Life can be overwhelming. The cat has peed on the coats. The washing machine drain has backed up and there's water coming up under the carpet in the playroom. Someone pooped in his big boy underpants. I forgot to plan dinner. The kids are unending in their questions, some of which have been asked a dozen times or more already, or are completely useless in nature. Someone got gum in her hair. The kids have been using the living room couch as a receptacle for snack trash. No one seems to want to take their dishes to the sink and I end up feeling more like a maid than a mom. I could go on and on. Actually, I think I just did.
Dealing with the wants and needs of a husband, six kids, two cats, and a house is enough to push a girl over the edge. But I have to find the patience. Not I want to find the patience. I have to. If I don't find it, no one else will. And as I go, so goes the rest of the family. If I lash out at Reagan (12) for something I'm frustrated about, he will in turn lash out at a younger sibling, and so it goes.
This is not always something I'm good at. I'm human. I promise that I never sit here on this side of the computer thinking I have all the answers and that I will impart them benevolently to all six of you who read this blog. (Hi, Mom!) Sometimes in a post like this, I am, myself, working through an issue that I'm struggling with. As Ciaran (4) kicked the door for the umpteenth time yesterday and then proceeded to throw a toy when I told him to stop, believe me, I struggle to find the patience that will allow me to truly change his behavior in a loving and gentle way.
But there are a few things that do work for me:
- Internal dialog. Sometimes just taking a moment to remind myself to be patient is enough to calm the monster in me who wants to drop down on the floor and throw a temper tantrum. And it's helpful to have the rational side of me validate the feelings of frustration, even if I can't give in to them.
- Knitting. It's not for everybody, but sometimes busying my hands calms my brain, and I can breathe and think straight again.
- Contact. This can be hard for the many touched-out moms like me. But a hug from the kids, especially the one I'm the most frustrated with at that moment, can remind me of the thousand reasons I love them, and help me see a rational way to deal with the issue.
- Prayer. Calling on the Power higher than myself and drawing on His strength to see me through my own human failings is more powerful than I can explain.
- Laughter. I have some blogs and friends that always make me laugh, and kids too. It's hard to be angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed while laughing.
How do you stay patient in the face of all that is expected of you? Anyone have any other good advice for me?