You can’t deal with the attitude and tantrums any longer. It seems that each time you interact with your child, you feel like you are about to lose your mind. It’s becoming harder to keep your patience and you don’t want life to be like this. Here is your path to being a more patient mom.
Saturday started as a showdown. Me vs. my eight-year-old daughter.
“Hey,” I said as I got home from barre class and reached out to hug her.
“Ugmmm,” she greeted me as she pulled away.
My heart sinks every time she does it. But, then, I try to overcompensate.
Me: “Want to go somewhere today?”
Her: “Ya, dad said he would take us to Airtime when you’re at your meeting this afternoon.”
Guilt. My stomach twists. Dude, I’m allowed to have a life. But, I still feel guilty each time I schedule something away from my family. In times like this, I think my daughter knows it.
“No,” I reply… I feel the anger rising up in my throat but I try to keep a calm voice. “That’s too far of a drive, but we can go someplace closer.” I suggest KTR – which has trampolines and ninja warrior obstacles. She begrudgingly agrees.
As we pull into the parking lot, we see a line of people snaking out the door.
“Ugh…I don’t want to wait in this line. Let’s go home,” she says.
“BUT!! I want to go to KTR!!” my son whines.
I turn the car to go home. I’m at my limit. Between my daughter refusing to do anything and my sons screams, I’m going to break. My hands grip the steering wheel and I say nothing the entire drive home.
I couldn’t even identify what I was feeling at the time or why I felt it. All I knew was rage and that my kids had somehow pushed me to that point.
It took my husband coming home to rationally pinpoint my daughter’s behavior and call her on it before I chimed in, “Yes, this morning has been super frustrating. I’m frustrated.”
With that, my daughter burst into tears, stormed up to her room and slammed the door.
Maybe you’re like me and hold all your anger inside until you break or maybe you yell, whatever the case, we can all use a little help on becoming a more patient mom when all we see is red.
Taking time for ourselves is the biggest stress reliever. Most of time, we never give self care a high enough priority. We list all the tasks we need to get done, grocery shopping we need to do, school supplies that our kids run low on… but never do we simply relax.
I don’t know about you, but I think I forget what relaxation even feels like. When we are stressed, our patience disappears.
It’s quiet. All of our muscles loosen. Our tension disappears.
Some ways to relax are:
- Take a bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil (I use Young Living and Looove it!)
- Flip through a magazine (Get 2 weeks of free magazines here when you sign up for a free account)
- Catch up on “House of Cards” or “Suits”
- Read a book
- Go to a coffeeshop – by yourself
- Diffuse “Stress Away” oil in a diffuser and lay down on your bed
When is the last time you planned to relax?
Plan for down time
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? I am an introvert. According to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Hidden Power of Introverts,” people like us need a set amount of down time.
Not… would be nice to have or we wish… need. So much that if we don’t get our down time, we physically and mentally shut down.
That’s why after an afternoon of constant talking and questions from your kids, you feel like you’re ready to break. It’s because you are overstimulated and your brain craves that release from “being on.”
My husband is fully aware of his introvert status. I used to get mad at him for taking an hour by himself at our local coffeeshop each morning while I rushed from my job, to pick up our daughter from daycare, to home and make dinner. Now, I see how smart it was. He knew he needed an hour by himself to fully charge up for the day.
I now know when I hit my interaction limit and mindfully take time for myself. So, plan your down time;
Figure out your triggers
Do you ever have that experience where you’re blissfully calm and then suddenly a bottle of rage?
You, my dear, have been triggered.
Triggers are something that someone else says or does that starts a mental reaction within our own minds. Perhaps it reminded us of an event in our past or a mistaken belief that we have about ourselves.
And this all happens subconsciously, so we need to mentally backtrack to figure out the cause.
For example, with my daughter, her refusal to do anything made me rage. But honestly, it wasn’t just frustration that made me want to explode. It’s because of what I told myself when she did it.
Things ran through my head like:
- “I don’t spend enough time with her, that’s why she’s acting like this.”
- “She doesn’t like me. She’s going to grow up hating her mom”
Constant beating myself up. That’s what caused me to rage. It was my interpretation of the situation and not really my daughter’s attitude.
That’s why a child can treat two adults the same exact way and one will be perfectly calm while the other wants to scream. It’s all about our inner dialogue.
The trick to fixing this reaction is to catch it after it happened and change the dialogue.
Step-by-Step Journaling to become a more patient mom
One of my former psychologists taught me a journaling method. Each time I got mad and realized I had been triggered, I stopped and answered these questions.
- What happened? (My daughter refused to do anything I suggested)
- What did you tell yourself when it happened? (That I’m a bad mom. My daughter doesn’t like me. I don’t spend enough time with her.)
- How did that make you feel? (hurt, guilty, sad)
- What can you tell yourself instead? (She’s at an age where she’s having trouble with her own moods. She’s trying to figure out what she wants to do. She has no intention of hurting my feelings)
- How does this make you feel? (Understanding, sympathetic)
This isn’t a magic cure-all. You can’t do this once and become a more patient parent.
But, by doing this over and over again, you’ll start to catch your triggers in the moment. Instead of blindly reacting, you’ll find it easier to correct your self-talk in the moment instead of blowing up.
Being a more patient parent is far from easy. When I was a teacher, I could deal with kid’s insensitive behavior much more easily because I had no emotional stake in it. As a parent, not only are we dealing with our kids emotions, but we’re also dealing with our own. By practicing self-care, scheduling down time and identifying our triggers, we can more easily manage our emotions and become more patient parents.