Hello dear readers! This week I am so truly thrilled to feature one of my favorite mama bloggers, the lovely Amy of discoveringwhimsy.com. Her blog is such a beautiful place to escape to while simultaneously being a refreshing dose of reality. I adore her writing and I know you will too. Make sure to subscribe to her blog and follow her on her social channels below so you can continue to enjoy her wonderful posts, ideas, and encouragements, then scroll down to read her fantastic post on parental patience!
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Parental Patience: How to keep from Losing It
My lovely great aunt always says patience is a virtue. I believe it is especially true when spending time with kids. Hats off to teachers since they are some of the most patient people out there. Kids will test and push your patience to the limits. Some days you have more patience and can deal with their testing with humor and teachable moments, a la Mary Poppins . And then there are the other days, the dreaded days, where you are not the parent you want to be. You have a lot less patience and you lose it. So on those rough days, what do you do to get back to the parent you want to be?
Over last few weeks, I have tried to be mindful on what made me feel better and what steps I took to avoid losing it. I also reached out to the community of awesome moms on Instagram to see what they do when they feel like they are losing it. Here are some of the things we do as parents to try to keep it together when our kids are pushing us to our limits. These were the top 3 responses from my informal Instagram poll.
Top 3 Tactics to Keep it Together
- Take a Mom Time Out! Many of the moms who responded said that stepping back and taking a break really helped. Some lock themselves in the bathroom, others go to the next room, but ultimately it is about giving yourself a bit of your own space to regain your composure.
My favorite quote from Jordan of Beautifully Imperfect Mama https://beautifullyimperfectmama.com/home/
â€œMost of the time when my toddler is losing it and I’m on the verge, I count to 4 for him and it tends to calm me down right along with him. If that doesn’t work I go into the bedroom and scream into a pillow then regain composure and go for round two 😂
- Breathing and Counting: The next most popular coping tactic was just breathing. Some moms use self-talk to remind themselves to breathe and others will count breaths.
Do what Daniel Tiger’s mom says and “when you’re feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four “, or ten or whatever you need.
- Fresh Air and Exercise. The third most popular tactic was to get outside and get some fresh air. I would agree that getting outside can really change your mood; usually for the better.
Here is a link to the Instagram post, if you would like to see what some of the moms I follow said, https://www.instagram.com/p/BVkqVb-ltla/ , check it out and feel free to add your own thoughts or tactics.
For me personally, I envision my patience like water in a well. There are some days my patience well is full, easily filled and I have bucket-loads of patience. Then there are other days I’m scrapping the bottom of the barrel for just a drop of patience. On days where my well is half full and the kids are pushing my buttons, I use the tactics the other moms listed above, but I also have some other things that really work for me.
Here are 4 things in addition to the list above that really help me refill my well.
Well Half-Full Tactics
- Perspective: I try to remind myself that there are 1,440 minutes in each day (Thank you Google for that fun fact). So even if we have a rough 20 minutes, I still have 1420 minutes to try and do better.
- Look at something relaxing: for me I love looking at stock photos, beautiful Instagram feeds or pictures of my kids, when they weren’t pushing my buttons, help me re-center.
- Coloring together is really relaxing and its fun for the kids. I have seen so many fun adult coloring books at craft stores, I finally broke down and bought one. I must say it is really is fun and I am enjoying it. Clearly for me, a creative outlet helps.
- Turn up the music: Music can be so soothing and a mood changer. Pick an upbeat song, turn it up and dance around! I dare you not to feel better!
Hard Days: where my well is close to being dry
But there are days, where my well is dry, very early on. These dry days are usually due to sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed with a messy house, plies of laundry, wanting to do something for me, but feeling like I can’t, or some combination of these things. These are the toughest and I feel the most guilt about these days. These are the days I’ve yelled and/or cried in front of the kids for something or another. Get out and Go
One thing that usually helps is to put everyone in the car and go somewhere. It doesn’t matter where we go, we just need to get out of the house and go! For me this helps because everyone is restrained in their own space. We will drive around, often we end up in the Starbucks drive thru and I get a chai. That first drink of spicy chai helps me escape for a second. After the chai, we go to a park if it’s not raining, if it is raining we go to Target or a bookstore wander around. People wonder why you see moms wandering around Target; sometimes you just have to get away.
Ask for HELP Another thing I’ve learned that helps to fill the dry well, I need to say when I need some help. I can’t expect my partner to read my mind to know when I need a break. After a really hard day or days, I ask my husband for more help. Sometimes instead of doing family time before bedtime, I might see if he can hold down the fort so I can have an hour or two just to myself. This helps so much and I can do whatever I want. This time is a chance for me to be just me and go to the bathroom without someone wanting to sit in my lap.
I hope these tactics help you think about what really helps you regain your patience. What fills my patience well, might not fill yours, so you will need to do a little reflection. Try to think about what you do when you are on the verge of losing it or when you lost it, how did you recover? Do you need a physical outlet to refill, a solitary or creative one? What does your partner do? Make sure you share these with each other. Write them down if it helps. If you have no idea, reach out to the community of parents you belong to like I did and see what they say. Parenting can be challenging even on our best days. Being mindful of what refills your patience well will help you get back on track on the half full or tough days of parenting.