My precious, adorable, and loving 10-month-old had just hit me--his dear mama--in the face. I couldn't believe it. I thought, certainly he was too young to be doing such a thing!
"No!" I exclaimed in my half astonished and half outraged reaction. He looked at me with those big blue eyes and instantly, crocodile tears began to form. Also instantly, my mama heart felt guilty for the hot reaction and I knew I was entering a new season of motherhood.
Parenting has a way of testing your patience unlike anything else, no matter what season you are in. It's an incredible and painful avenue of pulling out the selfishness deep within you. When you start to experience impatience with your child, it's because something they are or are not doing is poking at something inside of you that doesn't want to be poked at.
Their struggle to go down for a nap is a poke at your time.
Their early morning wake up call in a poke at your rest.
Their hit in the face is a poke at your power.
Their lack of follow through on a command is a poke at your pride.
Their temper tantrum is a poke at your quiet mental state.
The list could go on. We all--and I mean ALL--face pivotal moments when patience is tested. How will you respond? With a short fuse or steady hand? Because how you choose to respond will have ripple effects in your child's life.
Now, let's be honest: none of us are going to get it right 100% of the time. We are imperfect, and as we looked at last week, our weakness leaves room for God's strength. Thank goodness for that! Sweet friend, stop pressuring yourself to have it all figured out or to nail parenting every single time. If you live under constant pressure, you'll break. So let go of those expectations and live in the sweet area of Jesus'strength.
However, let's circle back to patience over power. Your kiddo(s) are looking to you to guide them well with both tenderness and strength. It's our jobs as mama's to take our selfish inclinations out of the equation in order to parent from a place of love and gentleness.
I know patience is one of those attributes that can be hard to wrangle in because you don't often know it's going to be a problem until you're in the moment and losing it already. Which is why it's one of those things that will require prayer and time and you know, patience.
Start practicing more calm, delayed, and kind responses with your children. When you're poked, take a deep breath, remember who they are and who you are in this relationship, and choose a more humble and gentle response. You won't bat one hundred but with some practice and a commitment to prayer, I truly believe God can help soften your responses towards your child(ren).
Here are a few practical ways to practice patience over power:
Take a deep breath before you respond.
Get proper perspective. Remember, your child looks up to you and is looking for guidance and support. For me, I remember that my son can't communicate and often throws a tantrum because he simply can't express to me what he wants or need.
Pray often! Whenever you can get in those sweet moments with Jesus.
Make time for yourself. Every mama needs a little space to be herself and rest.
Have realistic expectations. Children will be children so don't expect them to follow your perfectly executed timeline 24/7. Leave room to be flexible with the ebbs and flows of your child's needs and wants.
For those moments you do lose your patience, pray you'll respond better next time. Also, tell your child you are sorry and ask for their forgiveness. It's amazing what this model will teach your kids and how that grace in between will strengthen your relationship with your them. The transparency and humility in that moment will be huge in how your child develops as a person.
Now, as soon as you see your little mini me, scoop them up into your arms and smother them with mama kisses!
Yes and amen!