Coffee or Quiet?



“Would you rather have your coffee every day or have peace and quiet every day?”


question marks


This is the question the Loud One threw at me the other day. Her current obsession with Perler Beads has her sitting at the kitchen island for much of the afternoon and SHOCKER! she likes to chat.

Side note: When I was kid, I too SHOCKER! had a lot to say. While I was pontificating on life’s Most Important Issues (which is better: Big League Chew or Now & Laters?), my Dad used to ask me if I was “talking to hear the sound of my own voice.” I didn’t really get it, but I figured it was a little bit mean so I swore I would never say it to my own kid.

Guess what. I do. At least once a week.*

Every once in a while, in the middle of all the babble, the Loud One will ask me something that really makes me stop and think.

“Would you rather have your coffee everyday or have peace and quiet every day?”

I have to admit, it’s a tough one. You know how I feel about Starbucks… that break-up alone would be devastating. I love my coffee-flavored liquid candy too much to give it up. But on the OTHER hand, maybe I wouldn’t miss the coffee caffeine if I had peace and quiet everyday?

(Psst... this is my secret ingredient)

(Psst… this is my secret ingredient)

“Peace and quiet” just sounds awesome, doesn’t it? For some reason, in my vision of “peace and quiet” I’m in a very cool meditation room, doing yoga despite the fact that I don’t meditate, do yoga or have anything even remotely resembling a meditation room in my house. (Unless you count the “Time Out step.”)

But here’s the thing, I think permanent peace and quiet might become… boring.

Hold on, easy with the “Are you effing crazy?” and let me explain. I LOVE peace and quiet – reading, napping, Nashville – but I think maybe only in small doses.

Vacations. Nighttime car rides. Snowy afternoons where I lock myself in my room and watch six episodes of Downton Abbey in a row. (What? I didn’t say that I actually did that on Monday. But yeah, I did.)

And of course I would always prefer peace and quiet over arguing, whining, crying, complaining, fighting, screaming, singing that involves three words in repetition for many minutes (“I love snow! I LOVE snow! I love SNOW! I love snow sooooo muuuuuch!” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.), crashing, clanging, banging, spitting, slurping, smacking or any mindless annoying random-mouth-noise-making (you TOTALLY know what I mean).

But there is one thing that BEATS peace and quiet in my book. HAPPY NOISE.

Three kids running around, chasing each other, giggling, falling on top of each other in a pile of laughter and Happy Dude yelling, “Do again!”

The excitement over a block tower, built as a team, and the joy of knocking it down.

Dance parties with loud pop music and lots of “Watch me shake my booty!”

The loud exclamations of delight and jumps for joy that follow the words, “Sure, tonight can be an ice cream night.”

Side note: Nothing makes me feel more powerful than having the final say on whether it’s a dessert night or not. Mwah ha ha.

Happy Noise just makes me feel like I’ve done something right. (And THAT feeling doesn’t come along every day… or week.)

As I’ve mentioned before, my sister is one of those unusual beings who loves almost ALL of the noise that comes with a houseful of kids (which is why I happily hand off all of mine to her as often as possible); I’m not quite there. I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point, but that’s why God – or Dr. Dre, depending on your belief system – invented noise-reduction headphones. And in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the Happy Noise.

So to answer the Loud One’s question, I’ll keep the Happy Noise, tolerate (barely) the annoying noise and DEFINITELY choose coffee.


* For the record, here are some other things I swore I would never say to my kid, but do:

  • Because I said so.
  • I AM listening (I’m totally not listening).
  • Please get that hair out of your eyes.
  • Why don’t you read a book instead?
  • Haven’t you had enough? (This applies to so many things… food, playing outside in the 10° weather, water at bedtime… )
  • I’ve had it with you!

And here are some other things that I swore I would never say to my kids and haven’t yet because they’re still too young but now realize that I TOTALLY will someday:

  • As long as you live under our roof, you’ll live by our rules.
  • You’ll be treated like an adult when you start acting like one.
  • It’s not YOU I don’t trust, it’s the other guys.
  • It’s time you learned the meaning of respect.
  • Don’t argue with me; I’m still your mother.
  • Who’s going to be there?
  • Will the parents be home?
  • Call me when you get there.
  • I just want what’s best for you.

And this one is my favorite,

  • You’ll understand when you have children of your own.

Please feel free to add to my list. The more parenting clichés I can throw in there, the better. 


Nothing starts a conversation like a bin of beads.

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