Wednesday, September 9, 2009

they say patience is a virtue

I've been thinking about patience lately. Diary of a New Mom had a great post last week about patience. While reading it, I realized that we parents make patience into a pretty big deal with our kids. We strongly encourage it. We talk to them about sharing and waiting their turn.

But, then the "RIGHT NOW" mindset of young kids sometimes gets us frazzled and we snap, "Would you just be patient and wait a minute?!!"

What a model of patience. And, of course, it's not all the time. There are many times, numerous times every hour, that I am very patient. But, maybe when they say that patience is a virtue, they mean that your patience shouldn't come and go. It should be constant, and in that, lies the virtue. There's an aspiring challenge, right?

Tonight we were running errands as a family and J was cranky at being dragged across the city with the setting sun shining into his eyes. I'll sum it up by saying there was whining involved, a few tears, a high speed chase through a furniture store, and then the paramount patience-tester:

Why? Why Mama? Why Daddy? Why?

Oh, the whys! Not the whys! Or, if the whys, then why not just one why? Why a series of whys with no end in sight? Why do whys build on each other the way a mouse's requests do if you give a mouse a cookie?

So, during the stressed out drive home, C asks me if it's our patience we need to work on or if this is all just normal. He sheepishly asked if it's terrible to use an exasperated tone with a two year-old. Yikes! I don't know!! It can't be, can it? It would be unrealistic to think otherwise, wouldn't it? I mean, sure we shouldn't expect a mountain of patience out of the little guy. But, does that mean that the burden falls completely on us, or is this one of those gray areas... a phase that we have to endure for the time being (as best and as patiently as we can)?

I read somewhere recently that the phrase "multi-tasking" was only just born in the last 10-15 years. It seems that concept, just that word, is sabotaging people's patience levels. We don't have the patience to work on one thing at a time. And, when you stop and think about it, isn't it during those multi-tasking times that you become such an easy target to crack? One too many whys and you flip. (Check out this NPR story that says you just might not be as good a multi-tasker as you think you are.)

So, not only is it my goal to work on my patience level, but to also unmulti-task as much as I can, especially when I'm playing with or caring for J. Having my mind and attention cluttered with one less thing might just give me the energy and insight to deal with one more round of whys. And that's something I'm not even going to question!

{photo credit}


Judy Haley (CoffeeJitters.Net) said...

Practicing the patience we want our children to exhibit? Yeah, I suck at that. But I'm working on it.

I'm consciously trying to eliminate multitasking where I can as well. I think it may be helping. It is so counter-productive, but it's also habitual. It's been beat into me for so long.

Great post.

Mom2Miles said...

Glad I inspired your post! Well said. I think your son's behavior is normal for his age. I have a 2-errand rule. We can go to the library and the bank,or to Target and the grocery store, but we can only do 2 things in one day or we risk a meltdown. It's not much fun to be strapped into a carseat & told "don't touch" all day, I get that.

Cheryl said...

Katie, I am so glad you write openly and honestly. While toddlers are such a fun age, there are certainly these challenges. For sure. And I so have learned to do the same thing as Mom2Miles with only two trips at a time. Very smart. xx

katie said...

Thanks Judy, Mom2Miles, and Cheryl! It's always good to get a sense that others are going through the same things you are.

Today we accomplished two easy 2 hours! But, who cares? It was fun, I got done what I needed to, and it was tantrum-free. Another reminder to just sloooow down sometimes!