One of the biggest ways I’ve failed as a mom is being impatient with my kids. I feel like I am always telling my son to “come on” and “hurry up.” I feel rushed in life and so I often rush my kids.
We are told that children learn what they live. I firmly believe that because I have witnessed my son saying and doing things just like I do.
Some behaviors are not the best and I am ashamed to realize and admit that he has learned them from me.
If I want my son to exhibit patience, empathy and respect towards others I must treat him with those same values.
Learning to be patient as a parent isn’t easy, but I am slowly implementing these strategies to help myself become more poised and tolerant.
1) Taking a Deep Breath
Recently my son was taking a long time accomplishing a task. I felt myself start to tell him to hurry up when something told me to take a deep breath. I took a breath and waited a couple seconds. My son finished the task and we were on to the next one.
Taking a deep breath made me pause and quickly refocus. It helped me gain control of myself when I wanted to say something I shouldn’t.
Since then, I have tried to be diligent about utilizing this strategy whenever my kids do or say something that makes me want to react in a way that isn’t the most positive.
I can’t say I have mastered this strategy yet, but I am still working on it!
2) Exercising Regularly
Before I had kids, I exercised consistently. It was not an option for me and was a way of relieving stress after teaching all day.
Now, I find it much harder to find the time to exercise. However, I know that when I do, I feel so much better physically and emotionally.
Exercise helps me relieve tension from juggling all the demands of being a wife, mother and teacher.
Since it is almost impossible to find time for exercise, I have made a more concentrated effort to make time for exercise.
Making time for exercise means something else will have to give in my life. But, if that means that I am more patient and calm with my family, it is worth it to me.
3) Taking Time for Me
Every day, I encounter lots of vehicles on the highways and streets I traverse. They have a very important job and carry precious cargo.
I also see many cars at the gas station. That’s because when they run out of fuel, they are no longer able to perform the duties they need to do.
They must be refueled in order to get back on the road and carry out the needful task of transportation.
As a mother, I have the important job of carrying the load of my children, spouse, household and career.
Just like a vehicle, I will run out of fuel if I don’t take the time to fill up my tank.
Refueling looks different for each person. What may refuel me may not refuel you. Each person has to find what that is and then make it a priority.
For me, it is exercise, reading, being alone and traveling. Just getting away from all the demands for a while does a lot in helping me recharge and have renewed energy to get back on the road of motherhood.
What recharges you? Make sure you take time to do it as often as needed in order to stay energized. It will do wonders in helping you be a more patient mother.
4) Listening to My Kids
One of my distinct memories of childhood is having something very important to tell my parents or teachers only to be told that they didn’t have time to listen right then.
I remember feeling so disappointed and not valued. While I knew grown-ups had responsibilities, in my young mind, they weren’t as important as what I needed to tell them at the moment.
Now that I am on the other side of the fence, I understand why adults said that to me. I really do have so many things to get done and it is hard to find the time to accomplish it all.
I have caught myself telling my own kids “I don’t have time right now.” Then I feel a prick of guilt remembering that my kids won’t be young very long.
The song “Cats in the Cradle” is a stern reminder of just how brief a time we have to interact with our kids before they are grown up with responsibilities of their own.
Lately, I have been trying to take the time to listen to what my children have to say. It means the world to them to have their mother listen to their thoughts and feelings.
When I take the time to listen, it shows that I value them and their perspective.
Taking time to listen will probably mean that I won’t get everything accomplished. But, what is more important in the long run? Listening to my children now while they are young and want to talk to me or crossing off everything on my to do list today?
Listening to my children bonds us in a way that will last a lifetime. It also helps me understand them better which goes a long way in helping me have more patience with them.
5) Practicing Wait Time
If you’ve never heard of wait time, it is something experienced, successful teachers use in their classrooms on a daily basis.
After calling on a student to answer a question or solve a problem, the teacher gives the child several seconds to respond.
This allows the student time to process the question, think about it and ultimately answer it
While it is very reasonable, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To wait as long as it may take for a student to answer means there will be an awkward period of silence. A period when the teacher, or other students, will be tempted to say something to end the quiet.
After teaching for many years, I still have difficulty waiting sometimes. But if I help a student or tell them the answer before they have a chance to, then they are missing the opportunity to solve it on their own.
The same applies to my own children. I don’t know how many times, I will ask them to do something and then not give them time to comply.
I also have to fight the urge to jump in and rescue them when they are struggling to do a task that I know they can master if they keep trying.
It is no surprise that I have difficulty with this because wait time requires patience.
And that is something I struggle with every day.
I have started counting in my head while waiting to make sure that I give my children the time they need to complete a task or answer my question.
I will eventually intervene if I feel like they aren’t able to accomplish the task or answer me after an extended time of waiting.
Out of all the strategies I am trying, this one is probably the one that has boosted my patience the most. Waiting requires patience and therefore I have no choice but to be patient.
If At First I Don’t Succeed…
I will try, try again! I will continue to implement these strategies for as long as it takes to become more patient as a mother.
More than likely I will be using these methods forever because patience is something that we as humans constantly have to practice.
How about you? Have you failed as a mom? Do you feel like you need more patience? If so, try:
- Taking a deep breath
- Exercising regularly
- Taking time for you
- Listening to your kids
- Practicing wait time
If there are other strategies you have used to improve your level of patience, please share them. I would love to know anything else I could try.
Most of all remember that if you don’t succeed at first with becoming more patient as a parent, just keep trying! You will get there!