Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. But it can also be one of the most stressful and challenging. When you’re tired, overwhelmed, and trying to juggle a million different responsibilities, it’s easy to lose your cool with your kids. We’ve all been there – quickly losing patience over spilled milk or toys left strewn across the living room.
The good news is that patience is a skill that can be learned and strengthened over time. With some practice and persistence, you can become a calmer, more patient parent. Here are some tips to help you be a more patient mom:
Learn to Pause Before Reacting
When you feel yourself getting upset or impatient with your kids, resist the urge to react right away. Instead, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a moment. Count to 10 or say a calming phrase in your head like “This too shall pass.” Putting even a few seconds between the trigger and your response will allow you to collect yourself and choose your reaction more mindfully.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Notice any physical signs that you’re starting to lose patience – like clenched fists, tightened muscles, or quickened breathing. When you catch these early warning signs, take steps to calm down before reaching your breaking point. For example, you might take some deep breaths, stretch your neck, or take a quick walk. Paying attention to your body’s signals helps you manage frustration before it boils over.
Communicate at Your Child’s Level
Get down to your child’s eye level and speak gently in a tone you’d want to be addressed in. Avoid yelling, sarcasm, or hurtful words, as this will only escalate the situation. Short, simple instructions are best for kids – tell them clearly what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want.
Empathize and Validate Their Feelings
Kids often act out when they’re tired, hungry, or upset. Try to understand where the behavior is coming from, even if you can’t allow it. Let your child know you get it – “I know you’re mad that I won’t let you have ice cream. I get upset when I can’t have treats too!” Showing empathy, even when doling out discipline, can help diffuse conflict.
Are you expecting your child to sit silently and color for 30 minutes straight? Or for a 2-year-old to neatly put away all their toys without any reminders? Unrealistic expectations are a huge saboteur of patience. Have age-appropriate expectations for your kids and pick your battles wisely.
If you feel yourself nearing a breaking point, there’s no shame in taking a time out to cool off. Say “Mommy needs a break right now” and step away for a few minutes to collect yourself – even a quick walk around the block can make a difference. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Apologize When You Lose Your Cool
No parent is perfect – we all make mistakes and lose our patience at times. If you snap at your kids when you’re frazzled, go back and sincerely apologize when you’ve calmed down. Let them know losing your temper was a mistake and reaffirm your unconditional love.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Parenting is hard, and you’re going to have bad days. Go easy on yourself when you fail to keep your cool. Instead of dwelling on mom guilt, reflect on what led to the situation getting out of hand and consider how you’d handle it differently next time. We grow the most from our missteps.
Make Sure Your Own Cup Is Full
Running yourself into the ground trying to be supermom will only drain your reserves of patience. Ensure you’re getting enough rest, carving out me-time, and asking for help from others. When your own needs are met, you’ll have much more energy and patience for the kids.
Call In Backup
If you really feel yourself hitting the end of your rope, don’t be afraid to tagteam with your partner or call in backup like a relative or sitter to give you a break. Stepping away and letting someone else take over for a bit can be just what you need to reset. Don’t try to do it all alone.
Institute Calming Routines
Kids thrive on routines that promote peace and calm. Start instituting relaxing rituals into your day, like reading books together before bed, taking nightly baths, or practicing 10 minutes of pre-dinner meditation. Infusing your days with tranquility will help everyone’s mood.
Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you find yourself continually yelling, snapping, or handling your kids too roughly, it may be time to seek the guidance of a professional. A counselor can give you tools to manage anger in healthier ways. There’s no shame in needing extra support.
Practice Patience in Low-Stakes Situations
Look for small opportunities throughout your day to practice being extra patient. Let your toddler “help” you fold the laundry even though it takes longer. Indulge your kid telling you a long, rambling story without interrupting. These low-stakes situations are good practice for when the big patience-testing moments occur.
Do Breathing Exercises
Simple deep breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system and puts the brakes on our stress response. When you feel impatience rearing up, take five seconds to slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat this calming sequence several times until you feel more in control.
Change Your Environment
Noisy, chaotic surroundings can quickly drain your patience reserves. If things are getting too loud and frenzied at home, get out for a change of scenery. Take the kids to the park or library for a dose of peace and quiet. Or even getting them outdoors for a short neighborhood walk can help.
Declutter Your Home
When your living space is chaotic and cluttered, it fuels internal anxiety that makes it much harder to maintain patience. Do a quick tidy-up each night – having an orderly home will promote greater calm for everyone. Marie Kondo was right – decluttering really is life-changing.
Adjust Your Expectations Based on the Setting
Your level of patience might need to be higher at a wedding versus a playground. Changing your expectations based on the situation and setting is key. Similarly, have reasonable expectations for your child’s behavior during travel or special events. Being adaptable is essential.
Take a Parenting Class
You’ll learn so many useful patience-promoting skills in a good parenting workshop, from positive communication techniques to anger management. You’ll also realize you’re not alone in your struggles. Connecting with other parents provides community, advice, and new perspectives.
Let Go of Perfectionism
The quest to be the perfect parent has led many a mother to pull her hair out. Let go of rigid expectations of yourself, and realize that good enough is good enough. Your kids will thrive with a patient yet imperfect mother far more than a perfect but perpetually impatient one.
Read Calm Parenting Books
There are so many amazing books out there that can help reframe the way you parent and approach interactions with your kids. Reading even just a few pages of a thoughtful parenting book every day will shape your mindset over time. Check out authors like Tina Payne Bryson and Dan Siegel.
Strive for Progress Over Perfection
Rather than expecting yourself to morph into the epitome of zen motherhood overnight, focus on concrete progress. Even just going from yelling five times a day to two times a day is real improvement. Celebrate each small step in the right direction.
Model Patience for Your Kids
Your children are watching and learning from you. When you handle frustration calmly, speak gently, apologize for mistakes, and take deep breaths, you model important skills little kids can practice themselves. Your patience ripples out to positively influence their behavior.
Tap Into Your “Why”
Connect with your motivation for becoming a more peaceful parent. Do you want your kids to feel secure? To develop confidence? To be more empathetic and kind? Picture the parent you aspire to be and the life you want for your family, and let this vision guide you and refill your patience reserves when they run low.
Embrace the Magic of “And”
Look for opportunities to embrace “and” instead of “but” when correcting your kids. “I see you want to keep playing AND it’s time to clean up now.” This promotes collaboration over defiance. Better yet, give two positive options – “Would you like to brush your teeth before or after PJs?”
Keep Your Sense of Humor
Laughing together is one of the great joys of parenting. If you can see the comedy in spilled milk or an epic tantrum, it instantly diminishes the power of the situation to tax your patience. Remember how fleeting this precious, chaotic time is and try to enjoy the ride.
In summary, being a patient parent takes commitment and practice, but it is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Work on managing your own stress levels, connect with other parents for support, and don’t forget to show yourself compassion on the journey. With time and effort, you will be able to stay calmer, respond with greater wisdom, and create more peace in your home and family. Your children are worth it!