Patience is a virtue

When my first son was born I never felt overwhelmed at the task of being a mom. Caring for an infant seemed practically foolproof: love them, feed them, change their diapers, let them sleep. Pretty straightforward. I always felt sympathy for the moms who second guessed every move they made when faced with the daily routine set by their newborns but I couldn’t really relate. Well, the anxiety and the feelings of doubt that accompany raising children have come crashing down into my reality as of late. Turns out the likelihood of really screwing things up with your children increases as they get older and their memories get better and they can recall every single time mommy boarded the crazy train, with a seemingly one-way ticket, instead of employing all the rational parenting techniques she read about in the lobby of her OB/GYN’s office while waiting to be seen during  pregnancy.

 I happen to live in a house with three young boys who are rowdy and loud more often than not. They are, in fact, so high energy, that in comparison, most other children look to have the activity levels of hermit crabs. I have become a yeller mostly just to be heard but it easily bleeds over into yelling from frustration or anger (insert mom guilt). I just read that one can experience a “yelling hangover,” a combination of losing your cool and the ensuing guilt from doing so. Been there–and now I know it has a name, and not a very desirable on, either. This has led me to make many proclamations about how things are going to change around here. Mostly that I would have more patience or the next time I feel like I need to yell I will whisper instead because that is more effective at getting your children’s attention (Note on whispering: when one’s child is screaming and throwing dog food down the stairs, the other is trying to pee in the corner trumpeting his ability to “potty” and the other is in the next room discovering he CAN get the lids off the paint, whispering is not the answer, locking yourself in the bathroom with a pound bag of m&m’s, or a bottle of wine, or both, is much more effective if one is trying to refrain from yelling.) It feels like patience is never within my reach when I really need it, when things get chaotic I have a hard time backing off the edge of crazy. I cannot, although not for the lack of trying, figure out how to grasp something so elusive.

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

I have read this verse many times but it recently has been more impactful in two ways. One, it contains the attributes I desire as a parent, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control. The things I feel are forgotten in my frustration or in my selfishness as a sinful human who is trying to raise other sinful humans. Two, I am humbly reminded that no matter how hard I try or how much I steel my resolve to do and be better I am still coming back to myself. The fruits laid out in scripture come from the Spirit and the only way I can grow in these is to lay down my self and pick up Christ. No book is going to tell me how to be a better mother or wife (although, some may have some great practical tips) the real change is going to come when I am transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have to continually remind myself of this when I am torn up inside about my impatience or sharp words or anger and frustration, that I, too, am continually being sanctified. All I can really do is pray that God will show me how to be obedient in parenting and I am so thankful for one more day with my children and that in my growth I can show them, practically, what it looks like to be under the grace of God.

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One response to this post.

  1. Yelling hangover, interesting that it has a name. Yep, been there more times than I’d like to recall.

    Reply

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