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How I Survive The Noise in my Home With Two Toddlers

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Early on in my first child’s life, I realized I am highly sensitive to noise and intense emotion. Haha, this is the most inconvenient trait to have as a parent because kids are pretty much little fireballs of noise, emotion, and poop. I had to figure out a way to cope because I also realized I have absolutely no control over the level of noise that comes out of another person’s body. The solution? Earplugs. Seriously, I wear earplugs or Airpods for most of the day. I found this trick helps me keep my reactivity in check, and there is a bonus! It helps me to keep my nose out of my husband’s business with the kids.

Keep my reactivity in check

I feel tense and judging of loud noise and strong emotion. It doesn’t even matter what type of emotion it is. If the boys express loud busts of excitement, I’m like, “Okay, okay, yes it’s exciting but not that exciting. Can’t we just calm down a bit?” No, they can’t and they shouldn’t have to. Why should my issues stifle and dampen how my children experience life? It is a reaction I am experiencing and need to deal with. I deal with it by thinking about what happened in my past to make me so tense around noise and emotion. I also deal with it by giving myself a buffer, earplugs!

I only have control over the noise coming from my own voice

Here is a hard fact to accept. We only have control over the noises our bodies make and the environment we create for our children to live in. That is it. I can create a calm home with less clutter and more organized routines. I can also speak and react calmly. I cannot force my children to sound or react quieter. Sometimes adults (including myself) will bribe, manipulate, and shame children into having quiet reactions. I have never seen this work for long, for me or anyone I've watched taking care of children.

Adult: "Ow! Your screaming hurt my ears!" (shame)

Child: "Wow! Thanks for letting me know. Your comfort is very important to me. I will stop now" -said no child ever

In fact bribes, manipulation, and shame sends a message to the child, "My need to have quiet is more important than your need to express yourself in an exaggerated way." Or even worse, "My need for quiet is more important than your need to express yourself in the only way can right now." Meaning, a yell might be all they can give because they are pre-verbal or because they are pre-rational. Either way, it's literally all they have to give in order to get their needs met at this moment and we have rejected their offering.

Wait, I take that back. I might be able force quiet (momentarily) if I abuse my children with smacking or spanking them. Yes, as harsh as it may sound, I call out these punishments for what they are, physical abuse. Would you come with me on my rant for a moment? If my husband smacked me when he wanted me to talk quieter, I would divorce him. Plus, the law would protect me from that! It’s shameful we do not have laws protecting children in the United States. We are one of the only developed nations that don’t, by the way. Okay, rant over thank you.

I am unwilling to resort to abuse, bribes, manipulation, and shame so I accept the only control I have is over myself and the environment I set up.

Save the relationship with my partner

The last benefit to wearing earplugs is that it keeps my maternal gatekeeping at bay. Maternal gatekeeping is when mothers act as the final authority for how the children and the home are managed. It is hard for me to allow my husband his own conversations, reactions, and decisions with the kids. I must fight against telling him what to do and how to do it. It’s important for mothers to allow their children and spouse to develop their own separate relationship without interference. Also, fathers need to test, practice, and fail at things with the home and parenthood. This gives them more confidence and enables them to participate fully in family life. I am using the term “Mothers” and “Fathers” because this dynamic is most common in straight couples. That does not mean gatekeeping cannot happen with Fathers or LGBT couples too. Basically, if you are the “gatekeeper” you need to check yourself! When I find myself wanting to direct my husband, I put my Airpods in and happily listen to music or an Audiobook while cleaning the kitchen.

Have I convinced you to try earplugs yet? I promise if you find yourself highly sensitive to strong emotion and loud noise, they are a great buffer and help decrease the tension you feel. I can still hear the kids and attend to their needs, it is just a bit quieter. We must cope and find ways to control ourselves because trying to control what comes out of our kids is impossible. Plus, earplugs are great for my marriage and help me to give space for my husband and children to develop a relationship on their own terms.

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1 Comment

Mar 04, 2021

I wish I would have had this when I was raising small children. I think this is great advice!

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