When it comes to parenting struggles, there is one that trumps all and it’s the one that we all have to work at, constantly, every single day, forever and ever.
And, it’s the most passionate response I get whenever I ask this question on my Facebook page: What are you struggling with the most right now as a parent.
Being a more patient parent.
There is no greater test of our patience than raising children. No matter their age, they have a way of pushing our buttons, challenging us and pushing us into new territory we’ve never been as human beings — or as parents.
Every day, it seems, we’re offered yet another chance to practice the Art of Patience by trying to be a patient parent.
And every day, we may or way may not succeed to our own satisfaction.
This can lead to mommy meltdowns.
This can lead to chaos in our family.
Patience, by its very definition, is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” (Source: Google Dictionary.)
I thought I would walk through each of those areas that we may be coming up against as parents in our days and talk about each one as a way to start a conversation around why it’s important to practice being a patient parent — and how.
Accepting or Tolerating Delay
Many of us live in a harried and hurried busy world that involves a lot of hurry up and wait. This translates to a lot of hurry up and rushing of our children, too.
We need to get out the door. We’re going to be late. I hate being late.
And yet, when it comes to our children, we want them to be patient themselves.
In our efforts to be Abundant Mamas, it’s easy to get caught up in the great rush of motherhood.
So much to do. Not enough hours to do it.
What we do now is cram as much as humanly possible into our day leaving no room for waiting, no room for mistakes, no room for patience. But, this has an adverse affect on our lives. We spend too much time doing and not enough time being, taking away valuable connection time where we can practice being in the moment with our children.
What we can do instead
We can scale way back on our own way of mothering so we can take great care to stop and breathe and handle moments of delay with love and compassion. When we do this we can even be early because we’re not so busy rushing and making more mistakes and having more angry outbursts. Slowing down and being more intentional with our time, words, energy and routines opens up a whole new world of savoring the beauty of motherhood, too.
Accepting or Tolerating Trouble
We don’t like trouble.
We like everything — every. single. thing. — to go our way.
Our way is the best way.
And so when our children challenge our way we arch our backs and get our claws, ready to fight because our way is best.
Except it’s not always. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
What we do now is try and fight and claw our way to controlling our environment — and our children — so everything will be perfect. Or close to perfect. All that controlling, though, leads to more power struggles and more fight or flight behavior by all — and more anger.
What we can do instead
We can embrace imperfection and accept that we have enough, do enough and are enough. When we can use patience-building tools to remind us that we’re all just human beings doing our best we can lighten up and start using these harder moments as teachable lessons rather than moments of impatience.
Accepting or Tolerating Suffering
At any given moment we can suffer as parents.
We can suffer in a moment of powerlessness. A moment of hurt and pain and heartbreak. A moment of loneliness. A moment of fear. A moment of letting go. A moment of trust.
Suffering is a part of parenthood as much as cleaning up messes and washing laundry.
What we do now is fall into the Land of Bitter and Sour. We feel isolated. We get irritable. We start to feel resentful and, well, bitter and sour. This can create a downward spiral that can last hours, days, weeks or even months — and may even feel like depression. It may lead to depression.
What we can do instead
We can start understanding that we absolutely control that nagging negative brain of ours and we can slowly change it over time. We can be happy. We can feel bliss as mothers. We can have goals and dreams — and tackle them, too — all once we snap out of our negative state-of-mind.
It is possible. It does take time. It is a journey and a practice and a lifestyle — all at once.
When it comes to patience — with ourselves, our life and our family — that is when the Abundant Mama Project 4-Week Online Program goes above and beyond to show you how to live another way. This is where the four weeks of diving into ALL THINGS ABUNDANT MAMA helps change your motherhood mindset and take you to a whole new level so you can find the beauty of motherhood.
Which one of these areas — delay, trouble or suffering — is the hardest for you to be patient around?