The Patience Game

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pa·tience noun \ˈpā-shən(t)s\
the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient

This has been the hardest hurdle to jump since becoming a parent.  I am constantly struggling, learning, perfecting and just plain coming to terms with the act of patience.  As a parent to 3 kids they don't always make it simple, in fact the rarely make it simple and they test me daily.  As the adult it is something I need to learn on my own and how to project it on to those around me.  It's hard, probably one of the hardest things I've had to learn, in terms of having patience with my children.

Overall I feel like I have grown a lot and am able to be a lot more patient with my kids.  I've learn to choose my battles and to let many, many things just roll off my back.  I should point out that a few years ago I did this with my life in general and not with my kids and it has been one of the best things I've ever done for myself.  (One of many life changes I have made).  But I want to focus on my kids here.  I pick and choose what I will let bother me with the kids.  That alone takes a lot of patience.  Yes I do break down sometimes and harp on them about things that are just not worth the frustration and tears.  Usually with this happens its a response to anger or frustration that I have internalized and unfortunately is let out at the wrong time and on the wrong person!!!!  And fuck, I hate when that happens.  *I want to point out here, I was at the dentist recently and was flipping through O magazine and came across an article on displaced anger and this is totally what happens! I'm so upset about this!*

So anyway sometimes these outburst happens and it shouldn't and I piss myself off and try even harder to let the unimportant things roll off.  But there are days when the kids are on a roll, I ask them to stop tapping their fork on the table yet they continue to do it over and over.  Ugh! For the bazillionth time I remind them to turn off the bathroom light and they don't.  These things piss me off because they happen so often and when you get 4, 5, 6 reminders per day its hard to understand why these kids don't get it.  Doh, they are kids thats why.  But I let it go because its a little thing.  A little thing that pisses me off but for them, if I were to lose my patience and harp on them they wouldn't understand how not turning off the light upsets me so much.

My two youngest are to bad.  They have a few annoying quirks that tests my patience but I can work with it and not get to upset.  My older one.  He's a whole other story.  I've had to work hard on this one.  He needs non-stop reminders about things.  I don't even know how to begin.  He is smart, quiet, creative but my fucking god does he need to be told a zillion times to do things that should be second nature.  This is what makes it frustrating.  It's not about doing little annoying things here and there like, banging a fork on a table, or making a weird noise its just normal everyday stuff, stuff he should be doing because its life and that's what you do.  He is a quirky kid and I love it but he is also way spacey.  Unless he is doing something he likes to do whether it be reading a certain book, playing a certain game, watching a specific movie he could give a shit and this is what makes it hard to drill these things into his head.  I  used to have a -5 patience level with this one but not anymore.  I've come to accept his eccentricities and to choose my battles with him.  I'm not above bribing this kid if it works for him it works for me.  He is definitely a work in progress and is my true challenge in growing this skill called PATIENCE.  LIke nothing else I could have imagined he has become my focus, my mentor, my teacher.  His weird habits and lack of caring what the life rules are has helped me learn patience like no other.  Yes I have to remind him a zillion times to brush his teeth, put the toilet seat up when he pees, flush the toilet when you do your biz.  Yes its totally gross and pisses me off but I process it in my way and not bottle it up, I remind him calmly and kindly one time and I move on.  I say what I need to say, he takes it in and appreciates the 1-time respectful reminder and life goes on.  

Patience.  At this level is not something I was prepared for.  Maybe its because I have 3 kids.  Maybe not.  But damn, its tough and i'm learning it.  And i'm doing good.

My husband not so much.  He is the out of the house worker bee in my family.  He gets to spend a few hours per day with the kids during the week and its hard for him.  The kids all gravitate to me for everything:  tying their shoes, pouring them a glass of milk, asking their forever random questions.  Yes they get excited when dad comes home however all that excitement completely and totally overwhelms him and puts him straight up on edge.  God forbid the boys are at each others throats soon after getting him, that immediately puts him in a downward spiral and I feel bad for the kids.  They can do no right after that.  My husband has no control in handling his patience with them and its horrible.  I remind the kids that dad is at work and is super busy and has a ton of things on his mind and their fighting or over excited behavior isn't something he can totally process soon after coming home.  I try to do what I can to control it on the kids end but they don't totally understand.  They just end up feeling sad and resent him a little bit which makes me sad.

When the kids aren't around I gently tell my husband some of the "feedback" i've received from the children.  He goes into full defensive mode but I feel like he should here in hopes of thinking before acting out on the kids thus working on his patience.  He's not good at it but he is trying a little.  I think he's forgotten what its like to be around the kids and isn't able to deal in the same way I can.  I get it and I don't fault him for it.  I've offered my tips on how i've strengthened my patience game he can take the advice or not but I want to leave the ball in his court so he is aware.  He struggles with the oldest as well but has a much harder time then me.  I feel so bad for Big Red he does get the raw end of the deal when it comes to my husbands patience.  He has almost none for his antics and once Big Red does one thing its all over my husband's patience with him goes out the window.  I swoop in and help as much as I can but my husbands is so blinded by his frustration that he rarely heres me so I try to help on the kids end and diffusing any further potential outbursts from the get go.  It's hard.  It's heartbreaking to see that my husband is having so much trouble with honing in on his patience.  It's definitely a work in progress and one I hope I can help him with.

Are you a parent to a 9-year old boy?  Is this the annoying stage?  In the last year all his weird annoying habits started shining through.  I've chalked many of it up to the age and that he's coming into his own and testing much of the boundaries and really looking to gain independence in whatever he can control.  This is what has helped with patience growth, that much of this is due to him growing up and exploring his world around him and what he wants out of it.  If this is the case I can work with that and help him and help me in dealing with it.  Whatever the case, my 9-year old is growing up and all that comes with it has helped me grow in the one area that I know I need to work on.

Godspeed to us!

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