As a mother, when you hear the word “patience,” what comes to mind? (Besides, “I have none.”) For me, it’s the image of a woman who can “keep calm and carry on” amidst all the daily noise, chaos and demands of her children – whatever the age.
The Wikipedia definition of “patience” is “a good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence.” Well, if that doesn’t just say it all!
Certainly patience does encompass this behavior, but what about patience for ourselves as we try to figure out this motherhood gig, or patience with long- term situations that aren’t going to resolve any time soon, or patience through perspective – recognizing that each season of mothering will pass?
These are the many faces of patience we will be covering for an entire month in the coming year, and here are a few glimpses into the minds of other mothers at The Power of Moms struggling to develop patience just as much as you.
Patience with daily frustrations: “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that five kids is hard or that maintaining a house for this many people is an endless, often thankless, job. I clean and clean, thinking that eventually I’ll get to the end, only to realize there is no end to a circle. But cleaning isn’t all I do. I usher, feed, drive, chaperone, entertain, teach and encourage. I keep pedaling, pushing onward, trying, trying, trying to make it through one more day. And I get tired. Really, really tired.”
Patience with yourself: “All moms can benefit by having the attitude that we’re still a work in progress. We’re learning better ways to teach, better ways to love, better ways to create a great home – and that’s all right! We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect at mothering any more than we can expect to play a musical instrument perfectly the first time we try.” (April Perry)
Patience with long-term situations: “Emma talks about a period in her life where she experienced two excruciatingly hard pregnancies, her father’s untimely death, the onset of migraine headaches, a challenging cross-country move and her son’s diagnosis with autism. She explained that while she went through these things, she thought, ‘This can’t be real life – I just need to hold on and this will pass.’ But she quickly realized that while some things do pass, other things don’t. Autism isn’t something you can just work through and get past. It doesn’t usually go away. Sadness at losing a parent doesn’t go away. Migraine headaches, while they can be managed, often keep coming back. What was the ‘end’ she was enduring towards?” (Saren Eyre Loosli)
Patience through perspective: “There were a lot of years when I thought I would never walk by the diaper aisle at the grocery store without stocking up. I was sure that the days of not being able to find the binky and the never-ending frustrations of doing those important ‘Star of the Week’ posters for a child who just remembered at 10 p.m. that he had to have it by the next morning would never end. I dreamed of the days that I would be able to sleep in instead of waking to that annoying alarm clock and dragging myself out of bed after only four or five hours of sleep because of a sick child, or a fussy baby or finishing a project in those quiet hours after the house slept. Yes, some days ‘motherhood is like being pecked to death by a duck,’ but the secret is that eventually your efforts will start to count. Sooner than you can realize now, you’ll be watching your children having children and will be amazed at how much better they are than you were and that somewhere, somehow, you must have done something good!” (Linda Eyre)
So before you throw in the towel and give up on having patience (of all sorts), bookmark this site and (each March) stay tuned for a whole month of insights and ideas to help you keep it together.
QUESTION: What situation in your life right now requires the most patience?
CHALLENGE: Identify one or two of your biggest “triggers,” and try to come up with a better way to handle them.