I didn’t realize how impatient I was until I had children. My kids seemed to bring out all these hidden emotions instead of me!
When our son was 6 weeks old he went through a growth spurt. He woke up what seemed like every hour of the night to eat. I knew this would happen. People told me it would. I experienced it with my daughter.
But even with this knowledge I still found myself feeling frustrated. I NEEDED SLEEP! Why was my son not understanding this!?
I thought “He is going to wake up our daughter. Then no one is going to get rest. Tomorrow is going to be horrible. Ugh, all I want to do is sleep!”
My attitude and thoughts quickly spiraled out of control.
I was ready to yell at my baby. I was actually becoming angry. Then I felt guilty for being angry at my sweet baby boy. He doesn’t know any better.
Have you ever been there?
Losing Patience? Lost Your Temper?
I want to share with you three ways I’ve learned to remain calm and not lose my temper. It’s taken some practice and sure there are times when I slip up. Especially, when my son, now 3, asks me over 50 times a day for a snack! But I’ve found a way to manage my frustration and not lose my cool as a mom.
First, we must check our thoughts.
As I sat with my crying baby in my arms I knew something needed to change. I was tired of feeling angry and as I sat there crying with him I realized, I need to take control of my thoughts. But how do I stop myself and actually do this in the heat of the moment?
The first step to changing your thoughts is to recognize what you are thinking.
I also want to share with you the cognitive triangle. This is something I learned as a graduate student in psychology and it changed my thought life forever. Our thoughts, behavior and feelings are all connected. If we want to change how we are feeling (frustrated, overwhelmed) or change our behavior (yelling at kids) we can do this by changing our thoughts.
It sounds simple, I know. But when we take a step back and analyze our thoughts, we may realize many of our thoughts aren’t helpful or rational.
Let’s look at the example of a crying baby again. Had I made it through the day before without much sleep? Definitely! Was this the worst thing that could happen? Definitely not!
The next time I started to feel frustrated and about to lose my patience, I took a step back. I checked my thoughts and told myself “It’s okay if my baby cries for a few minutes in his crib.”
“He is safe and I need to give myself time to check my thoughts. I’m a better mom when I do this.”
Instead of focusing on the negative, I needed to start thinking helpful thoughts.
Second finding perspective can change everything.
Another strategy that has helped me time and time again is to find perspective. This is so important when I find myself losing my patience and ready to scream at my kids.
I challenge my thoughts and tell myself this stage won’t last forever. I will sleep again. I am not alone in this. I also remember that kids will be kids. They don’t always know my expectations and it’s unrealistic to think they won’t ever push back or annoy me.
I am also slowly learning to cherish these moments. Time moves so quickly and I don’t want to always focus on the next best thing while missing out on the present time.
Lastly, we must identify our triggers.
Another thing I’ve realized is I need to be more aware of my own emotions. I need to ask for a break when I need it, without feeling guilty!
If sleep is a priority for me, then I need to start making it a priority. That means not staying up an extra hour to scroll through Instagram. Or asking my husband to get up first with the kids on Saturdays so I can have a few minutes alone in bed.
Every now and then it’s good to take a self-analysis and see how you are doing. Don’t let your big feelings reach a boiling point. Take a few moments before you reach your breaking point to refresh and reset.
Also learn your triggers. For me it’s feeling tired. When I’m not getting adequate sleep I much more likely to lose my temper. What are your triggers?
Finally, it’s okay to ask for help or ask for a break. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you human.
So what about you? Do you lose your patience with your kids? How do you deal with your anger? Impatience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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