Mom Brain at Capacity

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A woman holding her ears on overload.There’s a meme that reads, “One minute you’re young and fun, and the next you’re turning down the car radio so you can see better.” My kids (ages 14, 13, and 10) find this hysterical and ridiculous. I find it to be embarrassingly accurate and also a bit genius. Someone is definitely making fun of the over-forty crowd, but they’re highlighting a truth that is so often ignored. There is too much noise to pay attention to what’s important.

When my mind is at capacity, I need quiet. I crave silence to hear my thoughts or take in anything new. 

It seems ridiculous if you take the meme (and concept) at face value. What does theradio’s  volume have to do with your ability to see? In a way, nothing. But it’s not really about the seeing; it’s about processing. We’re overloaded with stuff coming at us. And for a long time, I’m not sure we even realized it.

One of my big takeaways from the early days of the pandemic was how overloaded I was. I fully recognize that this wasn’t everyone’s experience and that I was incredibly fortunate for this to be my reality. At the start of the pandemic, life came to a screeching halt and stayed at a very slow, steady crawl for several months.

This was one of the first times in my mom-life life where there wasn’t anything to do. It wasn’t necessarily a blissful and free experience, but there was so little noise and obligation and to-dos coming at me. The number of items in the queue, waiting to be called up and needed at a moment’s notice, had dropped down dramatically.

It’s not lost on me that this was a period when I wrote my first essay published in a book. The majority of the words I wrote became my first book. Suddenly, there was space.

So, what does that have to do with the car radio? Nothing, and kind of everything. 

Friends, we are at capacity. And creating some space for a quiet understanding that silence is an integral part of the ability to hear, understand, and process our thoughts is so deeply important.

Being “at capacity” isn’t the same thing as being full. It’s personal, changes daily (minute by minute), and requires you to check in with yourself. Only you know your capacity. It’s a limit you get to set!

I recently went to a writing retreat hosted by my friend (author, poet, and yoga instructor). It’s not a writing retreat, but it isn’t easy to describe what it is, and we do write. It’s about connection, and we spend a lot of time talking, except in the morning. We have silent mornings. Before all the talking and everything that comes from giving yourself throughout the day, we start the day in silence.

Drinking coffee, reading, writing, observing, eating, swimming, and walking. Doing and being, but not talking. It’s strange at first, and then you take a big deep breath and realize just how much more space there is in your mind and body for YOU when you aren’t hearing everyone else.

So, turn the radio down when you need to see better. Turn the radio up when everything else is even louder. Sit in silence. Have quiet mornings. Put on noise-canceling headphones. Understand what your capacity is, and know how to work within that!

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Lauren Schwarzfeld was born and raised in Yorktown, and aside from college in Boston and a few months living in New York City, she has spent her entire life in Westchester. She has lived in Mt Kisco with her husband Karl since 2006, where they have three kids, Mia (2008), Jacob (2009), Abigail (2012), and two dogs, Edna (a four-year-old beagle) and Felix (a one-year-old pitbull-lab mix). Lauren is a writer, coach, and leader in community engagement. She helps women rediscover their strengths, passion, and confidence to reclaim their spot in their life and step outside the box of perceived expectations. Her goal is for women to create a future that is authentically and unapologetically their own. As the Chief Operating Officer at (914) Cares, a local non-profit, she combines her business background with a passion for volunteer work and desire to care for the community around her. Connect with Lauren on Facebook or through her website!

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