Patience is one of those words that when you’re told to have it, chances are you lose it. There are many situations that I have no issue with being patient for/in. I don’t get worked up standing on an endlessly long line in a grocery store. I have no problem waiting on hold during business calls. Running late to meet me? No problem.
I used to think I was a patient person… then I had kids.
As any parent knows, there are those moments when raising kids that drive you to the very last ounce of patience- and then beyond. I’m talking those epic crash-and-burn moments, when you encounter a scene that is so off the rails that all you can do is pause and internally ask yourself, “W….T…..F????”
You know. Stuff like this:
These are the moments that have really given me a run for my money in terms of trying to keep my cool, but there are also the smaller, every day moments that I challenge my patience.
Have you ever been running late, just as your child is putting on their shoes? Or, better yet, can’t even find them??
How about bedtime? It’s that point in the evening when you’re toast. It’s been a long day, and you’re utterly exhausted, and you just want to draw the evening to a close…. but THEY DON’T. This is the point in the day where kids -at least my kids- start wandering around the house, doing everything EXCEPT the things that move them toward bed.
Or those moments when your kids starts acting up, just a little more, in public, because they think they’re going to get away with it?
Patience obviously doesn’t apply solely to children; you don’t need to be a parent to remember those moments where an interaction with a high-maintenance adult left you feeling the same way: “W….T….F???”
Not losing my patience in moments like these has been one of my greatest challenges, but, it’s a powerful example to our kids.
Case in point: I tell my kids at least ten times a day to “be patient”. Kids often expect things do be done NOW, regardless of other people’s circumstances.
Here’s a pretty effective illustration, taken while I was on a phone call:
I reflected on the quality of patience because although I’m continuously encouraging (or admonishing) my children to have patience, have I been modeling what patience actually looks like?
I’m talking the talk, but am I walking the walk?
I’ve been making a concerted effort to be more patient with my kids as of late, and trust me- they give me oodles of opportunities to practice this effort…
..but it’s important. Because having patience is a discipline, especially in moments when we have every reason to not feel patient. I’m certainly not expecting my kids to hide their honest emotions, but I think that self-control in moments like those is a valuable quality.
It’s been a learning curve for me, but I find that I’ve been more successful in biting my tongue and not allowing those moments to get the best of me in reacting out of annoyance or anger. Kids are kids, and they can be messy. They can be slow. They can sing songs over and over again, until your ears feel like bleeding… but they’re kids that are still learning.
In the past, I’ve lost my patience because I’m tired of waiting- waiting for shoes to be tied, waiting for a child to find a coat, waiting for an important email, waiting for someone to apologize for a wrong. Sometimes the waiting is beyond my control, but how I deal with having to wait is what makes a difference.
I’m also learning to have patience with myself- not being so hard on myself when I fall short of my expectations, or when my life’s circumstances aren’t moving quickly enough into the place(s) I’d like them to be.
It’s not easy to be patient, especially when you have every reason not to, but the end result is worth it.
© Copyright 2016 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom