Patience is not my virtue. And that makes being a parent of small children really tough sometimes.
Part of my patience deficit is the irritability and anxiety that go along with the depression I am managing right now. Part of it is the utter lack of sleep I get because of Grace’s sleep issues. Part of it is just me.
I love my kids. They are wonderful, darling, kind human beings. (I feel it’s necessary to issue that disclaimer before I complain about them.)
However, my kids are not easy going in any way, shape, or form. And you know what that means:
Irritable, sleepy, patience-deprived mom + clingy, needy, high-maintence children = mama on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Man, do I wish I could be one of those moms who doesn’t lose their temper on a regular basis. And I wish my kids could occupy themselves long enough without fighting or whining for me to fold some laundry, do some dishes,
play on Facebook, send some important emails.
But they can’t. Not quite yet. So for now, if they are home and I really need a chunk of time to cook dinner, de-crumb the kitchen floor, or just, you know, breathe, on goes the TV.
GASP! It’s true! I let my kids watch TV for more than 20 minutes at a time!
Whatever works, people. We’re talking about my own sanity here.
But you know what? I think it’s going to get better. I really do.
Because something occurred to me the other day. No, not occurred to me. Hit me like the proverbial bolt of lightening.
WHY in the WORLD do we moms feel like we have to be good at every single stage of childhood?
When our little kids irritate us, we beat ourselves up over it. We think, shouldn’t we love them and all their “isms” when they are babies, toddlers, preschoolers? Shouldn’t we have endless patience for them because they are our precious little punkins, our flesh and blood, our babies?
I say NO.
Think about it: Some child caregivers adore babies, some go into early childhood education, some teach grade school. These people choose to work with the age they connect best with.
As parents, we don’t get to choose what age we want to work with.
So I think it’s unrealistic to think that just because a kid is our kid, we’re going to be naturals at parenting at every stage of their existence. We’re going to be great at some stages and not so great at others. We need to ease up on ourselves, people.
And since I am finding that my lack of patience is not easily conducive to being a good parent to young kids, I have been making changes. And they’re working. I am:
- Taking meds that help manage my irritability
- Seeing a therapist who gives me ideas on managing my kids
- Working out twice a week
- Not being a full-time SAHM: I work 2.5 days/week
- Getting a sitter 4 hours/week for me time and/or solo errand time
Maybe as my kids get older my patience will increase. Or maybe I will need to do most or all these things for the rest of my life with kids to be a more effective, happy mom.
Who knows. All I know is that things are getting better because of the things I’m doing. So I’m gonna keep doing them. And it’s really helping me to both ease up on myself and be a better mom.
Are you having a hard time with the parenting stage you are in? What are you trying to make it easier?