When it comes to parenting, there are a thousand and one things that can potentially throw me into an abyss of mum’s guilt. Not spending enough time with Sophie, not being able to be a parent volunteer like her friend’s mummy who’s a SAHM, and the worse may be separation during the school holidays …
While my left brain reasons that all these feeling of guilt does nothing to make me a better mum, and I’ll be much happier if I don’t dwell on them. On the contrary, some of them present areas of improvement for me to be better if I can be honest with myself.
When mum loses it
One of my greatest struggle in motherhood is having the virtue of patience or rather the lack of it.
I’m usually a calm and patient person at work, so it’s like I turn from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde when I’m home and my family has to see the worst side of me on days when I’m all stressed out and running low on energy.
Lately this problem has escalated whenever I teach Sophie on weekday evenings. Just this year, we’ve embarked on a daily 30 minutes revision, a routine inspired by Christy, who writes at Kids R Simple, where I’ll go through Sophie’s school work, smart work (aka homework from mummy) and explain some of the homework which she needs help with.
Let me be completely honest and tell you that it’s tough trying to to keep my temper in check when I see shabby work with nonchalant handwriting that resembles cat scratches. Most days, I let it slide but when it happens one time too many I get very annoyed and question where’s that spirit of excellence which we always talk about.
But the one that makes me boil is when Sophie gives me a blank expression or worse, the 3 dreaded words, “I don’t know”, when I ask her a question.
Parenting books would suggest that I take a deep breath and count to 10 to diffuse the heat that’s bubbling within. But my emotion gets the better of me and I erupt like a volcano where hurtful words get rained down hurting Sophie with word that burns and hurts…
Words and hearts should be handled with care. For words when spoken and hearts are broken are the hardest things to repair.
I feel the wrath in my words.
I see it’s effect when tears roll down Sophie’s face as she tries hard to compose herself.
In an instant, I feel crushed for not controlling my temper better.
My behavior is far from what a mum is supposed to be. How can I possibly be her role model when I haven’t got it all together?
Taking steps to be a more patient mum
One thing I’ve learnt as a mum is that you’ve got to learn to take stock of your life. As I begin to dig deeper into why I was having all these outbursts, it was clear I was placing too many expectations on her which stressed both of us out.
One thing that I’ve been hearing from friends is how there’s going to be a jump from Primary 2 and 3 and if unprepared for it, a child may struggle. Although I had the best intentions to guide Sophie myself without sending her for tuition or enrichment, my anxieties stemmed from a place of fear and insecurities that made me less tolerant of her mistakes. I saw how it made her less willing to try and was fearful of giving the wrong answers and getting an earful from me…
This was the opposite of what I was trying to encourage, that is to be unfazed by challenges and always give her best.
“Be the parent today that you want your kids to remember tomorrow.”
Thankfully, I’ve sowed much into Sophie’s life and constantly filled her love tank for her to recognise that my words were said in a moment of heat. Her forgiveness allowed me to move on past my failings as a quick tempered mum to being a more patient mum, one day at a time.
We have been slowly making progress where there were no raised voices, no tears last weekend and learning was much more productive and might I even add, fun.
Is being a more patient parent on top of your wish list? Take steps towards it and don’t give up. Being patient is both hard work and heart work but the fruits of it will be worth it.
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