It’s hard to have patience when little ones have colds, are crying, or screaming in the middle of the night. They could be throwing food, throwing toys, or just wondering what you just stepped in on their floor you just cleaned yesterday…The tiny stressors can all add up, and no I don’t mean my children. Stress can come in all sorts of forms and it can slowly grate away at your patience like cheese, or hack through like a buzz saw on a dead oak tree. You can take it for some time as if it’s your motherly badge of honor to endure! Then one day your kids are screaming at each other because they both want to sit next to dad at dinner and you lose it.
Now, ‘losing it’ looks different to everyone, maybe you screamed at the both of them to ‘I DON’T CARE WHO SITS NEXT TO DAD, JUST DO IT!” Or you slam down the dinner plates in a huff or drill daggers at your husband to ‘fix’ the issue (poor guy). Or, you are like me and stress shows up physically in knots in your back, headaches, fatigue. At some point, the well of patience we have for our kids, co-workers or family runs dry and before you know it you have a lot of apologizing to do. So what do we do when we get to that place?
Stop what you are doing and walk away. OK, obviously this is not the case if you are driving a vehicle. But you can find 2 minutes, just 2 to yourself somewhere. Now, I can already hear you hyperventilating and say it’s not possible, but oh mama it is.
Feet off the floor time
No matter if your child is 17 to 7 months, feet off the floor time was sent by Jesus. This is something I learned from volunteering at kids camps, there is a special time of day between activities where you have to spend an hour with your feet off the floor and in your rooms. You can nap, read a book, play a game but no matter what it had to be done in your room with your feet off the floor. What if they don’t want to? Practice. Start with 5 minutes, then 10, see where it goes. If they don’t want to listen take something away that they like until they get the message. Soon enough it will be a routine in the day and you will have some sanity for a few minutes.
What if you have little ones who just can’t handle life without you? They can live for 10 minutes in their cribs with some books and toys. If you need a fancy title, it’s called ‘independent play’. They will live for 10 minutes and so will you. What if they cry? If you know they have their bases covered (changed, fed, bottled/nursed) it’s likely for your attention. I repeat, they WILL LIVE for 10 minutes.
Now that you have your kids occupied for the moment, you need your own feet off the floor time.
Mini- mindfulness meditation/prayer
Now if this word freaks you out and you think I’m jumping ship from Christianity, relax. Just breathe. Take a few deep breaths, clear your head for a moment and let go of everything that is weighing you down.
Now that you have done that, give all that stresses and negative emotions to The One who can actually handle it. Give it to God, He can handle it. 1 John 5:14 says this: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Now that you have those minutes where you have your kids occupied and not near you (I promise they won’t die for 10 minutes), you need to remind yourself of a few things:
- You are going to be ok.
- Your kids are going to be ok.
- Your attitude is not determined by your Children’s behavior.
- Everybody- everyone has bad days. Don’t let that define who you are as a person.
- If you really blew it-ask for forgiveness. If you only kind of blew it, ask for forgiveness. Be honest and say you messed up, forgiveness heals everyone involved. Even if you have young children and they may not comprehend, do it anyway. “I’m sorry mommy got upset with you. Getting upset is not how we solve problems.” Make it a teaching moment and not a condemnation pile on yourself. Remember- tomorrow is a new day. Patience takes practice.