I’m always looking for ways to be a better mom. Sometimes this search becomes just another way I grind disapproving jabs into my mommy soul. Other times, however, I actually take an unbiased inventory of my mothering skills, find something to do differently, and wollah! I’m a better a mom.
I am fully aware that every mom has their strengths and weaknesses. Some moms are great at making sure their kiddos get all the fresh fruits and veggies they need, but perhaps they aren’t the best at making up silly stories and songs. I am great at the silly stories and songs. I make pretty good meals, and I can smell a lie a mile away. The one thing that I struggle with is patience.
I have never had much patience. I like things done quickly and correctly. I don’t like long, drawn out stories. I like getting to the point, and I detest having to repeat myself.
As you can imagine, none of this happens with children. I am quite certain that God is punishing my impatience with the world’s slowest children. Putting on shoes takes ten minutes. I have to ask 47 times just to get the playroom cleaned up. And tattling goes something like this, “Mom! I was just sitting there minding my own business in my pretty pink shorts, when I noticed one of my pigtails was coming undone. Then Donovan, who I’m so proud of for sleeping in his big boy bed last night, came up to me, and before I could even realize that we were to the point in the movie where the dogs are kissing with spaghetti, he hit me!”
I may have found a solution, a way to up my patience when I need it most. As I thought about it, I realized that I ooze patience with other people’s kids. Seriously. Give me your kid and if he draws on the walls, kicks my toddler, whines for more fruit snacks, takes an eternity to go to bed or tie his shoes, I don’t even sweat. I just sit there and smile, and say really great, encouraging things. And the entire time, I wonder, “Why can’t I be like this with my kids?”
So that’s my plan. I am going to treat my children like they belong to another mom. I am going to be silly when I would normally get grouchy. I am going to ignore the tick-tock of the clock as they slowly meander. I am going to use my wit and charm when the tattle instead of my temper. I am going to be a patient mom.
Maybe after a while of pretending that they’ll be going home to their real mom and dad soon, I will just be more patient without having to pretend. Or maybe I’ll go back to the impatient screaming mom until I find a better solution. Hey, at least I’m looking for a solution!
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com