Patience…it ain’t my virtue

I don’t know if it is a developmental phase or if I am just getting worse at being a mother as my kids and I get older. I end many days lately feeling washed over with guilt and then spend an hour taking a hot shower, breathing and stretching to relieve the tension. You’d think all the yoga would have a cumulative effect and make me so patient that nothing would ruffle my feathers. Oh, how I wish. And that will continue to be my goal, my daily intention. Yet, the truth is, yoga helps but has not taken away the utter frustration a 6-year-old child can bring on. I think by the end of a day with children it is the frustration that has the cumulative effect.

patience on empty

We had a lovely weekend day spent outside playing, having a picnic, swinging, and generally feeling happy with the  intermittent defiance, not listening and arguing peppering the day. Then we had a nice dinner at the beach.

I think I always anticipated parenting getting easier over time or maybe that has always been wishful thinking. Somewhere in my sleep-deprived state with young babies, I assumed anything could be handled with proper sleep; therefore, if my children grew up and I was getting sleep then all would be a breeze. Oh, naïve young parent. Now, as my daughter has entered the school system I have been slapped in the face with a fierce sting of reality. Parenting gets exponentially harder the older they get and no amount of sleep takes away the worry and exhaustion from the issues they bring home.

Whether she brings home an annoying phrase or bad word; sadness over a friend saying she and her friends would hurt her if she came to the other girl’s birthday party (yes, this was an issue recently that in the end was a misunderstanding); news of another child saying “I’ll kill you” on the playground (yep, another real thing that the boy was just spouting stuff and said he was sorry);  an announcement that she is “engaged” (to which her dad almost choked on his dinner)…the list goes on and on with issues ranging from those that are truly hurtful to others that require lessons she is far too young to fully understand.

Then there is the worry over how she will grow up and what will influence her. Will she stand firm on her own two feet? Will she allow her beauty to guide her or will others take advantage of her? Will she stand up for herself? Because her young stubborn self certainly seems to be pointing in that direction and if so, should I be careful not to stifle it?

Goodness, the list of questions goes on and on and there are no clear answers. We learn in the young baby stages to do what needs to be done for our kids even if they don’t like it and they take it, maybe while crying. But a baby forgets the discomfort the second after it ends. Not a young child though and thoughts of future arguments with my teenage daughter haunt me. If one day I am not as patient as I want to be and engage in nonsense arguments, will she end up hating me until the day she has her own child?

It is easier with my son, because he’s younger and I’ve been around this block one time before. I feel guilt over that, that it may seem he is loved more because he’s just easier. I read this blog post perfectly timed with the day’s particularly rough evening and when the author said that teachers and caregivers choose to work with ages they connect with best but parents don’t get to choose yet there are certainly ages and stages we prefer. And that is okay. I can honestly say toddler-hood is one of my favorite stages. They are so sweet, they love you so much, they may put up a fight or throw a tantrum but it is manageable; they are still small and ultimately they will do what you ask even if after a time-out. The sad truth is I think my daughter will always have it harder because she is the first child and everything she does is my first as a parent too. I will likely handle most situations with my son with greater ease by virtue of having experienced it or something similar to it before, and he will always be younger and the baby…I will always relish his youth because he is my last child. That is the sad truth. I don’t intend to put that pressure on my daughter; it’s just a fact of birth order. And she holds many benefits as the first child that I feel guilt for my son too. The guilt is always there.

So, after all of this complaining and not ending with an inspiring message about how thankful I am to have happy and healthy children, which I am of course, I will at least leave you with my action plan and how I cope with my lack of patience and the guilt that follows:

  • Do more yoga

do more yoga

  • Have your husband, partner, friend, etc. give you a good laugh at the parenting issues that sometimes weigh you down, laughter really is such good medicinelaughter
  • Relieve tension however you can: hot shower, glass of wine, writing, meditation, therapy, Xanax…whatever 😉
  • Eat Girl Scout cookies

cookies

  • Try better tomorrow
Click for photo credit

Click for photo credit

After a hot shower and some writing to end the above tense evening, I had a nice fire-side chat with my husband with a “couple” (wink wink Nancy) glasses of Pinot Noir . Our chat ended with my husband making me almost cry with laughter and we agreed that ultimately we just want our kids to be happy and good people. I’ll add to that list that they also won’t need ongoing therapy and one day will look back and have a “light bulb” moment either with:

a) my mom did a damn good job (preferred choice) 

or

b) this parenting shit is hard, my mom did pretty awesome, considering.

