Three months ago, I feel like I was the most impatient mom on the planet. I was living in a sea of “I don’t have time for this right now!” and “please hurry up!” Then, a day came when I had enough and decided to take control, make some changes and change our family dynamic for the better. The changes I’ve made have lead us on a path that is abundant with patience and I’m happy to report that the words “Hurry up!” seldom come out of my mouth.
I Stopped Taking on Too Much
There is one common denominator on those days when I am ready to snap at the kids – I am stressed, and have too much to do. Staying on top of the things that need to be finished and knowing when you need to say “no” is essential for having more patience. You need to learn when enough is enough. Being present, one hundred percent, is easier when you’re on track and not fretting about the 940 things that you have to finish later. Stop taking on too much, learn to say no.
Speaking of stress, I learned to identify what stressors caused impatient behavior. For me, it’s a lack of control over surroundings (AKA the house being a disaster). I enlisted more help from Jamie and made sure I gave myself time daily to clean and organize before it got to me.
I Learned to Live in the Moment (and appreciate the moment)
Okay, I’ve always liked my kids – of course, but when it comes to becoming a more patient parent you have to be interested, really interested, in what they are saying and learning about. Being halfway present, with my mind on other things, it was easy to play along with an uh-huh here or there but being interested and really liking your kid in every moment can completely change your patience level.
Learning to appreciate these moments? That just drives the fact home.
I Got Organized
We’ve spent the last month decluttering. I’ve donated ten bags of the kids clothes, toys and other things that we’ve had lying around the house. We’ve made the decision to live simpler, get rid of the things that aren’t being used regularly and it’s made it exponentially easier to clean up while we’re inside (sanity saving during the winter months). Make sure that everything has its place and if you haven’t used it in three months (store it or donate it). I still have a ways to go with the organization (next up cupboards) but it’s been a fantastic learning experience.
Tip: organize things into small bins available from Home Depot. For $.99, the shoebox sized bins are great for themed art supplies, play doh accessories, small puppets, spices and more.
I Get Up Two Hours Earlier than the Kids
Getting up two hours before the kids gives me a chance to reflect on what I have to do that day, plan activities for the kids and get two cups of tea in before I hear the excited running from one room to the other to wake up her sister. I answer emails, make sure the house is clean and organized, start a load of laundry and get the chance to catch up on PVRd television while making lunches and enjoying the silence.
I Ditched the Birth Control
Well, the hormonal kind. Hormonal birth control made me capitol-c Crazy. A blood clot scare became a blessing in disguise when I ditched the birth control patch, Ortho Evra – and a couple of months later there were some life-changing changes in my mood. I was less irritated and a more capable parent. I am not saying this worked for everyone, but around here, there was a complete 360 in mood when the hormonal birth control was nixed.
I Set an Example
On those days when I am frustrated and irritated, the kids are too. Learning to see how they are mirroring your behavior can be quite an eye-opener as a parent. Determined to have more patience, I decided that I needed to set an example for the kids to create patient children – and you know what? It’s working.