The hour I didn’t speak

Recently I find myself not being the mom I really want to be or, more accurately, not being the mom I’m called to be. I might start the day with good intentions but so quickly end up raising my voice, being impatient and letting the little things get to me.
So, yesterday, after feeling very frustrated with acts of disobedience and generally defeated in my role, I put myself in a ‘time out’ of sorts. I was sick of the crazy cycle I get into with the kids sometimes. I felt like I should challenge myself to not speak at all for an hour. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was suddenly excited for the experiment.
So, I quietly got Keziah down for her nap, by rubbing her back and patting her bum (no words needed).
Then I went to check on the other two and realized I should probably tell them what I was doing, so I shared that I wasn’t going to be speaking but would probably use some gestures to explain myself. Then I started my timer and the vow of silence commenced.
I was cleaning up around the house and in and out of the kids’ room throughout the hour. Josiah also came home early in the midst of this and was amused by/curious about my silence. I wrote him a simple note and got back to my tasks. I managed to “read” a book to the kids, play with cars, give a time out, sort socks with Jeremiah, “laugh” at silliness and do a few other things around the house. It was actually amazing! The kids picked up on my silence and were mainly quiet themselves (which was helpful for a sleeping Kez), a rarity in our home, the sibling issues were minimal and my interactions with them were almost completely fun, loving and respectful. It was a huge success!
At the end of the hour I explained to Josiah a little more of why I had been silent and then shared with him my findings. I think a small part of the success was the fact that it was a novelty for them, but I really think it went so well because it caused me to be more intentional, more at-their-level and altogether more engaged with them. I didn’t have the option of shouting instructions down a hallway, I had to kneel down, gently hold their faces in my hands to get their attention and then use my eyes and hands to communicate. It was shockingly effective.
This experience challenged me to be a little more creative in my parenting style, to have the chance to be self-reflective, and to really see my children. I highly recommend it!
In a world where we rarely engage people face to face and are so often distracted by some form of technology, the call to be a hands-on mom can be so difficult. Let’s strive together to memorize the flecks in our children’s eyes, to take advantage of back-rubbing moments, to occasionally be silent and the rest of the time, to speak life.
Love, Christie

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