White Noise

I’ve heard that people use nature machines, ocean noises, birds chirping, the sound of static – whatever they need to relax and fall asleep.  I have never agreed with this method of self soothing because it is not self soothing it is other annoying.  My roommate in college had a boyfriend who needed music to fall asleep.  This is what his parents had trained him to do.  However, my parents had NOT trained me to fall asleep with music.  They, like millions of other parents around the world, had forced me to go to sleep in silence like any other normal kid.  No machines. No birds chirping. No waves whooshing.  Just me and the sound of my eyelids closing.  Personally I think I owe them a debt of thanks because I am not beholden to anything but my eyelids to get me to go to sleep and they come with me wherever I go anyway.  No batteries required.

As I’ve grown up and had kids and worked and done all the good stuff that mother’s do, I’ve required a bit of white noise.  But probably not what you think.  And no it’s not  a la Kim Cattrall and Sex in the City.  Still no batteries required.  My white noise has become appliances.  I love the sound of the dishwasher running.  The steady hum and swish of the washer is also soothing.  Throw in the dryer and I am gone baby gone.  I lie there with a Mona Lisa smile feeling very productive without having to lift a finger.  I can sleep soundly knowing that even while I lie inert for 7 hours, things are getting cleaned.  This is very satisfying for me.  I am not a cleaner kind of person.  That is to say, my house is clean, but not necessarily as tidy as it could be.  To have one or more of those machines going indicates that I have done something that day towards the general state of cleanliness and order in my home.  As I work full time, have a part time cake business and volunteer my time is limited.  I absolutely refuse to be a slave to a cleaning schedule.  When I see muck building up, it gets cleaned.  I don’t believe in pre-emptive cleaning except the bathroom and I pay my kids allowance so they do that for me.  My kids are also the ones I like to spend time with and as they don’t work as much as I do or volunteer their time (and really like getting their allowance), I pass some cleaning on to them.  They are learning to fold towels, vacuum, etc.  That is not to say that my inner Martha does not occasionally rear her neat freak head and do a blitz cleaning but if the choice is mopping the floors and taking my kids out to Chapters or hiking, off we’ll go.

What does this random rant about cleaning have to do with my white noise of choice ? Well I guess it has to do with the fact that deep down I’d like to have a tidier house and I’d like to like to be the one to do it.  But deep down I realize that this is not the case and I feel guilty.  Lying in bed some nights the monkey chatter in my brain about my many failings can invariably lead to thoughts of the bad habits I am teaching my kids.  I operate on more of a do as I say, not as I do policy.  It does not matter that Mommy’s laundry is still on the floor after three days, YOURS must be put away immediately or there will be CONSEQUENCES.  Yes, I do recognize the hypocrisy of that statement but that is one of the perks of parenthood as far as I am concerned.  And since the wage for my parenting gig is quite low, I ‘ll take the perks where I can get them.

Back to my white noise choice – I think the dishwasher is rapidly turning into my white noise of choice.  I won’t turn it on unless it is full but it is quite soothing to think of all those nasty dishes getting a good soak and scrub while my non-dishpan hands rest ever so gently upon the soft coverlet that warms my tired body.  Ahhhh.  The washing machine is close second.  Never having washed clothes by hand I don’t have the same sense of relief as comes from not having your hands stuck in scalding hot sudsy water scraping ketchup off the plate.  But I have watched enough Little House on the Prairie to know that I don’t want to get up close and personal with my hard working man’s tighty whities.  And as my son seems to undervalue the true wonder of toilet paper, his gitch are another thing I will gladly turn over to my Kenmore Super Capacity.  It will non-judgmentally scrub the grit and grime off of the most disgusting man-sweat covered articles of clothing while I sweetly slumber.  This is not to say that my own undergarments are the most pleasant of things but I know what I’ve been up to.  My son is a different story and knowing what my husband has been doing as a Millwright all day don’t make the stank any sweeter.

The dryer while still eminently soothing doesn’t give the same satisfaction as its action is not cleaning anything away.  It is more of a passive aggressive assistance which just doesn’t cut the same mustard as my two other trusty cleaning friends which both make short work of any condiment found in their line of duty.

So tonight while I head to sleepy town I must do so under the power of my own eyelids as the cleaning machines get the night off.  Hopefully the monkey chatter in my brain is too tired to make too much noise.  But if that is the case,  I think there is a load of towels that I could pop in ….

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