One part of parenthood that no one can really prepare you for is the constant noise and chaos that children bring. I have three boys, and our home can sometimes sound (and incidentally smell) like a zoo. It can be quite draining at times.
A while back, I noticed that my husband found a way of dealing with it all that made me bristle at first: headphones.
While my kids would be reenacting the WWE in our living room and arguing over who could come up with the most annoying sound, my husband would be off in his own little world with his headphones.
"Why do you always disconnect from us?" I would ask. "Can't you be present?"
As time went on, however, I noticed that I was the one who was getting short-tempered and drained from the constant craziness. Maybe being "present" at every given moment wasn't necessary or healthy. When my kids were playing together and being so loud that it made my head pound, I was usually doing chores around the house. So, why not take a moment to disconnect from the chaos with some relaxing music or an interesting podcast?
Parents are afforded few luxuries and judged very harshly for the ones we do take.
One of my biggest concerns was my ability to know what was going on around me. I needed to be able to use all of my senses as a mother to keep my kids safe. One solution I found is that, unless I was right next to them, I tended to leave one earphone out so I could still hear what is going on. Luckily, my kids were never very far from me in my one-level home.
I also found that having an earbud in was nice in the car, and it helped keep me focused on driving instead of the madness going on in the back seat. (If you plan on doing the same, check your state's laws first, as it's not always legal to wear earbuds while driving.)
Of course, like with any technology, my husband and I make a point to disconnect from our headphones during meals and family time. We also don’t listen to them at the same time.
For me, it has been a lifeline for when I get exasperated from begging my three boys to "tone it down," or when they are on my last nerve and I don’t want to blow up on them. It allows me a moment to reset, lower my blood pressure and take a mini break.
Parents are afforded few luxuries and judged very harshly for the ones we do take. But we need to take our small daily pleasures whenever and however we can get them. As I have finally figured out, there’s nothing wrong with that.