I am not a patient person. Over the years, I’ve come to accept that. It just wasn’t one of the virtues I was blessed with I guess. I like to think that I’m kind. I could even go so far as to say that I’m fairly humble. But patient, I am not. I am also a parent to an extremely rambunctious 3 year old. A lack of patience and a toddler that could wear out the energizer bunny does not always mix. Plus, I do my very best to practice peaceful, patient parenting; no yelling, no hitting or physical punishments. I also fail, often and miserably sometimes. I get overwhelmed. My patience runs thin. I’ve yelled. I’ve given punishments that, in hindsight, were too severe and not well thought out. It happens. It happens to the most patient of people. It happens even more to someone like me that can barely stand to wait in the grocery store line.
I’m learning, slowly but surely, ways to deal with lack of a certain virtue. Between all the massive failures and the occasional melt-downs I’m finding ways to cope; ways to dig up a little bit of that patience that I thought I didn’t have.
It’s cliché, and I know it, but I’m serious. Stop. And. Breathe. Sometimes we get so much going on, and we’re already in such a hurry and there’s not going to be enough daylight hours as it is, and you’ve got a kid playing pokie Joe while you’re just trying to get them in the flippin’ car. Now is when you breathe. When it feels like you cannot possibly take a moment for anything, stop to breathe. Those errands aren’t going anywhere. If you’re already late, what’s an extra 10 seconds? Nothing is going to be effected that much by you taking 10 seconds to just take a breath. The most important thing for you, even more important than that meeting or errand or whatever else you’ve got going on is making sure that you’re doing your best for your child; which you cannot do if you’re about to pull your hair out of your skull by the fistfuls. Take just 10 seconds, close your eyes, breathe and recollect.
Make A Schedule, But Be Careful
This is a big thing for me. I like having a scheduled day with a solid time frame to get everything done in. But, I also have a 3 year old that has zero cares in the world about what my schedule says. We’re late to a doctor’s appointment? No skin off her hiney. We didn’t make it to the grocery store today? She only cares that she doesn’t have any fruit snacks. So, I’ve had to learn to take my schedule with a grain of salt now, which isn’t always easy for me. Sometimes kids, and life in general, just get in the way of what you had planned. All you can do is accept that and move forward. So now, instead of treating my daily schedule like the Holy Grail, I loosely map out what I would like to get done for the day or week. I try to stick to it as best as I can without allowing it to completely scatter my brains. I try to make sure I leave an extra couple of hours open through the week. That way, if we don’t make it to the grocery on Monday afternoon like I had planned, I’ve left a couple of hours open on Tuesday or Thursday to fit it in. And sometimes I just have to settle for a quick run to the Dollar General to hold us off. The prices and selection aren’t always my favorite, but boy; the convenience factor cannot be beat.
Encourage Some Time Management With Your Kiddos
Kids dawdle. There’s really nothing to be done about it. They’re curious and imaginative and sometimes I think they do it just because they know it grinds our gears on a busy day. But, it’s never too early or too late to teach them a bit of time management for themselves. For example, say your kid wants to go to the park today, but you also have to go by the bank, the post office and the grocery store. Take a moment to explain to them that there are some important things that have to be done today, but if they are cooperative and help you get them done quickly, then you may have time for a quick trip to the park before you head home. This helps put a bit of the responsibility on their shoulders so to speak. If they don’t drag their feet in the grocery or pitch a fit in the bank then there will be time to do what they want.
Remember That Some Days Just Suck
Nobody has a perfect life. Nobody is the perfect parent and nobody has the perfect kid. There will be bad days. There will be days where it does not matter what you do or say, your kid is crawling at the speed of molasses in wintertime and your patience is as thin as ice in July. It happens. All we can do is deal with it and move on. If you can, put something off for tomorrow, take a second to take a bath, or just simply walk away from the fit-pitching kid for just a second. It’s okay.
Patience with kids can be difficult for a monk, much less a mom who’s trying to work and clean and cook and go to the store and wash all the laundry and pick the kids up from school and make it to the bank and buy all the groceries so no one starves and on and on and on. Sometimes that lack of patience will wear you down. Sometimes you will beg for just a freaking minute of peace, or for them to please, for the love of all that is holy, just COME ON. Sometimes you will yell. Sometimes you will give a time out for something that really could’ve been talked through and you’ll feel like crap about it later. But trust me, patience can be learned. Take it from someone who knows. I’m just thankful that I have an understanding daughter and husband that are always willing to cut me a little slack when my virtues are lacking for the day. Although, all bets are still off if you’re walking at a snail’s pace in front of me at the grocery store. I still cannot deal with that.