October 8, 2013

Patience is Learned

Let's take a look at the definition of the word patient.

I wish that word described me.  As a wife, mother, friend, daughter, I wish I were less annoyed and more tolerable than I am. I wish I were one of those people who "rolled with the punches" who didn't get bent out of shape when things didn't go as I visioned them or as I'm used to them.  What's even more ironic?  Kendall is just like me.

She likes everything just so and if something is out of place {tangibly or otherwise} she fa-reaks out about it. And then I get frustrated, lose my patience when the reality of the situation is she is just mimicking what she sees.  What she knows.  Jimmy pointed this out to me recently, talk about an eye-opener.

It pains me to think that this is the example I am setting for my child{ren}.  I lose my temper so often {it seems} and so quickly and that is starting to rub off on my sweet, innocent, three year old and OMG is she turning into me?

One minute I am telling her, "Kendall you have to be patient." but my actions speak louder than words when I lose my cool over something {usually} trivial.  I make excuses for my behavior, "I'm the boss!" and I can justify my intolerance, "I just need to get x, y, z done!" but then I don't afford her the same.  I expect that she will be patient because she's three and all three-year-olds are patient, right?  I expect her to control her emotions.  I expect her to listen to me when I tell her to do something without keeping in mind that she is.just.three.

But what's my excuse?  I'm thirty and I do know better.  I do know what patience is and I do know how to control my emotions and yet I don't.  

Kendall's recently started playing with her dolls and ponies in the way in which they "interact" with each other.  I've overheard their "conversations" and I have heard her say things that I've said to her.  "NO, YOU'RE FRUSTRATING!" or "Why are you being so difficult?!"  Both phrases that I've uttered to her one too many times because I'm not taking the time to be patient with her.  Total slap in the face moment.

And then a few weekends ago I was with my group of friends and I heard my friend say something to her
daughter that I've said to Kendall many times. She was frustrated, as we all are when in the throes of toddlerhood, and she was trying to make a point, trying to get her daughter to understand what she was trying to teach her.  In that moment, I heard the words I had said so many times and all of the sudden it sounded so degrading.

"Don't be a baby!"

Funny how it takes hearing it from someone else to make you realize how awful you sound.

I've said this too many times to count because I get frustrated and impatient and I just want her to "get it".  The only thing she's "getting" in that moment is that I don't have enough patience to actually teach her a valuable lesson.  Instead of taking the time to explain to her x, y, or z I just lash out and say hurtful things.  It's heartbreaking.

She deserves more.

Part of this process is applying patience to all areas of my life but I'm starting with her.  She's impressionable, she's learning the behavior that I'm displaying and it's starting to show.  I have often thought about her acting this way or saying these things when she's at school or when I'm not around and then I think of the reactions that would generate.  That is not the image I want anyone, especially my sweet daughter, to have of me.

The good news is it's not too late.  Yes I've said things and acted unfavorably out of my lack of patience but it's not too late to turn things around.  If you have been struggling in this area it's not too late for you either.  We can take a deep breath, count to four, and calm, calm down. {Ni Hao, Kai Lan anyone?}


  1. Shannon, know that you are not alone! I remember those moments when my daughter was young. I was better by time I had my boys. Just know you can change it. And that you are human!!! We all lose our shit sometimes!

  2. Wow. this is particularly resonating for me. I do not have children yet but I can see myself turning into what you have described. I have been trying to work on my road rage (a symptom of impatience) but I really need to do more. I need to be more patient with my husband, with my parents, with myself. And I really should work on it now so that when I do have children who I'm sure will test my patience more than my husband, parents, etc. I'll be able to handle it and set a good example for them. Thank you for writing about this as I'm sure it's not easy to call yourself out like that. But it has definitely brought this goal of mine to the forefront of my attention and made me want to join you in your quest for patience!

  3. I am so impatient. I hate that about myself. Hang in there, none of us are perfect!

  4. Oh, how I can relate.

    Ethan recently started taking things I say to him, and saying them to Gabe or to the dogs.

    "GRRRRR!" he'll say, or, "You're FRUSTRATING me!" or, "Oh my GOSHHHHHHHH." Hahaha. It's NOT funny when it happens. It is a slap in the face, like you said, and of course, like you, I'm telling him that's not nice to say...but look at who he got it from. Sigh. :\

  5. Oh we are cut from the same cloth. Liv actually said, in frustration, "I'm f-ing sick of this," but didn't censor herself. Super proud moment. The days are long, but the years are short. Hang on Mama. Grandkids will be your rewards for not killing your own children. Totally worth it!


  6. I was nodding my head the whole time. Totally on the same page. I wish I was calm and patient... maybe if I was medicated. :)

  7. Hadley says things all the time and I wonder where she gets it from and my husband just looks at me with that look.

  8. Everything you wrote I have done. I told Carter to "stop acting like a baby" tonight right before supper. I have had my own 'high speed come aparts' this week and every time I tell myself after they are over that I need to calm the eff down.

  9. I literally could have written this post. Foster turned 2 in July and I feel like I am constantly losing my patience with him and expecting him to not be impatient. I see his actions and they make me insane, I hear him yell and I dont understand why this is his reaction but it is all him mimicking what we are doing. If only it were easier to set the example that I wish I could set. It is SO hard. I make a conscious effort but some days IT IS SO HARD!!!!!

  10. So awesome that you even recognize all of these things. That's more than a lot of people do. My cousin was telling me how her son says, "I'm sick of it!" Just broke my heart to think she says that to him enough that he now says it.

  11. This is a great post. Good for you. My friend actually just sent me something this morning about a Rose Kennedy quote- and this isn't exact but something like: What we do with and say to our children stays with them not for a month or a year, but for a lifetime.
    ITs a good reminder to think of what we say and do.

  12. I could not relate any more! Lately, Lexi has been playing imaginatively with her dolls & the hubs. She was just repeating things that I say to her and it broke my heart to hear it. I too am guilty of being impatient- one of my worst qualities! And speaking the first thing that pops into my head, which is the worst thing that could happen! I have been praying for guidance and restraint when it comes to this and it has gotten better but still needs improvement. This parenting gig is tough!