Patience as a parent is a topic that has been really, really heavy on my mind. The lack of patience when parenting can have such a negative impact on children. It can make them feel they are being a bother. It can make them feel they have to shrink. It's the same feelings that you would have if the person that's supposed to love you unconditionally is easily irritated by things that you do. I can imagine that days and days and months and months of being in that kind of relationship (because after all that's exactly what we have with our children, a relationship, a parent/child relationship but still a relationship) can change the path of the kind of person you become, the kind of relationship you have with others.
As a parent, I know that we're constantly multi-tasking. In my own life, my work involves supporting, teaching and coaching others. In parenting, I'm mothering four kids, all in various grades, while also having a relationship with my partner, with my friendships, and also having a relationship with myself, filling my own vessel.
I know that some of you also work outside of the home (or remotely) and you're using your brain in a completely different way than you do at home. You're having discussions and working on tasks that are different than the ones you do as a parent. You come home at the end of a work day, and this includes remote work too, and now you're supposed to turn into parent-mode and turn off the day that just finished and move into what I call "second shift". And if you're a stay-at-home parent, your day might look different than the parent that works for someone else, but in many ways, it's harder, as your brain in on parent-mode nonstop.
And then we're supposed to also be very patient. Great.
So, it's been on my mind, thinking of positive ways and mindful ways to be aware of the importance of patience. Because sure, it's easy to just say "be patient". But, we know that it goes out the window the moment you feel you're on your last fuse.
Instead, here are three ways to use consciousnesses, mindfulness and awareness when it comes to patience.
Set Your Intention for Being Patient
When you wake up for the day, set your intentions. Remind yourself of what you're grateful about, remind yourself of who you love and who loves you, determine what you want to accomplish today, and how you will accomplish it. Set the intention for patience with this affirmation (that you can change as you need to for your parenting each day):
"Today, I am patient. I'm patient when my kids ask me questions at the end of a long day, I'm patient when my child is upset. I'm patient and calm with my child. Today I breath through my uncomfortable feelings and I am a patient parent."
I've written before about the power of setting intentions. We are what we strive to be. Setting intentions is a powerful way to begin the day.
Take a moment in between daily transitions to be in the moment.
With each shift (change, transition) that you make throughout the day, take a moment to do breathe work and place yourself in the moment. A lot of times, the lack of patience we experience has to do with having our mind in the previous work we just did or the person we were just with or in the future (the things we still need to accomplish that day), instead of truly being in the now and in the moment we are experiencing.
What would happen if we were in the moment?
Be mindful that the moment you are in is all that matters. Put your phone away, remind yourself that the things you have to do or the people you have to respond to can wait. While at times we feel that we must put our mind into what we're doing next or what we just finished doing, the truth is that it all can wait. Make a mental note that it's on your "back log" and you'll put your mind into it once you leave the moment you're in right now.
Remind Yourself of Your Purpose as a Parent
Big one. What is your purpose as a parent? Many. And for some, it may be different than this, but as parents we want to raise children that are kind, empathetic, understanding, secure, confident, capable of good communication skills and the ability of having healthy relationships in their lives.
How do we accomplish that? By being that. By showing them that.
Of course we aren't going to be perfect and that's good! Because part of having relationships is that sometimes they don't go so well. We need to be able to navigate that in a healthy well. When we mess up, we get to show our kids, "Here is how we navigate this in a healthy way". Here's what we do when things don't go well and I mess up or you mess up. Here's how we use kindness, empathy, understanding, communication to navigate our relationship to move forward. Because part of learning how to have healthy relationships is by showing them how to navigate when things don't go well, when the relationship is having a hard time.
Remind yourself, "My children watch me. They will repeat the good and the bad and I am serving a purpose by being mindful of that."
I hope these help you in your parenting journey. I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to send me an email and let me know how you practice patience in parenting.
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