“Mom, mama, mom, mom, can I tell you, mom? Mama?”
This is how a day passes in the life of a stay-at-home mother to small children. As caretaker, friend, cook, cleaner, nurse, you are always on call. And boy, do they call you. “Mom, Mama?”
Quiet is rare and silence only achieved at nap time, which is always over too soon. “Mama!”
As an introvert, I need silence. It helps me feel centered and clear. When I had my first child, I’d drive to The Morton Arboretum, strap her in her carrier and walk – all for a little peace and quiet. Often, by the time I reached the spruce plot, she was sleeping, her body warm against mine.
Among the spruces, it was cool and dark, and except for the occasional chirp or mysterious forest rustle, it was silent. The tranquility of the place helped restore me, so that when my daughter awoke, I was happy to hear her call me.
When my children started preschool, my girlfriends (also mothers) and I would meet at the Arboretum for a trail walk. Now that our children were in school for a few hours of the day and we had a little more time, we were thinking, besides being mothers, what else did we want from life? How could we achieve our own dreams while raising our children?
While walking, we talked through our questions. Answering them was harder, though. I know now that to find answers, I need a lot of silence and a relaxed brain. But even back then, I must have realized it on some level, because when walking with my girlfriends, I’d always ask, “Can we take the path through the spruces?”