Teaching your kiddies to be patient is tough, but practicing what you preach can be even tougher. When I think about the different struggles my mother faced as she raised my sisters and me, I am blown away by how well she kept it together. At the age of 24, my Spanish-speaking mother was an unemployed immigrant, raising a family in a one-bedroom apartment. Since my father worked such long hours for little pay, my mother had to fend for herself. It seemed like she would just take a deep breath, and then make sure she didn't miss any of the doctor appointments, parent/teacher conferences, birthday parties—the whole kit-and-kaboodle! How did she do it all and not go insane? I honestly ask myself that question every day.
My situation really doesn't even compare to the challenges my mother or my husband's mother had to face, yet there are days when I literally want to pull my hair out! I ask my mother all the time how she overcame those moments of despair. You know the ones I mean—when you feel like you're going to lose it if you have to go to the bathroom one more time while holding a baby in your lap! Yep—I'm going through separation anxiety right now with Crosby, and he wants me to hold him every second that I'm around. My mom simply says, "paciencia, mi hija." Patience, my daughter.
Every parent loses his or her ability to stay calm with their kids—it's normal. Right? I really do make efforts every day, and I find prioritizing patience makes the process of being a mother much more enjoyable and easier to manage! It also shows my kids that practicing patience has it's rewards. The way that I cope with those tough parenting times is to take a deep breath, just like my mother did, and relax. I also draw inner strength from my mother's advice, that these are passing moments which will one day be missed.
When I think about my niños not wanting to cling to me, it does make me sad, so I block out the in-the-moment stress and just focus on the kids. When my son has a meltdown in the middle of the ice cream shop because he's fifth in line, and wants his ice cream RIGHT NOW—I take that opportunity to tell him that he has to wait his turn. I demonstrate deep breathing by motioning with my hands as I inhale and exhale. Now he repeats the same gestures back to me and it makes me laugh so hard because I think it's the cutest thing in the world. There always seems to be a funny moment that comes out of the more frustrating situations—I remind myself to stay patient to find it.
How do you keep your cool at home?
Check out how Latina Mommy, Yesenia Almonte, handled her toddler's food strike!