Confession: patience has never been one of my virtues.
I'm big on quickness and efficiency. I'm an organizer, a planner, and a multi-tasker so that I can make the most of my time every day. I don't like to diddle-daddle. There are days when I measure my success by the number of "to-do" items I've accomplished. It's not one of my proudest personality traits, but I can't help it. As much as every inspirational infographic on the internet tells me that I need to slow down and just live in the moment, its against my grain. Both of my parents are type-A people who never stop going, moving, and doing, and I've definitely taken after them. And this has been one of my biggest challenges in parenting. Especially parenting a toddler.
Anyone who has ever spent a few hours with a toddler knows that there is NOTHING quick or efficient that happens in their presence. Parenting a toddler takes patience. A lot of patience. For example...
And then of course, there are the times that my toddler purposefully throws her plate of food on the floor because she doesn't like what's for dinner. And times when she pees her pants in defiance. And the list goes on. The point is, my patience is tested on a daily basis. I'm trying hard to be an intentional parent and recognize areas that I need improvement in, and patience is definitely one of them. From various parenting books, advice from friends, and my own trials, I've been learning some strategies that help me stay grounded during the times when I lose my patience with Avery. Here they are...
I Breathe. Ah, the miracle of deep breathing. Taking a good long breath or two before reacting seems to help me avoid an explosion of anger/frustration and focus more on how I can turn the situation into a teaching moment (both for Avery and myself).
I remind myself of her age. She is only two. She is not a mini adult. Her frontal lobe is far from developed and there is no way I can expect her executive functioning skills to be on par with mine. Sure, she experiments with pushing my limits at times, but this is an age-appropriate thing that all toddlers to in order to establish boundaries and as sense of themselves and their personalities. By reminding myself of her age, I really try to be realistic in my expectations of her.
I allow extra time for everything. I know that a trigger for both of us is anytime we have to rush somewhere. It's frustrating to both of us when I'm trying to rush us out the door and Avery is just trying to finish her tea party or needs one more snack or whatever. So, anytime we have to be somewhere at a certain hour, I start getting us ready to go way in advance. I give us at least 20 minutes of wiggle room. Its SO much less stressful when we are not rushed that its definitely worth the 20 minutes less of sleep, playtime, etc.
I try to tap into my sense of humor. This is hard for me to do in the moment, so my trick is to take a photo of the situation. See the pictures above? They were each taken at times that I was frustrated with Avery. By taking a quick photo of some ridiculous thing she is doing, I can step back, look at my snapshot, and realize that there is almost always some humor/cuteness in what is going on. Now, when I look back at those photos, I see nothing but a sweet little girl just being two.
I give her a quick kiss as I'm putting her into time-out. There are definitely times where I feel that her behavior calls for disciplinary action, our version of which happens to be time-outs. Both Brandon and I have tried hard to be consistent with what behaviors land her in time-out and making sure that time-out immediately follows said behaviors and that it happens the same way each time. When this does happen, no matter how upset I am, I always give her a little peck on the cheek or head as I'm putting her into time-out. It sounds weird, but it gives me peace of mind in knowing that even though I'm disciplining her, she knows that my love for her is unchanged.
If you parents out there have any other tricks/tips, PLEASE share!!
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.