My last post told a story about a complete breakdown of my temper. It's a pretty common issue and that particular story taught me so much about myself and my own issues with patience.
When we are tired, we don't think clearly. We are in a sort of survival mode and make quick decisions based on how quickly it can get us back to bed. Letting the Mutsy issue get to that point in the first place was the first problem. We should have taken the stuffed dog away as soon as Paige cried more than once for us to come in her room. Not letting it go on for a week would have kept our anger from rising about it.
What else did I learn from the situation? Well, I learned that Paige is not a calm and cool thinker in the middle of the night either. It would have been much more peaceful if I'd just switched her jammies altogether right away rather than try to prove a point and teach her a lesson. It was the middle of the night, after all.
The most important thing I learned is that by yelling at my daughter, I had lost control of myself. And because of this the situation got out of hand and Paige was screaming and writhing around. I escalated the entire situation by yelling. A three-year old cannot control her emotions yet. It is my job to remain calm and model the correct behavior. But, I lost my temper and made the whole thing way worse. If I were to do it again, I would grit my teeth and calmly change her jammies. The whole melt down could have been avoided (and even eliminated the need for me to go find a damned wipe which means less work on my end).
When we lose our temper, it can create undue stress. We all know losing our patience can cause us to blow simple situations way out of proportion.
Since that fight, I've learned to notice when I feel myself losing my patience. I stop. I breathe. I notice what is happening. Just doing that alone, I feel more calm. I can almost hear a soothing female voice inside me saying "See? You could be losing your patience, but you will not let a three year old get the best of you. Just calmly walk to your nearest exit and do not run."
Now, I look at my daughter and remember that she's just a baby and learning to navigate through her feelings. It's my job to remain the captain of the ship and calmly steer the course to smooth waters. If the situation at hand warrants a punishment, I send her to the naughty step without fanfare. If I'm simply frustrated, then I tell her that I'm feeling frustrated and need to take a few deep breaths. We both stay calm and she learns how she can handle her own frustration. Win-win.
How do you maintain your patience?