There is noise in my head.
It’s not I’m in the middle of a nervous breakdown noise. Don’t worry about me.
It’s I try to do too much noise, there are too many important things in my brain right now noise, don’t forget about this super vital thing! noise.
It’s also word of the day noise and I want to be a good homeschooler noise and I haven’t blogged in four days, and I still have nothing to say noise.
When I’m busy, when I’m mothering, when I’m working and cleaning and playing, the noise subsides. I’m focused; I’m present. I do my thing.
When I’m sitting still, when I’m showering, when I’m driving or reading or trying to fall asleep, the noise crescendoes.
Return that DVD player.
I shouldn’t have said that to Joe.
I forgot to call the insurance company.
I forgot to go get my bloodwork.
I hope I’m not getting sick.
I forgot to email my boss.
I wanted to make a playdate with the Colliers.
I forgot to pick up Grace’s prescription.
How am I ever going to get ahead of the mess in this house?
There are people coming over in four days, and this house is not fit.
I can’t believe that I forgot to take Grace to her doctor’s appointment.
Constant. racing. thoughts.
The noise keeps me from sleeping sometimes. I think about this thing and then that thing and then pretty soon, it’s 2 in the morning and I haven’t managed to fall asleep.
Sometimes, I think that there must be something wrong with me, that other moms seem to cope with all this stuff just fine.
Sometimes, I think that I’m just like everyone else and all moms are probably walking around with just as much noise, distracting them from peace.
The worst part of the noise is that it steals my joy. It robs me of pleasant thoughts and happy sighs and stillness, and it replaces them with urgent and busy. It hounds me about all the things I’ve failed at, all the things I should have done but didn’t.
The noise is heavy, stifling.
It’s only in writing about the noise that I realize it’s just another way that I’m being too hard on myself, creating guilt where no guilt should be.
I lead a Bible study at my church for moms of littles, and for the last two weeks, we’ve been reading Psalm 51. We’ve been talking about false guilt, the guilt that we put on ourselves for no good reason. (The valid kind of guilt would be the kind where you’ve done something willfully wrong and need to seek repentance.)
For two weeks, I’ve told my friends that they need to free themselves from too-high expectations and delight in just what they can do.
For two weeks, I’ve imagined that I don’t have noise, false guilt about all the ways I don’t measure up. I’ve imagined that I’m just busy, that it’s natural to be distracted when you have so much going on, that everything is fine and dandy.
Everything is not fine and dandy.
If my words were coming from my friend, I would look straight into her eyes, and I would tell her that she’s doing a good job. I would tell her that she’s done as much as she can do today, that the rest will have to wait, that it’s okay to let some things slide.
I would tell her that she needs to set her priorities, to identify what she needs, and to focus on just those things.
I would tell her to stop listening to the noise.
I would tell her to study the Bible and play with her kids and talk to her husband. I would tell her to write. I would tell her to work a little and clean a little and teach a little and then to be still.
And stop listening to the noise.
© 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.