego cities with my kids…
What helps you function when you are physically exhausted?
The lovely photograph provided for “Embrace the Chaos” was created by Brandi Lee of Balee Images
*I am unplugging from the internet in an effort to replenish my physical energy and spending some much needed time with my family! I look forward to responding to your comments when I return on May 10th. Thank you for reading! -Elizabeth