"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Patience: More in 2014

We have three young kids. They are six, four, and almost two. On occasion, and on some days more than others, they whine, demand, argue, refuse to eat their food, refuse to put on their shoes, insist that they put on their own shoes when they are developmentally unable to do so, make messes seemingly on purpose, refuse to clean up after themselves, insist upon hearing the same direction 17 times before following it, act selfishly, speak at an incredibly and unnecessarily high volume, behave in a way that is annoying to others, break into spontaneous and intense fits of crying, speak to each other in an unkind voice, play too roughly, sleep too little, and think that there is nothing on earth funnier than the word poop....except maybe the phrase "poop toot bum and penis."

In other words, they act their ages.

But, on occasion, and on some days more than others, I don't.

I forget that they are *just* six, four, and almost two. I lose patience. I rush them. I get frustrated when, in trying to master a skill, they put the left shoe on the right foot four times in a row (when we're really trying to get out of the house for school, like, Right Now). I repeat the same direction 17 times instead of making sure I have their attention before I say it the first time. I speak in an incredibly and unnecessarily high volume. And sometimes, I, too, break into spontaneous fits of crying.

And then, the storm passes and I look back on my Mommy Meltdown and I vow to do better. To speak to my children with love and kindness in my voice. To have more patience. 

But sometimes, before I can even feel that post-meltdown regret.....something happens that is way worse than any self-inflicted remorse....something like this...

It says, "To Max. News Report. From Evan. The Book of Mom"
On the inside: me, with fire coming out of my head. Max asked if those squiggles were "a hairy face." Thankfully, no. Unfortunately, Evan said, "No, that's Mom using her mad voice."

Luckily, Evan gave this to Max in front of me, and he showed it to me. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to use it as an opportunity to apologize for my meltdown; to tell them why I had felt frustrated but to explain that my behavior was unacceptable. Luckily, by the end of our conversation, we were all laughing and hugging. 

Unluckily.....I'll never forget that picture.

Lesson Learned:
Do better. Have more patience. Do better. Have more patience. Do better. Have more patience..............


  1. GREAT post. I felt like I was reading my autobiography! I always think to myself after the fact that I will handle to this situation differently next time, but then the next time comes and it is usually the same response. I think being a stay at home mom is very hard. Dealing with the monotony of the day ("routine" to them) and lack of adult conversation (I.e. Talking about and cleaning up poop amongst other things) makes for very very trying times on patience. Throw in health problems/ delays and you have a nervous breakdown in the making! Any behavior can be modified and changed...our brains do have the ability to do that. But, that requires practice and learning exercises to help change those behaviors. For me, by the time I get the day to a close and get to sit down, the last thing I want to do is think and "practice" anything. Quite the catch 22. I think being kind to ourselves can make a big difference. We are only human. Working with the elderly, I really see no difference in taking care of children (who don't listen, have to do all their self care, handle outbursts, feed them, change them and repeat yourself a dozen times) and taking care of patients with dementia. Both are 24/7 jobs that never end. Hopefully being a parent has a bit more joy to it, but both are physically and emotionally draining. Moral of the story--give yourself a break, be kind to yourself, and know that you are a great mom and have a loving home. And don't forget you are human. Frankly, I'm glad to know that I am not alone :)

  2. Ah, this was me today. And the other day. And last Tuesday as I was throwing Garrett's school bag down the front walk while wrestling with the damn door and holding the baby carrier and reminding Gavin that he needed to actually wear shoes to school! And I yelled. And I said the S word. And I took away tv and the ipad for two days.

    Thank goodness we aren't alone.

    Thank goodness for grace.