I wrote this post two years ago. I thought I would bring it back because patience is one of those life skills that I need to constantly work on as a mom. Our kids grown up and change yet we still need to find patience in new ways. Moms, you got this. One day at a time, right?
We complicate motherhood. We complicate life. Today let's chat about the top 5 tips to be a more patient mama. Motherhood has challenged my patience more than anything else in my life. If you are like me, I bet you have tried a million things to be more patient with yourself and with your kiddos. Whew, I have tried it all.
What I have realized is that it all comes down to basic life skills. It comes down to taking care of myself, simplifying life, and slowing the heck down. When I am a mess, my kids are a mess. They can sense stress. When I show my stress, they show their stress and little kids shouldn't be stressed at all.
My 4-year-old, Madilyn, recently got her ears pierced. We let her get it done right before her forth birthday. She begged us for weeks so we decided to go for it. The other day, I noticed that her one ear looked sore so I told her we needed to take her earring out, clean it, and put it back in. She flipped out. She was frightened. Brian, my husband, and I think that Madilyn thought she had to get her ears pierced again. To make a long story short, we have been having a daily battle with her to get her to sit still and clean her little ears. My patience has been challenged. I yelled. She yelled. She threw a fit. Mama threw a fit as well. It is so hard to see your child scared. It is so frustrating trying to reason with a 4-year-old.
Today, we made some progress. I changed my strategy. Instead of telling her what we were doing, I let her lead the way. I let her look in my jewelry box. She looked at all my earrings. She commented on all of them. How there are different. She asked which ones daddy got for me. I showed her my favorites. I showed her the earrings I wore when I married daddy. I told her that she has to be strong and let mommy and daddy take care of her ears so she can wear mommy's earrings someday soon. She perked up. She asked if she could put my earrings in my ears. I let her. I could feel the fear lifting a bit.
We are making progress.
Here are my top 5 tips to be a more patient mama:
1. Sleep More
I don't know about your kids but mine are a mess without enough sleep. Madilyn no longer naps so we have to be pretty diligent with her to get 12+ hours of night sleep. Us mamas are the same. We may not need 12 hours of sleep but I bet we would all be more patient with ourselves, our spouse and our kids if we got enough sleep every night. I am guessing most mamas don't even get 6 hours of sleep a night. I shoot for 7 and feel pretty good on that. Try to sleep 8 hours one night and see if you are more patient the next day. Report back.
2. Drink more water and get outside
People in our country are chronically dehydrated. I think it makes us mamas cranky. My advice is to invest in a Lifefactory water bottle, fill it with water, and take a drink every time you check your smart phone. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. Try it out one day. Report back. Oh, and get outside when you can. Living in Southwestern PA, Vitamin D is hard to come by. Get it when you can. Get outside. It is good for your mama soul. You might react like my one-year-old, sweet Juliana Rose.
3. React out of love
Our kids look to us as their example of how to act. If we freak out and fly off the handle, we are telling them it is OK to do the same. My behavior led Madilyn to be afraid of changing her earrings. This makes me so sad. It kills me that my reaction led her to fear something that is supposed to be fun. We are making progress. I have learned that I have to go slow with her. She is a sensitive one. Just like her mama.
4. Plan early
I have noticed that Sunday mornings have become stressful in our home. We try to sleep in a bit if the kiddos let us, make pancakes for breakfast, get dressed and get ready for church. It is a lot in a small period of time. I pretend we are going to 10 am mass instead of 10:30. It gets us there on time most Sundays. My patience is tested because we are almost always running late. My kids and husband seem to be moving in slow motion and it drives me insane. My challenge for you is to start earlier. Try to get breakfast planned the night before so things move a little smoother in the morning.
5. Remember you were once a kid too
If my mom screamed at me, I would be crushed. I really don't remember my mom screaming and my sisters and I. She was, and she still is, a very patient woman. I want to be like that. I want my girls to remember me as a patient, loving, fun and fair mama. Be the mama who you want your kids to love. Take a deep breath. Relax. Life is good and all will be OK.
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