I will admit I’m not the worlds most patient mum. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to answer calmly and kindly to the exact same question 8 times. It get’s pretty boring saying the same sentences (which are ignored) day in, day out. You know, sentences like: “gentle” “hurry, let’s go!” “Stop that please” “no you can’t have ice-cream”.
Toddlers in particular do test our patience don’t they? They always need a wee 4 minutes into a journey even though they were absolutely adamant they didn’t need one when you left. They spend every (lovingly made) meal telling you what they don’t like. They hug baby siblings while laying on top of them or with their arms around their throat… Every time. They blatantly ignore you when you ask them a question. They say hurtful things and tell you that they like daddy best. They don’t want to leave the house but when it’s time to go home they never want to go home. They draw on walls. They want you to play with them from the minute they get up in the morning to the minute you bribe them into bed. Or is that just my day?
It’s hard… Soooo hard.
But I’m trying to be better. We all are right? And for me, if there’s one thing I want more of it’s patience. I’m certain the toddler can sense my impatience. I see the slight change in her face when I breathe an unnecessarily loud sigh or stick my bottom teeth out. I can feel her energy when I’ve raised my voice to get my own way and I know she gets confused when I leave the room as an alternative to flinging something across it.
When I do any of these things she feels unloved. I do not doubt it.
So, how do I plan to find more patience with those who test it daily?
By remembering my kids are not intentionally being annoying. They are children and behaving just as they should. They were not born with the sole aim of driving me crazy. A shocker I know. At least I don’t think they were anyway…
Scrapping all expectations will completely revolutionise my levels of patience. I have expectations of what time we should leave the house – and get home. I have expectations of what mood they will be in, what mood I will be in. I have expectations of what I – or we – will achieve in a day, what games we will play, how much house stuff I might get done (seriously, what a dreamer). It’s these expectations and many more which lead to my feeling impatient and irritated towards my kids. So from now on I will try to make only one expectation in a single day: to wake up, which is kind of vital to all those around me, but really the only thing I need to do. Anything else is a bonus.
Making myself a priority is something I still don’t do enough. When we spend a lot of time with our babies and toddlers I’m sure there’s some scientific evidence to support the fact that our brains go to mush. Being a horse, dog, shop-keeper, frog, queen, daddy, book reader, lunch cooker and referee every day can get a little repetitive. We love what we do but we also spend a lot of time feeling like we should love what we do. Instead of just saying: “I need a break”. Instead of taking some time away from the home and our families and doing something completely ‘selfish’ and fun.
Spending time with people who love me is invaluable when it comes to my levels of patience. When I’m happy outside of my family, when I’ve been around people who can really accept me, I feel like I have all the time and patience in the world. Let’s be honest when we are feeling impatient, tutting, sighing or rolling our eyes, we are already feeling pretty miserable. It wasn’t because of our kids, it was hormones, tiredness or just plain emptiness which comes out in irritation and impatience. We need to get what we need in order to feel happy and in turn feel less impatient.
Telling the truth comes up in virtually all of my blogs. It’s why I started this blog in the first place and if there’s one thing I’m not a fan of it’s denial. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. So I’ve pledged that when I’m impatient with the kids I’m going to stop feeling guilty the minute they are in bed and talk about my impatience that day to the hubby. Only then will I see the truth in my impatience, only then will I break free of any guilt and move on to a more patient tomorrow.
I will do better tomorrow is a philosophy which has really got me through the last 4 years. Some days I have the patience of a saint, but most days I really don’t. Let’s not feel guilty about how we were today, let’s just try and do better tomorrow. Wipe the slate clean, give ourselves a break and get off our own case.
As mums we have a tendency to look at how impatient we are but we aren’t really. We get up every day and take care of the people who test and push us. Having children gives us the opportunity to really develop our patience, it grows quite naturally without us even realising. We are already patient, even if at times it doesn’t feel like we are.
This is one of the longest blog posts I’ve written… If you’ve made it to the end, then you see you really are patient. Go you.