by Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
As adorable, intelligent, sweet, kind, fun, loving, and all around perfect we find our children to be, there are still those moments when our children absolutely drive us to the brink of insanity. Some days you think you just might lose your mind. Some children push us there harder and faster than others. I love this quote, "A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in . If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505." Oh how I know that.
I recently faced a day when a certain child of mine had pushed me to my limit. I was very frustrated. I don't like to be frustrated in general and especially not with my children, so I came up with a list of things to do when I need to save my sanity.
First, five ways to collect yourself:
- Pray. The first thing I did when I reached my limit was hit my knees and pray. I prayed for patience, for understanding, for love, and for help. I definitely got it, and thus this list was born.
- Take a Time Out. It can help to take a time out for yourself and gain some perspective. Chances are once you are able to take a moment to breath, you can assess the situation for what it really is and will realize it is not as terrible as it seems in the heat of the moment. Taking a time-out for yourself is definitely not as easy as just walking away if you have young children. You need to first get that child in a safe situation before you go take your time-out.
- Call Your Spouse. I find strength in calling my husband and talking things through with him. He can offer some sanity-saving perspective and yet can also understand to some degree what I am talking about. Sometimes just venting about it can help relieve some pressure. You can also brainstorm with your spouse ideas for solving the issue if it needs to be solved.
- Get Inspiration and Peace. Sing a favorite tune--something that brings peace to you like a hymn. Read a favorite scripture--especially one that encourages you to press forward or to love unconditionally. Read a favorite quote that boosts you up.
- Find the Humor. You know how when someone else's child is acting up you can find it really funny, but when it is your child, you are not so amused? I think of a friend whose son one day got into her 5 gallon bucket of flour. Hilarious story from my perspective. It might not have been so funny to me if I had walked into my kitchen to find 5 gallons of flour spread by a toddler...try to find the humor in what you are facing.
Next, five ways to grow that love for your child so you can maintain better patience in the future:
- List 10 Things You Love. Either write down on paper, think to yourself, or verbalize to your child ten things you love about your child. What is it about this age you will miss when it is gone? What unique personality traits do you enjoy about your child? What things does your child do that you appreciate? This turns our focus to the good--we see the wheat in our field rather than the tares. There will always be good and always be bad, and focusing on the good helps us love and appreciate the good there is.
- Recall Memories. This is when some form of journal-keeping comes in handy. This can be in a traditional written journal, a scrapbook, a baby book, a slideshow of pictures on your computer, a list of funny things your child has done...take a moment to remember the good times. Remember how you think this child is pretty much one of the top five most amazing people to grace this planet? Remind yourself of why.
- Do Service. The answer to our own pity parties is always to serve others. Think of some service you can provide to your child at this moment.
- Do Fun. Create a new fun memory. Read a book, play a game, paint fingernails...do something just fun together that is no-stress.
- Cuddles and Hugs. Cuddle up and give your child hugs. I find when I am feeling frustrated with a child, giving a nice, long hug always melts away that frustration.
I wanted to add a bit of advice, also. If your child is suddenly acting out of sorts and not being himself, there is a good chance there is a good reason for that. He might be teething or have an ear infection. Maybe he is feeling like he needs more one-on-one time with you. Once you have saved your sanity and are ready to face the day with grace again, take some time to see if there is an extenuating circumstance that has put your child in a super grumpy mood. Remember my day I was super frustrated that I talked about in the beginning? Well, I knew it was uncharacteristic, and a trip to the doctor the next morning revealed a double ear infection.
I leave you with this quote from Thomas S. Monson: If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.
I believe this to be true. Grandmother after grandmother tries to impress this upon me and every other young mother out there when she gets the chance. I already see things I miss profoundly; as our days go by more and more quickly, I try to maintain my sanity and cherish each moment to the best of my ability. I want to remember these moments with fondness, a bit of humor, and without regret.