Then I read a good book and slept well which all helped me to wake up this morning to the new day ready to do better.

34 thoughts on “Patience…it ain’t my virtue

    • aww yes, of course. What do we mean by moderation? haha! In all seriousness, its all fun and games until about 9:45pm then it’s…”ok, back to the grind, gotta get to bed to wake up at 6am and start it all over again” 🙂

  1. Aww, girl, every mom since the dawn of time has felt this, I’m sure. I know I did. (Sometimes still do.)

    And your comments about birth order and the increased comfort with your son – totally, totally resonates with me. My daughter is also my first born, and is 3 yrs 5 mos older than her brother. I know I’m harder on her (to this day). I wonder if it’s also a gender thing, and us pushing harder with our girls because they are more in our own image?

    Drink your wine, do your yoga, laugh at the stuff that should be laughed at, and… pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You deserve it.
    xoxo

    • Thanks Nancy…yes, I definitely think there are some gender issues going on here too. It is pretty exhausting but writing about it really helps. And then realizing that she is growing…physically and emotionally right now (she’s been eating like a horse!…is that even an expression?) so it will hopefully pass soon and we’ll get another sweet phase. Maybe I just need a meditation class? haha

  2. First of all, a disclaimer – I am not a parent. Having said that, I know that my siblings and I turned out very differently to what my parents wanted. I, for one, certainly didn’t travel the nice linear path they had set up for me, and we all had trials and tribulations when we were in our teenage years (not that long ago!).

    The bottom line came from my grandad, who pointed out that, actually, we’re all ‘good’ people who care about others and have good intentions, but we are expressing it in different ways. Also, it’s a good thing when your children are exploring different ways of life, as it shows they can think for themselves.

    They’re good and they think for themselves, what more can you ask for?

    From my parents’ experience, and what they’ve told me about it, keeping the big picture in mind is a good way to go.

    P.S. and more yoga 😉

    • Yes, keeping the big picture is so very important and also so very hard to do in the daily grind raising children. i don’t have one specific expectation out of my kids, like I said, “happy and good” haha, but battling the trials of them figuring themselves out will certainly be challenging.
      My daughter is eating like a horse lately so must be growing both physically and emotionally. She’s also wanted me to sing her “our” song at bedtime and rub her hair again which is so nice and reconnecting us.
      And, more yoga starts this week!!
      xo

  3. Thin Mints DO have crack in them! I knew it.

    And yes, parenting is hard. At least, from my little over 2 years experience, that’s what I think. 🙂

    • That can be the only possible explanation right? Assuming the Tagalongs must have a double dose because those things are crazy!
      Parenting is so freakin’ hard. Luckily just when you think you’re going to crack, it eases up.

  4. So much of this brings back memories for me. I definitely felt worry and guilt about the way my daughter behaved at certain ages (and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, for sure!) but then I pretty much understood the pattern and didn’t feel so pressured with her younger brother. And now, with Samuel? Well he’s just an angel no matter what he does 😉 because I know ALL of his little behaviors are stages and if I respond correctly to them, he’ll grow up just fine. 🙂
    You’re doing just fine, Kerry. Motherhood is seriously tiresome at times. XO

    • Thanks so much Valerie, your comment means a lot. I love “he’s just an angel no matter what he does” about Samuel..haha! so sweet and so true. I feel the same in many ways about Ryder. It is funny how just when we think we are going to crack, it gets better. Either its that I “wrote it out”, thought about it, talked about it, talked to her about it, I don’t know..but she’s been better and while still a typical challenging 6 yr old, I feel I am working toward understanding her better and having moments understanding what the causes might be. Parenting is very tiresome, always worth it though and really keeps us on our toes!

