According to Wikipedia, 'patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity'.
Wikipedia should also say that, like clothes, patience can get threadbare over time till there are holes and gaps where there used to be fabric. I'm at that point.
I've been looking into how to repair this part of me because I do NOT enjoy being the mom who snaps at every little thing or the wife with the wild eyes that the husband has to tip toe around.
After some soul and online searching this is what I've discovered so far*:
1) My patience level dropping seems to have a direct correlation to my not working out for the past week and a half. Now I don't know if walking releases something or boosts something (besides those endorphins) but I've noticed that my short temper has been increasing since I stopped walking in the morning. In my book that isn't worth the extra time I get by not working out.
2) I found this suggestion online "I also consciously wait about 5 seconds before I answer a question from my kids. I realized a few years ago that I was very quick to say no to them, even when their requests weren't unreasonable. Now I count to five before I answer, and I say yes a lot more often, which makes life in our house a lot happier." Now this I need to start instituting. I am way too quick to say no to J and the less patience I have? The quicker I say no. I might even yell it at times.
3) I haven't been sleeping well, or long enough or deep enough. I thought I was, I thought everything was fine, but over the last two nights, I've realized that I just can't sleep well with J plastered up next to me (we are co-sleeping in his room, this is an improvement trust me). Mama needs space. So I hit a breaking point last night and told J that if he wants me still sleeping in there with him, he needs to sleep in his own bed at night. This will also get him used to sleeping alone and on his own. So hopefully I can move back to my own bed soon.
4) Realizing the wisdom of my Bubi (grandmother) who always said "this too shall pass". I'm sure I'll miss this phase (tantrums, dissolving into tears, challenging, etc) that J is going through when he's 18 and going to college (probably not). But it is a mantra I will repeat over and over "this too shall pass, this too shall pass".
5) Giving myself some time. That's been of very short supply recently. I'm still trying to figure out where and when I can sneak something in for myself. This weekend I'm going to a cheese making class and I CAN NOT WAIT. I'm bouncing in my seat I'm so excited.
6) Realize I don't have to do it all. I have this desire to be the most amazing mom where every moment is a teachable opportunity. In reality, being that person all the time is exhausting and draining. And recently, I just flat out haven't had the patience. It's hard enough just being a mom with the every day things (laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands) to deal with plus the addition of being a teacher to my child. I'm just trying to be a good mom and get through the day. This doesn't mean I love J any less, it means that I'm giving myself a break. I can be a good mom or I can be a good teacher and I can't be both.
7) I've started visualizing. I see myself as a tree and I need to feel my feet deeply rooted in the ground in order to set up a good balance for the rest of my body and life. Right now they're not and the more out of whack I feel, the more separate my feet feel from the Earth. I've never meditated but the older and crabbier I get, the more I'm seeing the benefit. When I was thinking 'what do I need to do to make myself a more patient person?', my mind answered back 'root yourself'. Can't hurt to try.
8) I need to learn to play again. I have a neighbor who has two sons and almost every day I hear her playing with them. Free form physical play. Encouraging, nurturing, fun, shouting, questioning, free and happy playing. There is much there I can learn. Because I am so busy doing ______, I do not play with J. I admire his ability to entertain himself but his mommy doesn't get on the floor and play with him. Even just writing this makes me sad.
9) I need more empathy. I need to look at situations from J's side in particular. He's an almost-three-year-old. He's challenging and dramatic but to him the world is challenging and dramatic. He suddenly has this incredible verbal ability and understanding and he's trying to figure out his place in our family and the world that he knows. He isn't intentionally driving me crazy, he's just hitting those milestones right on target.
10) I need to relax and pick my battles. I've been saying 'no' or 'don't' to almost everything recently. It sucks. It's draining on me and wearing on him. We haven't been having many fun days. I've not had the patience for doing much beyond what needed to be done. By giving him more freedom, I'm hoping it will take some of the burden for saying 'no or 'don't' all the time. Plus I really don't want to squash his independence or make him feel he has to be sneaky to get around me.
11) Let someone else shoulder some of the burden. Whether it be running errands or taking J somewhere or letting me go somewhere by myself. I need to ask for help and not feel like I have to do it all myself.
12) I need to remember to breathe. Just breathe. When when I feel like my patience is so frayed it's going to snap, I need to breathe. Take a deep breath, hold it in for 5 seconds and let it out slowly for 5 seconds. And repeat as needed.
13) D and I need to not let our respective frayed patience feed on and off of each other. I've noticed that if I'm at a breaking point when D gets home, pretty soon he isn't as patient with J as he normally would be and vice versa. If one of us needs a break, we need to let the other one have it. We are a team and it's time we start doing the 'tag team' routine.
14) I've noticed that just writing about this has been cathartic. Maybe just putting a voice to what I've been feeling has helped instead of trying to fix it myself, internally and silently.
* These are mostly almost-three-year-old focused because that's my life right now but I think they would be good in almost any situation.