If ever there was a virtue that we as moms need more of, it’s patience! Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, a mom to one or a mom to many, a nurturing mom or a strict mom… chances are that you run out of patience and lose your cool sometimes. Maybe more often than you’d like to admit. I’ll admit it. Patience is definitely something that I need to work on. And I know I’m not alone in this.
Thankfully for me–and for you!–patience isn’t a skill that we’re either born with or not. You can take real steps every day that will help you increase your level of patience for your children and everyone around you. Want to know what they are? Here are six essential ways to increase your patience.
1. Take Better Care of Your Health
I can definitely tell a HUGE difference in the amount of patience I have when I am taking care of my health and when I am not. When I get enough sleep, exercise and healthy foods, I am MUCH more enjoyable to be around. When I get so busy that I start neglecting my health, however, I get grumpy fast. The same is probably true for you, too. If you frequently find yourself running out of patience, maybe you need to make your health a priority.
2. Focus on the Things that Matter
If you stop to think about it, so many of the things that we get upset about really don’t matter in the long run. So what if you’re five minutes late to church? So what if your kids break a window? Is it really worth the fight? Are you really going to care 5, 10 or 15 years from now? Save your energy for the battles that are worth fighting.
3. Wake Up Earlier
I used to wake up at the same time as my children, and it was okay for a while. But now that I’m busier than ever, I find I NEED to wake up before them. Otherwise, I wake up feeling already behind and the day gets off on the wrong foot from the start. I don’t wake up much earlier than they do, but even just 15 – 30 minutes earlier gives me enough time to wake up, to spend some quiet time with God and to plan my day.
4. Shorten Your To-Do List
One very common reason why many moms (myself included) are running low on patience is because we are simply too busy. When you have 1,000 tasks you feel like you have to get done each day, it’s all too easy for your children’s cries for attention to become a “distraction” or a “nuisance.” It’s not your children’s fault that they want your attention. Kids are made to crave it! How sad to think about all the joys we miss out on because we are too busy. Find ways to remove items from your to-do list or to delegate them to others as much as possible.
(Does this resonate with you? Then you’ll definitely want to check out my other post: 5 Ways to Make Time for God When You Barely Have Time to Pee)
5. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
Another reason why moms commonly run out of patience is because we forget that our children are still little and that they aren’t always as capable as we expect them to be. I’m all for having high expectations, but children aren’t naturally quick when it comes to getting ready or eating breakfast. They don’t always remember how to share, and they don’t always know yet how to take good care of their toys. How often do we get annoyed and frustrated with our children for not knowing how to do things they aren’t developmentally ready to do or that we haven’t taught them how to do yet?
6. Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
Lastly, if your lack of patience is because your children are doing the same naughty tasks over and over and over, have you thought about how you might be contributing to the situation? For example, have you ever given in to your child’s temper tantrum or bribed them with a cookie to get them to behave? While these measures work in the short run, they set you up for a whole lot of misbehavior down the road. And nothing tries a mom’s patience like having to tell her children to stop for the millionth time. Set clear expectations and consequences, and don’t be afraid to follow through.
Are you generally a patient person or do you have some more work to do in this area? What things make you lose your cool? What should you do about it?
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