Patience, even a dab of it, makes life easier. So where do I get some? Wouldn’t it be great if I could reach into a bag of tricks every morning and pull the Patient Card and BAM have the gift of patience be with me all day?
I recently volunteered to take on the task of creating a collage of all the 2nd graders for my daughter’s school yearbook. 75 faces needing to appear 2-3 times on one page.
I love taking pictures but projects that involve double sided tape and using scissors usually challenge my patience.
Knowing all this I gave myself lots of time. I set up a card table, also giving myself lots of space. Then I just dove in, one step at a time, only working on the collage in small intervals instead of all at once. Otherwise the tendency to rush, produce sloppy work and get really impatient is just far too easy.
That’s how it can be in parenting, right?
We feel overwhelmed, crowded, don’t have enough breathing room, want our children to cooperate, NOW, making the tendency to lose our patience just far too easy.
I have lost it 3 times in the last 24 hours, 5 times in the last week. I have yelled, yelled, yelled, yelled, yelled. Is it because my cup is empty? Or is it because I have no patience? Patience is a tricky thing. Something I admire in others. Something I have at times, something I deeply lack at other times.
I’ll laugh when a friend will say, You are so patient to let your kids cook in the kitchen with you. I can handle a mess in the kitchen, cracked egg shell in the batter, spilled milk…but give me a whinny child and you might as well push me to the edge of a cliff. Patience is not something in my possession when the kid gets whinny. Especially if it is not the first time that day. Then give me a project and I just want it done. Yesterday.
Even if I have taken care of myself, filled my cup and attended to my self-care for the day I can still lose it over whining or a detailed project. Oh, you bet I can.
Is it nurture or nature? Are some of us born with a more prominent “patient gene” than others? I marvel at some parents on the playground. “Damn, you’re good,” I say, when a mom ever so calmly asks her pleading, whining child to stop. “Oh, I’m not always like this”, they confess.
That’s it. Maybe that’s the trick. Who isn’t nicer to their children when others are around? Being more patient when others are around does come more naturally. I should just pretend I’m being watched.
NAH. Buzzer noise. I have lost it a plenty with my friends around, strangers lurking and family present.
The only thing that will work is practice. Practice some more. Give yourself plenty of time, lots of room and be gentle with yourself.
When I created the collage of 75 2nd graders, I didn’t say, You suck at projects, you are not an artist. I gave myself time and space, was gentle with myself and I ended up producing a worthy piece of art.
That’s what I need to do as mother and teacher of two very awesome kids, although on occasion whiny. I need to allow for time, space and gentleness. Then it will be just like reaching into a magical bag and pulling out the Patient Card every time.
by J.G. McGlothern