Some days I lose patience with just about everything. Most often it doesn’t bother me when I lose my patience but it does bother me when I lose it with my kids. I work very hard to not lose it with them when I can feel the breaking point coming. Usually it’s near the end of my custody stretch with them. The 5:30AM waking up for the day, the 3:30AM snuggles, the potty accidents, the temper tantrums, the snot – oh the snot and last but not least the fighting; all of it starts to wear thin on me and I start to feel out of control. The thing about this is that it might be easier if I wasn’t a single parent however I am and I choose that. I don’t think that I wouldn’t lose my patience if my situation were different – it would just be different things that I might be impatient with. Things that I’ve learnt to let go of now as there just isn’t enough time in every day to focus and be present for the girls and get everything else done.
I feel sad when I lose it with my girls. It makes my heart hurt. I know I’m not the only one who has lost their patience with their kids but I also know that I can control losing it a lot easier than they can control the fact that they are just kids. They are learning new things every day and their little brains are just trying to comprehend everything and make good use of things they’ve learnt.
Looking back on times when I’ve lost my patience with them – I’ve learnt a few things:
1. Give them 5 extra minutes – I often say you have 5 minutes before bed and most of the time I actually give her 10 minutes because I know that what my 4-year-old starts at 5 minutes in order to prepare for bed will often take her a bit longer. They have no concept of how long 5 minutes is when they are little. Lots of times I need the extra 5 minutes to get my mind back into a new mindset before dealing with the infamous bedtime routine.
2. Cherish bedtime – It’s easy to want to shorten this routine and get a little impatient with everything knowing that the solace you need to re-energize is in sight. Our routine often looks like this: convince 4-year-old to go to washroom once more even though she doesn’t have to go, wash hands with both kinds of soap, convince said 4-year-old to brush her teeth because the dentist said so, she climbs into bed, forgets to pick stories, out of bed to pick stories, choose stories while convincing me to read at least 3, wants fresh water, has a sudden urge to use the bathroom, realizes we’re missing stuffies, mom searches house for missing stuffies while 4-year-old realizes that she hasn’t put every Barbie, doll or stuffie to bed for the night, put everyone to bed for the night, climb back into bed, get everyone situated perfectly in bed, read at least 2 stories, have snuggles, back rub and finally some Eskimo kisses, followed by butterfly kisses and then a big kiss and a hug. “Good night – I love you mommy – see you in the morning!” This is the point right here where the guilt kicks in about having been short with the girls. This is where I realize that they will not have deep belly giggles forever from butterfly kisses and they most certainly will not ask me for cuddles forever. We all know how it feels to get everything accomplished before we kick back for the night, this is the same for kids, their routine is the same as us when we pick up toys, fold blankets and tidy up before bed. Everything has its place and when it’s all done – we breath and then we pass out for the night.
3. Say Good Morning everyday – I love when my girls wake up for the day (debatable at 5:30AM on Saturday morning). I love giving them a big hug and asking if they had a good sleep. My 4-year-old comes out of her run running every time. I hear her little door knob click open and I put everything down that I’m doing knowing that she’s going to run straight into my arms to say “Good Morning Mommy”. This. Is. The. Best. Thing. Of. Every. Day.! Mornings are often chaos but I ALWAYS make time to hug both my girls every morning and sit for a few minutes if that’s what they are needing. I believe it’s important for them to wake up and face the day with their little buckets full for the day. So no matter how rushed we are, there is always time for good morning in our house.
4. A cookie for breakfast will not kill them – In the rush of things some days I don’t get my timing perfect. My 2-year-old has zero to no patience to wait for anything and I mean ANYTHING! I’m guilty – I’ve let her have a cookie for breakfast while I got her toast or pancake ready. I’m certain she will not suffer from doing this and I’m also certain that if I can save a 6:30AM temper tantrum than her day and my day will be better.
One thing I need to remind myself on a daily basis is that I am doing my best. Sometimes I think I run out of steam trying to make everything perfect and that’s when I lose it. I feel like I’m not doing a good enough job and that’s when I get short and frustrated. One thing that stands out for me in this is that as long as I’m giving my 100% on that day than I’m doing my best. That 100% is different everyday based on what’s going on in my life. Some days I’m a super woman and other days I’m just hanging on but if I can make sure that I’m giving all I’ve got in me for the day than I can rest my head at night knowing that.