I want to be endlessly patient with my children, I really do. But so often growing in patience feels like using the Force. It’s an inaccessible superpower that I don’t seem to be able to master.
I think I need a Yoda – someone to show me the secret to this mysterious thing called patience. Someone to teach me how to harness it and master all of it’s complexities.
I pray that God will help me be better at it. I read books about it. I count to ten and take time outs.
But then I realize, in classic Kat fashion, I am WAY overthinking things.
Patience is actually quite simple. Like ridiculously simple.
As I was getting ready for a trip, recently, and wanting to be very healthy and well rested, I drank lots of water and went to bed earlier for about a week before I was due to leave.
Guess what? I could have been the poster mom for patience. I resolved conflict without breaking a sweat or losing my cool. I smiled compassionately at the exasperated moms at the grocery store while my three children and I sang worship songs and quoted Bible verses as we shopped.
Or something like that.
Here is what I realized: Patience has as much to do with our physical bodies as it does with our emotional and spiritual well being.
It’s silly that I ask God to help me be more patient when I’m staying up until midnight checking Facebook and drinking caffeine all the next day to compensate.
I know making healthy choices isn’t easy. I go back and forth all the time. But I also know that when I am making healthy choices, I am a much more patient, energetic and kind mother.
As we look forward to 2013 and consider our New Year’s Resolutions, remember that exercising and eating healthy doesn’t just impact the way we look, but it more importantly affects the way we behave.
So here are a few SUPER SIMPLE things we can do to help us be more patient moms this year:
Fill 4 bottles of water and keep them in the fridge. It takes five minutes (if that!) the night before. Then aim to finish all of them during the day. Most of us reading this are walking around dehydrated. It’s amazing how this simple act will impact our energy, emotions and patience level.
Eat a healthy breakfast
I know it sounds silly, but the food we eat affects how we treat our children. Just like a big Thanksgiving dinner renders us useless and sleepy, a poor breakfast will make us tired and grumpy. Throw in a smoothie or a piece of fruit. Add an egg or whole wheat muffin. Just making a small, simple change can have a huge impact.
Talk Less, Do More
Try to have one on one time each day with each of your children. So much of our children’s misbehaviour can be resolved with a hug or a date night. They want our attention and naturally will resort to any means possible to get it. Just like a starving child needs a full tummy to have the energy to learn. A child starving for attention needs a full heart to grow in wisdom and knowledge.
Now you may be feeling like I’m adding One. More. Thing. But the beauty of this list is that they all work together. Dave Ramsey calls it the snowball effect. When we are conscious about eating a healthier breakfast and drinking water, we’ll have more energy to go on a daily walk. Going on a daily walk is the perfect way to spend one on one time with our children. We can listen and fill up their attention basket. When their attention basket is full, less patience we need each day.
We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So why not spend time with the most amazing people we can find – through books, sermons, podcasts, audiobooks, and an audio Bible. You will be amazed at how having constant input from inspiring people will affect your attitude and ability to be the mother God made you to be.
I know some of these suggestions are incredibly simple and obvious, but if you’re anything like me, they are not always a part of our daily life. When we make them a priority, we have a strong foundation for our parenting.
2013: This Is Your Year.
The beauty of a New Year is that it is a fresh start, a blank canvas ready for a masterpiece.
“With God all things are possible.” Mt 19:26
By His grace and a few simple, wise choices, this can be the year we become the patient and kind mothers we long to be.