7 Ways to be a More Patient Parent
BY CHRISTINA LOEWEN
I remember the exact day when I realized I needed to find a way to be more patient. My daughter was almost two and was going through a phase where she wanted to be held all the time. I went into the kitchen to try to get the dishes done and she followed me crying then clung to my leg screaming because I wasn’t holding her. I felt my anger boiling up and I was unable to push it down. I yelled, which made things worse, and ended up sinking to my kitchen floor in tears feeling completely overwhelmed by guilt.After, I picked myself up and
held my daughter tight.
How could something so small cause me to completely freak out? It was just the dishes, was it really worth me yelling over? I could have simply done it another time. My daughter needed me a lot during that time in her life and that shouldn’t have caused me to feel as angry as I did.
I have never been a patient person and becoming a mother was a challenge for me for this reason. There was a period in my life where I felt like I was constantly having to stop myself from yelling and getting angry because my toddler was… well, she was being a toddler. I felt uptight all the time which made me unhappy and I became the mother I never wanted to be.
When I pictured myself as a mother, I pictured a loving and caring person who handled everything with grace and calmness. Instead, I was the mom who couldn’t handle the mess of parenthood and was spiralling out of control. I constantly said things like, “my kid is so difficult” and “she doesn’t let me do anything”. I blamed parenthood for my constant anger, thinking that it was just the way it was when you had a child. However, it was just me who needed to adjust. Here is how I learned to chill the heck out and become a more patient mother:
1. Adjust your Expectations
I am a list maker. Before, I would make a list of everything that needed to be done that day and spend the day trying to get those things done. I felt like I had to do it all and got incredibly overwhelmed when my daughter would prevent me from doing so.
You need to adjust your expectations when it comes to chores/errands. With a young child, you are unlikely to be able to get these things done so instead of saying, “I have to get this done today.” say, “I’m going to try to get this done today”. Remember your priority should be your kids. If they won’t let you accomplish the small tasks then that’s okay! Try again later. When you expect more than you are capable of you tend to get really stressed out.
2. Time Management
Developing better time management skills was a game changer for me. Kids take a very long time to get ready so if you don’t allow enough time for everyone to get ready you’ll end up rushing and stressing everyone out. My toddler wants to do everything herself which means I need to get her started before we are in a rush. Being in a hurry and running late all the time made me feel constantly stressed out which would cause me to become impatient with my very slow moving toddler. It makes a huge difference to allow enough time for getting ready and activities so you aren’t always in a rush.
3. Basic Human Needs
I think everyone loses their cool when they are sleep deprived or hungry. By taking care of yourself physically, you are also taking care of yourself mentally. Do your best to get enough rest and eat well! I personally haven’t slept well since my second daughter was born 6 months ago but I make sure that on days where I am running on very little sleep, I am eating nutrient rich foods and resting when I can.
I know that it can be so easy to let ourselves fall into bad health habits. However, if you are seeking to be a more patient and happier person, than you need to take your health seriously.
4. Understand Your Child
Odds are, your kid isn’t purposely trying to make you explode. They have no idea how to express their emotions right now and are trying to communicate. If you stop and listen to them you’ll get a much better understanding of what is going on inside their little heads. Your child is learning patience and self-control so in order for them to learn, they need to see you practice this. The things that make them explode may seem so silly to you but, to them, they are a very big deal so before you react take a moment to see the situation from their perspective. This will help you react to them in a more constructive way.
5. Look at the Big Picture
We can get so lost in the moment sometimes and it can cause small things to feel huge. When everything is going south and you feel yourself slipping take a step back from the moment to look at the big picture and breathe. When I step back and think of the big picture I often laugh to myself. The things I’m angry and stressed out about are often quite funny if I’m looking at it from the outside. Don’t get so lost in the little details of your day that you forget to see the beauty of parenthood. Remember that this chapter of your life will soon be in the past and you will miss the days when your kids were tiny, wild, irrational, little humans.
6. Find Your Happy Place
I make a point each day to do something that makes both the kids and myself happy. What are you happy doing? I am happiest when I am outside exploring with my kids. If our day is going downhill then I’ll stop what we are doing, pack up, and go outside with the kids. Doing what makes us happy turns our moods around and brings us to a place where we feel connected to each other again.
It’s also very important to practice self care throughout the day. I don’t usually have much time to myself but when the kids are occupied or sleeping I do a quick meditation to get myself back to a calmer state of mind.
7. Slow Down and be Present
Take it one moment at a time. I am a multi-tasker and while this is good for getting stuff done, it is not so good for my patience. I’ve had to learn to only tackle one thing at a time because if I take on too much at once I have a tendency to snap if my kids start acting up. I was surprised to find that once I learned to slow down and be there in the moment, I still had enough time to get what I needed to done.
Instead of trying to frantically do a bunch of stuff at once, try slowly working through your to-do list while keeping in mind that you may not be able to get it done at that moment. If your child needs all of your attention than that’s okay!
Patience is something that I have to continue to practice each day. I am far from perfect and do still have my moments but overall we are happier and life as a mother doesn’t feel “heavy” like it did before. I am able to be the parent my children need me to be. Always remember to go easy on yourself. We are trying our best and are only human after all.
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