I used to think that a good mom was attentive to her children all the time.
And, as someone who didn’t have much of a choice, I did just that.
Until I couldn’t sustain in anymore.
That’s when I realized that solitude is essential for me. It’s the one must-do in my life beyond food and water and other basic needs.
And, here’s the other thing — it’s super awesome for my children, too.
Why Solitude in Motherhood?
It’s the sound of bliss for many.
As a highly sensitive mom, noise is one of the biggest sources of discomfort, stress and frustration for me. Screaming children. Dog licking the floor for food droppings. My husband’s podcast sounds coming from his speakers.
And I’m not alone. Noise is one of the most common struggles that moms share with me as part of their own motherhood struggles.
Solitude is a powerful way to recover from all the noise of a busy family life and the noise of the world around us.
In fact, a recent study found that participants would rather administer electric shocks to themselves rather than be left alone in a room by themselves with nothing to do but thing.
The study’s results aren’t surprising to me after leading hundreds of women through The Abundant Mama Project — which includes a lesson on stillness. This lesson is by far the one I get the most pushback on … and yet it’s also the one that leads the women to their biggest source of joy over time — and their biggest feelings of transformation.
No One Spends Time Alone Anymore
These days it seems being alone is getting harder and harder to do.
First, parents are expected to supervise children longer and more carefully than ever.
Second, we are never really alone with social media constantly by our side. In a second we can feel connected to others around our community — and world.
And yet, it’s true that I’m working with moms who don’t feel connected. In fact, they feel lonely.
Solitude changes all of that.
One of my favorite poets wrote this once: “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.” ― May Sarton
How To Create More Time for Solitude
I spend hours alone each day while my girls are in school and my partner works.
I have no problem with being alone. In fact, sometimes you have to force me to leave the house. I’m that comfortable being alone and in silence.
But during the summer months when my girls are home all day, I have a completely different mindset around what it means to have quiet time.
This means I have to find quiet and make it happen. It’s not going to just happen for me. In order to do all of my Abundant Mama creative work — journaling, mandalas, poetry, list-making and planning — I need quiet time to think, reflect and plan.
Here are my favorite ways to sneak in some much-needed solitude:
- I get up early. I know I’ve talked about this many times but it’s truly my favorite way to start the day feeling like I’m in a surplus of time for myself, time to think and time to plan out the day without any distractions or interruptions. My Rise and Shine Routine is absolutely essential for me.
- I enforce quiet time — even for my somewhat big kids. Children need quiet time as much as adults do and they will end up enjoying it. It’s our job to teach them to be alone with their thoughts — so they are more comfortable with it than our generation. Now that I have bigger kiddos, we call it “silent retreat.” And they aren’t always into it so I never force it — but I do strongly encourage it.
- Early Bedtime Routines — This is another favorite of mine. At our house, everyone should be in their rooms early for quiet time, reading and relaxation. No one has to sleep but everyone must be doing something quiet and calming for themselves. This is the hardest for me to implement as my girls get older – – and as their bedtime seems to move farther and farther back on the clock. BUT it’s a very effective one and they also enjoy the quiet time.