There are lots of reasons why we moms can lose our patience. If we try to become aware of why we lose it, we may be able to take preventative action, overcome impatience, and exercise more patience. So here are the top five reasons why most of us lose our patience, and five ways to build our patience.
Five reasons why we lose our patience
We quickly come to the end of our ropes when we have too much to do and too little energy with which to do it. Add to this the fact that kids seem to have a limitless amount of energy, and you’re already tired when you wake up in the morning.
Often we are irritated at someone else or about something that has little or nothing to do with the crisis of the moment. Unfortunately, our kids are the easiest, most accessible targets of this displaced anger, and it shows up in impatience with them.
We have an agenda that does not take into account the unpredictability of life in general and parenting in particular. Then when we get behind, the pressure pushes us to impatience with everyone around us, including our children.
Failure to plan
Many times our frustration and anger are of our own making because we fail to put in the extra effort it takes to prepare us, and our children, for the unique demands of the day. Remember: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
We assume it is us against them and that they are out to get us. We see those little charges as the enemy who has us under siege, almost as if they are purposely trying to annoy us, when instead they are really, most often, just children being children in all their imperfections.
To be passionate moms we each must really exercise and strengthen that patience muscle. It is a brick to build, and build it we must. So here are five simple ways to build patience and counteract those reasons why we lose our patience.
Five ways to build our patience
Do your best to rest up when the chance presents itself. Even if your kids don’t take naps, institute a quiet time in the afternoon.
Deal with your anger
Ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” If you can’t take care of it immediately, write down your course of action, and then set it aside until you can deal with it. Pray for a gentle spirit toward your kids, and ask forgiveness if needed.
Have realistic expectations
Once you have a reality check on your perfectly executed day, calculate how much time, energy, and money it will take to pull it off, and then triple it. Barring a flooded basement or an outbreak of chicken pox, you may come close to meeting your expectations at the end of the day.
Plan, plan, plan
As you anticipate what you need to prepare for the demands of the day, play “worst case scenario” and plan accordingly. Lists are incredibly helpful, and sticky notes rule! There is only one thing more time consuming than preparing for your day, and that is trying to repair a day gone astray!
Keep a wide-angle perspective
Remember: It is our job to love and train our children. Don’t take their goofiness and misbehaviour personally.
Staying Physically Healthy
Practicing healthy lifestyle habits will help keep you from getting sick and give you the energy you need to deal with your child’s special needs. Getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and sleeping properly are all part of caring for your own health. A poor diet can raise stress hormone levels and drain the body of essential nutrients, according to a February 2003 article published on the Psychology Today website. Not eating right can make you feel tired as well. If you aren’t getting enough sleep besides, you could find yourself losing patience with your child more quickly because you’re run-down and tired.
Staying Emotionally Healthy
Stress is another factor that can contribute to your losing your temper more easily. When you feel as if stress is getting you down, the Mayo Clinic recommends practicing relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body. Use your senses and mental images to take you to a relaxing place. Meditation, massage, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation are other techniques that help decrease stress. Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then consciously relaxing each muscle group starting with your toes. Gradually work your way up the body to your neck and head. Or, you can start at your head if you want and work your way down the body.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude can help you stay calm and show more patience. When your child is out of control, you can also help him calm down more quickly by remaining composed and relaxed. Get to know the signs that you are about to lose control. When your body tenses up and you begin to feel nervous, anxious or angry, you’re likely on your way to losing patience. As soon as you feel yourself becoming impatient with your child, put on a calm front even if you have to fake it. By acting calm and speaking calmly to your child, you may actually begin to feel calmer.
It’s important not to react emotionally to your child’s behaviour, points out Edgeascd.org, a professional networking community for educators. Like your child, you need to think before you act. It won’t help anything for you to lose your patience or argue with your child when she’s frustrated. Instead, show her that you care about her feelings and needs. Remember, she’s not trying to annoy you on purpose; it’s her disability affecting her behaviour. During trying times, focus on your child’s positive and unique qualities to help you keep the proper perspective.
Adapted from The Passionate Mom ©2013 by Susan B. Merrill. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.