It is amazing how stressed out we can get as single parents.
Often we are heard complaining about the lack of patience in our children. They are demanding at any age, but a two year old can make you really want to tear your hair out. I implore you to reevaluate who is really stressing you out. Retraining yourself to think can be done by the smallest of everyday events in the life of your child.
After getting up at 6 in the morning, dropping the kids off at daycare, working 9 hours, driving back to the daycare to get the kids, going to the grocery store, stopping at the bank, putting gas in the car and coming home only to work some more on projects to make ends meet, dinner time she comes! You cook, feed them, clean the house and settle them in for the evening. Then you get to go back to working for money until your head literally falls on the keyboard. Wake up again at 7AM on a Saturday to drink your coffee and start work again.
Who could possibly maintain this life and not want to scream out of frustration and lack of patience when they wake back up and demand breakfast?
An Epiphany At Breakfast
Three hours into side projects to pay the bills, I sit outside on my porch drinking coffee and my 2 year old wakes up wanting breakfast. I feed the other kids and bring him out on the porch to enjoy his cinnamon crunch with me while looking at the birds. I look over at him and realize he is staring at his arm while munching away. He slowly turns his hand and stays focused while using the other hand to keep on munching. I see that he is staring at an ant wondering around in hopes of food on his arm.
It hits me in an instant. That would drive me literally into a fit of aggravation! Not just because of the creepy crawly effect, but because it would take my attention away from what I was doing. His look was so intense and curious. Had I looked at that ant on my arm while eating my cereal, I would have made his next occupation pushing up daisies!
My child has not seen the stress of bills. He doesn’t realize he is from a separated family, nor does he care about being bothered while doing his favorite task; eating. My child has more patience than me for one reason. He is still able to realize there are so many things he has seen before, yet he takes time to observe them. Not only does he have more patience, he can multitask better than I can!
I constantly feel pulled in a hundred directions each day by work and my kids.
I get frustrated when I cannot seem to please them. But, today it seems so simple. My son was amused by an ant for several minutes while eating. Good Lord, if I bought him an ant farm, I could get an hour of work done while spending time with him and make him happy all in one shot!
This will produce less feelings of guilt about spending time with them and still getting my required daily routine done. So, this is what I come up with today. It may not work all the time, but any time making your child happy and fulfilling your obligations simultaneously is something that is worth it’s weight in gold.
Steps To Sanity And Happiness
First realize children can be easily amused.
A simple praise from you could literally be a memory they always have when they grow up. Even if there isn’t enough time in the world to accomplish what you need to do and be the only person who takes care of your kids, make time. Realize that the phrase quality time is garbage. Any time spent with your kids is quality time.
Time management must be put into place. They love structure and feed off of it. They need a daily routine just as badly as you do to get things done and feel productive. It gives them something to look forward to.
Never make promises you cannot live up to. Even going to the park can be an earth shattering event if you cannot take them for some reason and they were counting on it. If you know you are busy that day, suggest it. Do not put it in stone by saying this is going to happen.
For your own sanity, incorporate them in the smallest of tasks. You would not believe how helpful a 2 year old can be when doing laundry. They literally giggle when you hand them clothes to put in the dryer! Counting items to teach them numbers comes in real handy with this task. I have a 2 year old that can count to eleven because of this very thing.
The older ones like to play games too. Speed race your kids to see who can fold the most clothes and reward them with praise. (Try and let them win, it helps their ego) Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it really works most days.
Keep Yourself Open to Smelling a Few Roses
How annoying is that saying? Seriously. It makes you want to just choke shiny happy people who say it, right?! But how much is because you mostly just really envy their happiness and naive existence?
You think, “if you had my life and struggled with kids alone you wouldn’t be so chipper, would ya”? Believe it or not, some of them do have your life and troubles, but yet they seem patient like they don’t have a care in the world. This is because they realize a simple gaze at your child can teach you new things even at 39.
If there are things in your life you put off because of time issues, make time for it. Before you do that, change your mindset before you change your life. Any situation will be handled negatively if you approach it thinking it is going to be awful. Sounds like psycho babble BS, huh? There is a reason there are so many self help books. Therapists are on the rise because of how much they are needed nowadays. Our bodies are shaped mainly by what we put into them and how we treat them. Our mindset is the same. What we allow ourselves to think is what usually produces our words, actions and thought process.
Having patience can be as simple finding a moment each day to look over at your kids and watch the look on their face. You realize your 2 year old is stronger than you have been recently; happier too. You may think your child is only happy because life hasn’t hit them yet. However, any moment in your day or week when you feel real happiness or proud of something you have done (such as praise from a boss or knowing you nailed a task) proves that you are capable of seeing the smallest accomplishments in yourself. You still have all the wonder your children do. It is shocking how much patience you have when kids are incorporated into your day without them even knowing it.
Make Time for Quiet Thoughts in Strange Places
Between getting ready, using the facilities and cleaning, it is suggested people spend an average of 30 minutes a day in the bathroom; sometimes more. Let’s run with the half hour. That is 210 minutes per week spent in there! If you think you don’t have time to try and sit quietly to reflect on a peaceful thought, you are wrong.
If we spend 3 ½ hours just ‘doing our business’, it is impossible to think we cannot make time. We would die without doing the everyday task of bodily functions. We do it without thinking about it. Our patience with the kids is just as vital to our existence as parents as bodily functions.
With those few hours, we could have concentrated on how to approach a stressful situation in our day or just spend time regrouping. I do not urge you to count to ten when you are angry and frustrated without peace in sight. I have just shown you where you can count to 210 and still multitask without feeling like you are wasting precious minutes of the day trying to find your happy place with the kids and your life.