Posted by: Ingrid | September 24, 2011

A Little Piece of Quiet


My husband is an extrovert.  But I knew that when we got married.  It was, in fact, one of those charming features that I really admired.  Not that I am into social isolation or anything, but as an introvert, extroverts, and watching them in their natural habitat, intrigue me.  And so we went into marriage, introvert and extrovert.  But they say forewarned is forearmed.  It’s not like I didn’t know.

My son also appears to be an extrovert.  The difference here (aside from the fact that he is two and my husband is not) is that we had no advance warning as to what his personality would be.  So I am outnumbered, at least for now, as we wait for Baby Boy #2 to make his appearance and give us some clue as to what sort of personality he will have.

Today my husband gave me a gift of time, space, and quiet, all rolled into one.  He stayed home with our two-year-old today, on his day off, and I got to be “out of the office” all day.  Originally, my plan was to make the day more of a retreat, to get away some place beautiful and quiet.  Instead, I ended up in town running errands and doing whatever I wanted.  Oddly enough, it was still incredibly relaxing.  Shopping at Aldi is such a nice experience when you aren’t trying to hurry through before nap time.  Looking at consignment stores for newborn clothing is different when you don’t have a toddler on the verge of throwing a fit.  And those couple of things I have been eyeing at Bed Bath & Beyond to complete a few nesting projects?  Well, let’s just say that leisurely wandering through the store and making sure all of the coupons come out right beats trying to speed through with Isaac securely fastened in his stroller.

It really wasn’t until I was sitting at Panera eating lunch by myself, however, that I realized that what made this day so incredibly relaxing is the fact that I can be quiet.  It’s not that I have been wrapped in silence today since I have been out and about.  It’s the fact that I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to.  I finished up the day wandering around a library I never go to and sitting in a room clearly marked: Designated Quiet Room and it was wonderful.  It’s times like that that remind me that I am still an introvert and that, much as I love my son dearly, I am with him almost all day on most days and there is a lot of talking going on.

I remember three months into the whole stay-at-home-mom gig, I was exhausted.  Not that taking care of an infant isn’t tiring enough, especially when sleep deprived and breastfeeding.  But it wasn’t that.  I was exhausted from all the talking.  All of what talking?  After all, new born babies don’t generally come equipped with a large vocabulary.  But there I was, all day, in the house, taking seriously the fact that you are supposed to talk to your baby.

Look Isaac.  The sun is out today.  The sun is yellow.  Do you feel how warm it is even though it’s actually 2 degrees outside?  Time to change your diaper.  Mommy is going to lay you down and take off your truck pjs.  Here we go.  Now the wipe will be wet.  Do you feel it?  Wet and cold because we are hardcore and you don’t need a diaper wipe warmer.  Do you see the diaper?  The diaper is green. 

And on and on and on.  Oh my was I tired.  Never in my life had I talked that much, especially to someone who didn’t talk back.

Now, of course, things are different.  Isaac has no problem talking back and from the moment he wakes up it is a constant stream of communication.

Good MO-ning mommy!  Good MOOOOO-ning!!!  Up?  UP?  Where veggietales?  Cakes?  Where cakes (pancakes)?  With jam…yep?  Juice?  Water?  Want up, mommy?  Thomix?  Where Thomix?  Where choo-choo?  Watch?  Yep?  Where George?  Watch?  Elmo?  Elmo Pets?  Where pets? Lions?  Grrrrrrrr!  Watch Elmo world?  Yep?

And we are off and running as I try to answer questions and help him understand that I cannot hold him, make pancakes, find Thomas the Train, read a book, and fill two sippy cups all at the same time.  Also, we are not watching anything on the computer either (insert meltdown here).  Our days involve lots of talking.  Lots of reading books and singing songs and plenty of questions and answers.  I suppose I am more used to it now, but days like today remind me that lots of talking still tires me out.  A day in which there is no burden of conversation, no questions to answer, and nothing to explain makes me feel like I’m completely at rest and still inside.  I can be as quiet as I need to be and it’s okay.

The freedom to be that quiet feels like sinking down onto the softest down comforter you can find.  It is a lovely feeling.  Just what I needed before we throw another little one into the mix.  Thanks to my wonderful husband for such a wonderfully quiet day!



  1. Amen, amen, amen, and AMEN!!!!! Sometimes I tell my kids “Mommy’s ears are tired – I NEED everyone to be quiet for a few minutes!”

    Next weekend I’m going away on a 3 day retreat. Gabe and I give this to each other once or twice a year (we’re both introverts living with little kids – we both need it!) and it is marvelous. Actually sometimes I think it helps me stay sane. 🙂 I’m going to spend my time in a Franciscan retreat garden, and a yoga studio, and a beautiful hotel room. Mostly alone, and mostly silent. I can’t wait!

    • That sounds heavenly, Em!

  2. I don’t have kids but i totally get this. Whilst my husband is an introvert too he does like to have noise around, the radio on whilst working around the house. Me, I can spend a whole day in absolute silence doing my own thing, in my own headspace…and the sound of a radio is really intrusive!! Awesome that hubby gave you those hours of peace, that sounds like a real gift. (“for Christmas honey i would like a 6hr box of silence please…”!!)

    • Michelle, have you ever read The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron? I have the same kind of need for silence that you do, and my (introvert) husband does not…this book helped me understand why!

  3. Hmm, no I have not read that book but it looks like a good one to pursue – thanks!

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