  5. Patience is definitely the thing I have become better at since becoming a parent. There is still plenty of work to do though. This post is interestingly timed. I have a guest post on patience going up on someone else’s blog this weekend 🙂

    • This post WAS interestingly timed. Meredith of Perfection Pending posted something about patience today too 🙂 Must be something in the air. I have gained loads of patience that I never knew I was even capable of since becoming a parent, yet there is always more to be gained. Crazy! Enlightenment must be perfect patience. xo

      • I know. Which was kinda odd as that’s who I am guest posting for this week and she knows the topic is on patience. Not sure if that was deliberate or accidental. Anyway, I can make it work for me so it’s all good.

      • It is funny when that happens…can be frustrating too because you don’t want readers to get tired of one topic. I had already created today’s post last week and saw that Meredith posted a similar one a few days ago. Must be some similar ideas in the air. I immediately contacted her to let her know so she wouldn’t think it was a copycat situation. I am sure your post will be awesome and unique and I look forward to reading it!

  6. Ha! We ARE living parallel lives. I think that some things get easier as they get older, but the problems you have to deal with are just no longer black and white like when they are babies and have a poopy diaper, you know what to do. But, they aren’t feeling included at school…then what? Anyway, love that we share a brain. 😉

    • Me too. xo Yes, there are many freedoms that you get back as your kids get older and that is very liberating but the other gray areas are really challenging. I think writing will end up being my saving grace. It is a heavy load to bear when you don’t know the answer. Talking, writing, thinking, meditating, praying…whatever you need to do, your answers will eventually present themselves even if foggy, they are always there.

  7. I think we can be so incredibly hard on ourselves as parents. Nobody wants to be the neglectful horror story we read about but how likely really is that? We love our children, we work, we try our best. It’s never going to be perfect. I had such thoughts on how I would do things before my first was born. And then reality set in. A bit like the labour experience itself.
    There quite possibly is a gender issue too. An experiment was carried out with mothers in a room. A number of unknown toddlers were sent into the room, all girls. The women expected the wee ones to manage certain tasks and left them to it. A later group of children was sent in, this time boys. Or so the women thought. They were, in fact, little girls dressed as boys. Apparently, the women helped the boys with all the little tasks. When I first read it I thought it meant that women inadvertently favoured boys. But the summation was that women had lower expectations of boys and helped them out, thinking they wouldn’t manage on their own.
    Maybe we unconsciously expect more from our girls. I don’t know.
    I know I have relaxed more into parenthood as each of my seven arrived. The first was a total shock to my system. Daughter. The second, only a year later almost floored me. Son. The third one was a doddle and it seemed to get easier after that. No joking. I think I prioritised differently and just couldn’t sweat what I came to realise was ‘the small stuff’. It meant that I was firm with things that really mattered to me and didn’t worry so much about the stuff that initially seemed so important. My perceptions changed I suppose.
    There’s no taking away from the fact that it’s a tough, constant job. But maybe we make a rod for our own backs sometimes.
    So, in conclusion, the answer is……have another one! Three is definitely easier than two. Well, that was my experience. 😉 x

    • Ha! that sounds like someone getting tipsy saying “have another drink!” lol.
      I’m about 99.9% certain I am finished having kids but will likely get a puppy that maybe can act as the third kid. 🙂
      That experiment is fascinating! And it would be interesting if the results would be the same with complete role reversal. Would men favor the girls and expect more out of the boys?
      You amaze me having had 7 kids…you’re a goddess!! I take any parenting advice you dole out, you are likely the expert. Thank you…I am working so hard on not sweating the small stuff.

  8. Try better tomorrow – that’s my favorite one. 🙂 Saturday and Sunday were HORRID on the behavior front. Monday and Tuesday have been great. Gotta take the joy where we find it!

  9. I concur, chica! However, toddlerhood, not my favorite. I spent 7 years working with adolescents and that is my niche. However, after doing some reading and really sitting down to think about it, toddlerhood and adolescence and really the same beast. Just less autonomy and verbal acuity in the toddlers.

    I learned pretty darn quickly that I have to remember that I can start over every day.

    I pray that you are able to release all that guilt. A mother that worries as much as you do, is not doing anything wrong.

  10. Oh gosh. I identified with so much of this. I try to remind myself not to be so hard on my oldest. I never want her to think I love her brother more. Thanks for showing me I’m not the only one who struggles with this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s