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My mom came over for lunch the other day and said, "It's so quiet in here. You don't turn on the TV?"

And the answer is no. Once my children leave for school, I spend most of my work day in complete silence. No music. No television. No phone except for the occasional conference call. If I go out to run errands, I leave the car radio off.

These long stretches of solitude help recalibrate my body and mind. Because when you think about it, our motherhoods all began with sounds that intensified over time, seeping into every nook and cranny of our beings.

It started with the beeping of hospital machines, onslaught of visitors, nurses barking instructions and shifting our breasts into gaping newborn mouths. Those infant cries that went on for months—tiny humans screeching into the world, crying so hard their arms and little fists shook with might.

The noise only magnifies as our children grow.

There have been temper tantrums, fights between siblings, wrestling that turned into wailing. Kid birthday parties of 20+ little ones where laughter and screaming seem to reach deafening roars that prevent you from paying attention to the parent who is patiently trying to hold a conversation.

The chaos that is par for the course of motherhood all feels very uncomfortable to me. I'm non-confrontational by nature, I hate crowds, and I feel awkward when I raise my voice. Even as a young girl, I'd retreat to my room to read or sneak away during big family parties and always preferred having two or three best friends over being part of a large group.

Ironically, I married a gregarious man whose normal speaking voice is SO LOUD, and we have two very talkative, energetic, highly excitable kids—exactly what happy, healthy children should be. But when all the noise dies down and I'm alone, I prefer to be quiet.

There's the silence that is productive.

It's answering work emails, writing, ordering groceries online, making all the beds in the house, and folding piles of laundry all with the grace of a motherly monk who's simply going through the motions without any external distractions.

There's the silence that is calming.

It's that rare trip to the spa or the nail salon or savoring a cup of tea outside on the deck where the only sounds you hear are birds and the wind. It's getting lost in a book that's so good you forget what time it is.

There's the silence that is empowering.

It's tackling a huge project, writing an email you've been putting off, strategizing a plan that could catapult a far-off dream into reality. It's finally booking that way-too-expensive trip to celebrate your ten-year wedding anniversary.

There's also the silence that is lonely.

It's that time of day when you start to really, really miss your kids and wonder what they're doing at that exact moment. It's the second you realize you haven't spoken to another human in six hours and you're starting to talk to yourself and think it'd be a good idea to call your best friend or husband or your mom.

And then they're home! Those loud, happy children.

They rush into the house, sharing stories about friends and fun school projects and a surprise performance by Red Grammer. Dumping their backpacks, hats and gloves at the front door, hungry for snacks, and wanting so badly to interact with you—the one person they've missed the most all day.

And thank God for this noise because it pulls you back—keeping you focused and clear minded and appreciative of your deliriously noisy and wonderful life.

For me, spending most of my day in silence is therapeutic. It's the equivalent of getting a good night's sleep or taking a long walk. It gives me the chance to recharge. So mama, find your equilibrium because it's within the balance of the light and the dark—the silence and the cacophony—that is your wonderful, beautiful life.

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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