Posted by: zenmamajo | January 28, 2011

Blaring TV! Boisterous Kids! Irritating Foot Stomping! All Rising From the Apartment Below…

have you ever lived next to people who created so much noise it drove you insane? maybe you currently live beside disrupting neighbors, neighbors who cannot seem to respect that you work swing shift and need to sleep during the day. neighbors who seem to watch tv at hours inconvenient to you (during the day). neighbors whose kids seem to laugh or cry just when you’ve fallen asleep (during the day) (the kids do this to me sometimes and i can’t fall back asleep!!!). sound familiar?

hello: we’re “those” neighbors. you know – the ones you can’t stand making all that noise. and quite frankly: i get it. i was once single and married without small children. i toooootally understand the need and desire for complete silence when i want it and enjoy noise that only i make.

i get it and i sympathize with you. on behalf of all those neighbors with small children who drive you crazy: i’m sorry. really. i’m understand you have sacrificed sleep, peace and quite while living next to us.

but guess what? now that i’m on the “other” side, i can tell you that it’s waaaay louder in my house and i too long for pockets of time where i can sleep uninterrupted and have extended periods of peace and quite (unlike now when one of my daughters has just awoke from her nap and is crying for me…i can see the headlines now: “Mother Neglects Children While Blogging…” note: while it may seem i’ve typed this entire blog in one sitting – it will take me several sittings to complete…).

while our house sounds like a circus at times (insert carnival theme song here) – know that i do try to keep the noise level down. but that’s really just what little kids do: sometimes they’re sweet, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes they race through the house, sometimes they gallop like horses, but most importantly they are learning how to express themselves and that equals lots and LOTS of noise. sometimes they create the noise. other times it’s me trying to…’harness’ that noise (“No, it is NOT okay to poke yourself in the forehead with the end of my broach!’)

guess what else? those noise makers (my little darlings) – well – we (you and i) use to be just. like. that. remember how freeing it was to be around people who allowed us to just be “just kids” when we were younger? i find channeling in to those memories helps me to extend grace towards the children when things start to get chaotic.

can i also encourage you on behalf of “those” people to not let your frustrations build to the point of banging on our ceiling to quiet us down (this demonstrates a lack of self control and possibly a need for anger management…). in fact, here is zenmamajo’s guide to harmonious apartment living.

– recognize that the nature of living in an apartment = other people’s noise.
– we will try to keep the noise level reasonable but sometimes it will get a little loud
– reach out (asap) if the noise level is too much for you. stop by when you are not upset with us and let’s discuss how we can live practically with one another.
– consider investing in quality (key!) earplugs if you must sleep during the day
– consider investing in a quality sound machine or nature’s sounds CD (we love our sound machines!)
– consider moving to a different part of your apartment for a short time (if possible) if we’re being too loud (that’s what we do! it works great!)
– consider cutting us some slack if you hear our tv at 742pm because we do the same when we hear your tv at 10pm, 11pm, 1am, and 2am…
– if all else fail – let’s ask landlords to mediate a discussion between our families
– view us as your neighbor rather than your sworn enemy…

lastly, i think there is more behind the floor stomping to quiet us and rejection to working out our differences – i strongly suspect someone treated you that way at some point: as an irritant that is… maybe no one has ever told you this but: it wasn’t okay that someone treated you that way. you really deserved better – to be treated respectfully even if you were committing some wrong.

is it your right to retaliate by banging on shared walls if you are irritated? sure it is. is it our right to live next to you with small children and live out loud? of course. but i believe with a dash of effort, a little less pride, we too can achieve harmonious apartment living between our families.

(Author’s note: this post was prompted by an ongoing dispute we have with a current neighbor. sometimes, if one or both parties are not willing to sincerely work towards living together, the only option is for one family to move. in this case that family is us; however, i say it’s a win-win – they’ll regain their peace and quiet (jealous!) and we’ll be moving to a safer environment where the kids can “just be kids”.

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