photo courtesy of: http://iheart7.com/2011/11/giving-children-their-privacy-nablopomo/
WE were at a stand off. I wanted her to do it, and she was refusing. Resolution was nowhere in sight. So I gave up, because this week of all weeks is not the week to stand my ground. Because this week, I lost something very important to me.
I lost something I value greatly, something that helps me through each and every day, something I could not live without. I lost: my patience.
It happens. (Often.) It happens when I start picking up the house and realize I am pretty much the only one who picks up the house.
It happens when I can’t get my Excel spread sheet to print the way I want it to print.
It happens nearly every time I’m in line at the grocery store deli counter (seriously, can these sweet old ladies not move a little faster?). And it happened this morning when my daughter refused to write a thank you note to her teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day.
It’s not that my daughter doesn’t like her teacher. It’s not that my daughter isn’t appreciative or thoughtful. It’s all because the paper the school designated for the teacher notes had the Cat in the Hat on it (it’s also Dr. Seuss week!). As if, writing a note on this paper was an endorsement for Dr. Seuss, her apparent fear.
It’s times likes these when I should be flexible. Creative. Offer a different sheet of paper for goodness sake. But the whole thing was so ridiculous that at first I chose to stand my ground. And so did my girl. And guess where we got? Nowhere.
It’s what happens when we lose our patience, get mad, decide to stand firm in what we want, instead of seeking out a compromise. When we get caught up in the moment and forget the big picture.
What to do in such situations? How do we find the very thing we need desperately, our patience, when our week goes crazy, when our children won’t cooperate, when the pounds take so long to fall off even though we’re working so hard to lose them?
I’m obviously not an expert. I don’t have a magic formula (and if I did, you might laugh since I shot my credibility on this topic three paragraphs up). So instead, I’ll offer this. When I am feeling impatient, angry, frustrated, I find it’s best when I:
1-Pause. 2-Breathe. 3-Let go. 4-Remind myself that it could always be worse.
Most of the things I get impatient about are small things. Tiny irritants within my day. Things not even that worth their weight in negative energy. I could have forced my daughter to write a note for her teacher. If I had there would surely have been tears and yelling and it’s possible I would have lost the battle.
So instead I thought to myself: this won’t matter in a year. A week. A day even (her poor teacher, I’m going to have to step up the end-of-school-year gift!). In the grand scheme, most of what makes us crazy are small things.
My daughter is independent. Opinionated. Quirky. She’s also funny, smart, and beats to the sound of her own drum, all qualities I respect. So when I felt my frustration rising this morning, for her sake and mine, I had to make the decision to pause, breathe and let go.
Once I did that, things got better. I told my girl I’d leave the decision to her. My daughter apologized for getting mad and got on the bus happily (sans a Cat in the Hat note). And I remembered it could be worse. I could be where I was a year ago today: helping her with the final touches on her science fair board. And that would have taken much, much more patience.
Perspective is key. Let’s give ourselves a laugh today. What have you lost your patience over this week and how could it be worse?