A mother in the lotus position meditating while children jump and play around her.

The Art of Practicing Patience When You Basically Suck at It

Patience is a skill that I don’t have.

I think remaining patient in the eye of the storm that is mothering four young daughters is my Achilles’s heel, my absolute downfall, the fail that I can count on just about every single day.

11 years ago I was gearing up to take on the only job that I was ever sure I would be cut out for: parenthood. Never did it cross my mind that I would lack the calm and the patience that it would take to get through each and every day.

Of course I would remain steadfast and strong in the midst of epic toddler tantrums.

Without a doubt I could manage the tween emotions and meltdowns that would hit me upside my head out of nowhere.

Sass and outright defiance would be child’s play for me.

I was an amazingly patient mother … before I had kids.

Now I find myself boiling over with irritation when all four kids start shouting high pitched demands at me all at once.

Yes you can have a fork. Don’t I always give you one?

Please just accept this pink cup, I have no freaking clue where the blue one is. Did we ever even have a blue cup?

Who colored on the walls … again!

I breathe through my nose while I step away into the darkness of the bathroom or the laundry room, desperately grasping at any shred of calm that I can conjure up. Without fail I blow … Every. Single. Time.

I yell, grit my teeth, and teeter on the verge of tears as I threaten the girls with early bedtime and no IPad. Anything to make the chaos freeze for just a minute, because if I could halt the insanity that is my life I might be able to find that elusive patience. It’s frustrating, this constant feeling of emotional upheaval and parental stress, especially because I used to be a master at patience. Having worked in special education for years I assumed that parenting my own children would be nothing compared to what I did for a living, but of course I was wrong, misguided, and naïve.

Teaching special needs was a cake walk compared to this circus.

So moving into the New Year, creating patience and peace in my parenting is the goal. Without it I have about a zero percent chance of getting four girls through the teen years. So, if you are like me and patience doesn’t exactly come naturally, let me offer you some footnotes so that we can all make it through to the other side together.

 

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