I will admit there are times I wish patience could be replenished at the nearest drive-thru. Just put the meltdown scene on pause, hop in the car, and go order two more scoops of patience before riding out the two-year-old's process. For that matter I wish it were canned. I would give a whole shelf of the pantry to be able to just walk downstairs and pop open a can. But it doesn't work that way.
Patience is built by what we choose to do to nourish ourselves day in and day out. And when it runs low it takes the reserve of restraint to fake it until the banshee turns back into the child. Patience takes self-care.
I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that said, "You were a person before you brought a little person into this world. That person still matters!" It is so true and yet so commonly forgotten, especially in these early years of parenting.
One night I cried to my husband that I had thought I would be a better mom than "this" before I had kids. What it came down to is the seemingly infinite patience everyone said I had and the knack for creative distractions and choices. But that woman also meditated twice a day, did yoga, got a full night of uninterrupted sleep. And the truth is we can't parent our best if we aren't at our best. In fact, there is a whole new scale for what our best looks like and it is directly proportional to the ways we renew ourselves.
I often get comments on how great it is that I practice breathing techniques with my daughter. It is not uncommon if she is getting frustrated or worked up to say, "Let's take a "woosah" breathe first and then we can try again." We also blow to cool off our imaginary hot cocoa lot.
I appreciate the compliments as anyone would. But if I am being honest half the time I am saying that it is a reminder for me. When she is having a royal meltdown because her blankie was on her feet and she doesn't want it on her feet so she kicked it off and now it isn't on her feet and she NEEDS IT ON HER FEET. She doesn't really need a "woosah", she needs sleep and is beyond her ability to deal. But I am going to need a whole bunch of "woosahs" to get her there.
Self-care is my biggest personal challenge. But it is a challenge well worth sticking with until something works. This blog and my gratitude practice is part of my self-care. Going to bed earlier than my husband so I can write in my personal gratitude journal and dwell on the best parts of the day is part of my self-care. Getting up when it is still dark outside so I have a few quiet moments to myself, self-care. And finding things that inspire my joy and infusing it into my day whenever possible is self-care. Recognizing that some days still need a little something more is good and that will be one of my goals.
I'm grateful for sarcasm and humor as a way to help keep my sanity. I'm grateful for my husband's willingness to help even when we both know there isn't much to actually be "done". I'm grateful to be part of a team so when my patience truly is out I can step aside to replenish. I'm grateful for the self-care practices I have in place that are routine. I'm grateful for the little things that bring me joy. I'm grateful for the "woosah" reminder, even if I'm the only one listening. And I'm grateful to know that eventually a tired child will pass out if given the right setting and supports. And as much as I wish patience was something I could order like icecream, I'm grateful to know I have the resources to build it myself without going anywhere...except maybe into the hallway for a minute.
How do you practice self-care? Do you have a special breathing technique that helps to reset you when you are feeling overwhelmed? What practices help you be the best version of yourself?
May today remind us of our infinite power to create ourselves. May we remember that each choice we make has an impact and may we choose the things that support us. May we walk through today with patience and when that is tested may we at least find a little humor to keep us going. Have a beautiful day!