When my kids were little, I tried so hard to have patience. Everyone would tell me how patient I was, but they weren’t around at that moment when I lost it. That moment where my head would start to spin and I was outside of my body watching, as this lady I barely recognized yelled and screeched things at my precious babies.
Five minutes before that scene, I would be overtired and resentful for all the times they pushed my boundaries that day, yet I would still be trying to keep a patient and fun tone with them.
Then later would come the shame attack. When they were in bed and resembling angels again, my mean voice would take over: “I blew it – we had such a lovely day and this is how it had to end” …the mean voice wasn’t finished…. “They are only little for a short while; I need to have more patience!.”
Observing me with my children around that time, my Mum lovingly brought to my attention that I had it backward: “Jo, you don’t need to be more patient, you need to be LESS patient!”. I wasn’t clear yet what that would look like.
I want to share my lessons in being “overly patient,” especially during this time when so many families are cooped up together and moms everywhere are understandably losing it and feeling bad.
When my kids were small, I was missing an extremely important element to my parenting – that I matter too.
When I remember that I matter too, I monitor my own happiness throughout the day, as closely as I do my children’s, and I speak up about my needs before I turn into an overtired and resentful version of myself.
Here’s the personal check-in concept that helps me around patience:
Feeling resentment and anger usually means I need to review my boundaries.
- What did I want to say “no” to and said “yes” to instead?
- Who need I need to speak up to?
For me, this included cutting off their playtime when I was tired, saying “no” to the extra game of tumble purely because I was finding it annoying (and that was okay!), and stepping up my parenting to include immediate consequences for whining.
Saying “no” to my kids more meant I had to energy to say “yes” to myself in other ways, like having the clarity of mind to make healthier food choices, or choose a 5-minute meditation in the bathroom. All of which served to keep everyone happier.
The other key I learned to not becoming resentful and angry was taking care of my physical, emotional and spiritual needs during the day, too (for more on that click here).
I got a handle on speaking up about my boundaries when my kids were little, and I’m so glad I did because it was a necessary warmup for the teen years. Not only do I need to remember that I matter, but I have to guard my personal boundaries like my sanity depends on it, because it very much does!
I think we all get that one child – the one who makes you earn your mommy badge. The pre-teen version of mine, perhaps a lawyer in training, would ask repeatedly and in multiple ways for whatever thing he was hyper focused on that day.
I would say “no” and explain “why,” – then say “no,” and explain “why” again. Then later say “still no” and “here’s why.” It was exhausting. He wanted what he wanted, regardless of the words coming out of my mouth.
At times I felt bullied by his persistence, and my tone would switch to annoyed and defensive, and then I would lose my patience. Then I would feel bad.
Thankfully with age comes wisdom and healing. It didn’t take many rounds of this for me to remember that feeling angry and resentful was my personal indicator that I needed a boundaries recheck. I matter too, and this behavior was not OK.
The problem was that I was being overly patient with his bad behavior.
So, I set a new boundary around this behavior and a consequence. If he asked me something more than once, and I felt I had provided an adequate explanation, he lost his phone immediately.
He still loses his phone a lot. I even choose to be a little amused by it. I admire his persistence; it will serve him well one day.
He does not, however, get to rob my peace with his antics. I set that boundary and I guard it fiercely. While he stomps around phoneless in his room, I am sipping my coffee in peace, self-reflecting on a job well done.
So, to my fellow peacekeeping, overly patient, people-pleasers out there, may this be a reminder to establish your boundaries and/or recommit to them with all the people in your life, especially in these hard times.
If would also encourage you to take the Exhaustion Matrix Quiz below, to reveal which other personal traits are creating unnecessary stress in your life. In addition to your detail personal report, you will receive additional tips and tools to help you work back to a state of ‘flow’ in your life.
Sending so much love,
Joanna Peters, Coach & Author: Guiding soul weary women to heal from their painful pasts, shed shame and finally live with the peace and self-love they deserve.
Originally posted on The MOPS Blog“
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