How to Become the Parent You Want to Be

After not so quietly emphasizing “please just go get dressed”, my son responds with an astute observation…

“Mom, your patience seems to be running low today.”

I smile back and quietly whisper…”Yes, I think you’ve got that right.”

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On the days when my patience seems lowest.
On the days when the words from my mouth are more likely to be sour rather than sweet.
On the days when I don’t think there is time to slow down & savor, time to breathe, or time to relax.

Those are my hardest parenting days. And I’ve come to realize that, more often than not,
my children’s behavior is not what leads to my frustrations and lack of patience.

More often than not, the problem is found in me.

It’s found in me not taking care of myself.
It’s found in me not bothering to set an alarm – hence we are running late for school and yet another tardy will send us to the principal’s office.
It’s found in me being frustrated at something in my own life that has nothing to do with the kids.

Whether it’s exhaustion after a night of poor rest,
feeling crappy because I haven’t taken time to exercise,
or a disagreement with my husband.

All of these things, and more, can easily result in me not being the parent I want to be.
So I really have to question where my frustrations are stemming from.

Am I upset with what my child is doing or am I simply not happy in my own circumstances?

I am certainly not saying that children shouldn’t be disciplined or that our children’s behavior never leads to frustration and less than best parenting.

But for me, I’ve found that the better I take care of myself, the better parent I can be.

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So if my goal is to yell less, have more patience, for the words from my mouth to overflow with grace…

Then I need to remind myself that they are only children. I’m the adult here. And I make a choice every day, every single moment, how to respond when their actions and choices are not what I would desire.

And the best way for me to make a parenting choice I am proud of is directly linked to how well I am taking care of myself.

Whether it’s waking up 30 minutes early {even if that means 5:30am} so I can have my quiet time with Christ in solitude, getting out with girlfriends one evening, or going to bed before I normally do so I can be well rested.

All these things help me parent with grace and kindness.

And if you think you just don’t have any extra time in your day to do something for yourself…
I promise that you do!
Even just setting aside a 15 minute walk can do wonders for anyone’s outlook.

It’s never too late to take care of ourselves so we can be the parents we seek to be.
jessica

{Insight into this concept was from The Orange Rhino blog. Years ago, I read this particular post of hers and #8 really hit home with me. I realized that way too often the problem with my parenting was found in me rather than what my children’s behavior was. I’ve come to realize that they will probably always walk a little slower than I think acceptable, be a bit more clingy than I’d prefer, etc. And when I choose to take care of myself first then I am able to make smarter, kinder, more grace filled parenting choices.}

Day 13 of the #write31days challenge!

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Comments

  1. It’s so true that most of the time I am more frustrated or irritated for outside reasons and not solely because of the way my kids are acting. I agree that taking the time to find quiet times to rest, get up early, and get outdoors makes a world of difference in how ready I am to respond well to my children.

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