When you have a toddler, I feel as though teaching patience is very important. You will constantly hear me say it to my three year old. While waiting in the grocery aisle, and he says it is taking too long, I respond with “What does patience mean?” He by now knows the answer, “I have to wait nice, mom.” At the doctor’s office, while he waits for dinner, when he has to share….those are all moments I remind him of what patience means. I always knew that I would have to teach my children how to be patient, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that it dawned on me that I needed to teach myself as well.
Running Late, Again
Since I have become a parent, I feel like if I am only 5 minutes late, then I am on time. And as someone who always was very punctual, this pains me to no end. But yet, when you have two little boys to get ready, it seems nearly impossible to be on time. I rush to get myself and the boys all dressed up and we head out. Because I am always rushing, I was never taking the time to encourage my toddler to have independence. I would put on his clothes, his shoes, his jacket and hat. All things that at his age, he should know to do. But since he is just learning, it takes forever. The pants go on backwards, the shoes on the wrong feet. I am constantly saying “Hurry up, we gotta go.” Then it hit me, “Mom, what does patience mean?”
Yes, learning that I was the one who needed more patience was an eye-opener. I needed to do exactly what I want my son to do: wait nicely. Patience is not a novel concept to any of us as parents, but yet it seems we so rarely give the patience back to our children. Ultimately, I realized that I was the one who has to work on patience; that I needed to give my son the time he needed to get dressed by himself. I learned I should put my agenda on the back-burner and his time to learn on the front. Since that moment, I have started to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier, so that he can have the time he needs, and then, I wait…nicely.
Learning to be more patient has not been easy, largely because for many things, I need to be on time. There are still many mornings that I catch myself saying “Hurry up, we gotta go” to my boys. But, then I try to take a breath, and remember the importance of being a role model for patience. Honestly, I felt like such a hypocrite in that moment, but no one is a perfect parent, and there are always opportunities to learn and grow. So, my boys, bear with me as I learn to “wait nice.”