We just moved to Florida in August so my hubby could start a 5 year (somewhere around 5 years anyway) doctoral program in avian parasitology (yep, bird parasites – maybe I’ll tell you more about him and his passion for birds another time). We sold our house, left my teaching career, left our church, left our family and friends, and just moved. I am now a stay at home mom (which I love). I also write curriculum and tutor on the side. We have been here for 3 months and I really know no one. We are temporarily living in a condo while we (hopefully) find a house. We are not sure exactly where we are going to end up, so we had been reluctant to look for a new church home. Last Sunday, we finally took the plunge and attended a local church. Oh how I missed worship! Music moves my soul. Singing is when I feel closest to God. I was nearly in tears as the worship music soaked through me.
I chose this particular church because they have a MOPS group (mothers of preschoolers). Moms get together, fellowship, learn momsense (how to be a better mom), and study God’s word. Yesterday, I attended my first MOPS meeting. It was my first real interaction with any one other than my husband and son since we’ve moved. I needed that. I want to share with you what we studied.
The pastor’s wife, Sandy, is a wonderful mentor mom who has 18 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. I am so going to love getting to know her more. For this meeting, she talked about patience. Patience is one of the momsense values – a characteristic many moms strive to have — some of us naturally have more patience then others. Even the most patient moms will have their patience tried by preschoolers. In all likelihood, we will lose our patience at one time or another.
Sandy began her message by reading James 1:2-4. Here it is from the NIV.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We learn patience through testing and trials. This will strengthen us – strengthen our faith – complete us – make us better followers of God – just simply make us better (if we let it). This is why we have to work at being patient sometimes.
A lack of patience makes us less loving with our children. That’s not what anyone wants. We want to raise calm and patient children who feel loved. Children learn from us. The more they see calm and patient examples (especially through difficult times), the more patient they themselves will react – the more easily they will be able to deal with life’s struggles.
Here are some of Sandy’s suggestion for how to work on being patient.
- Hold your tongue and speak gently.
- Know when you’re too tired to deal with patience trying happenings. Try not to put yourself into those situations when you are tired or more likely to lose your patience.
- Lower your expectations. (This one spoke to me the most). Do you have unreal expectations for yourself as a mom or for your children? Are you a perfectionist? Decide how much mess you can live with and let it go. Prioritize. Children are messy and time consuming. Give them the time they deserve rather than spending time making your house immaculate. I always feel like a failure when I have a messy house. As long as it’s messy because I am spending time exploring and learning with Aiden, I’m going to let it go.
- Find ways to deal with stress. Ask for help from friends, family, or even professionals. You don’t have to mother alone. (Love that one, too.) Find the humor in life and laugh.
- Know how you were raised. Were your parents patient, or was anger and lack of patience an issue? Like I said before, we learn from our parents. Some things are almost ingrained in us. Be mindful of this, and seek professional help if you find your lack of patience is a problem for you and your family.
- Remember losing your patience is not the end of the world. Ask for forgiveness. Learn from the situation. Try to do better. Take a moment to breathe. Try #1: hold your tongue and speak gently.
- Play with them. (Children learn through play. The more you interact with them positively, the more positive they will be.)
- Go outside. Sandy says you forget about all of your problems (messy house, etc.) when you just step outside for a while. I am an advocate of going outside, too. Let your children explore their world and connect with nature. Need help finding things to do outside? Debi at goexplorenature.com always has the best ideas. She lives in LA, but I’ve found her ideas can be applied nearly everywhere.
- Teach them to know the Lord. “Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6, NKJV. You can start by reading bible stories and singing songs to your little one. Pray before bedtime, meals, and whenever you want to give thanks to God.