Failing to be a patient mum, again

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.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.


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Comments: 15

  1. Michelle Ang April 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm Reply

    hi susan

    do u have any method to control the volcano from erupting in front of kid while teaching them their school work?? my girl is she forgets what i tell her for chinese words and refuse to write out the chinese words when we test her her chinese spelling …and i think her chinese teacher in p3 dont know how to teach…as i check with a few classmates in the same class all their ca results have drop…and my girl Sa1 is coming soon….so i am quite worried. any advice ??? my girl Ca1 result is just borderline pass…now she seem not interested in chinese. she is quite good in Maths. As for english and science her result are in the medium range….but she likes english and science…she commented she dont like chinese as got too many strokes to write.

    • Susan April 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm Reply

      Hi Michelle, deep breathes, count to 10 and walk away if you need to calm yourself down. Before we start revision, I’ll lay down my expectations and tell my daughter that I expect full concentration so that we can get it over and done with.
      As for her Chinese, is it also because the standard has become much tougher for her that’s why she feels defeated? May be helpful to have a word with the teacher as well. I’ve been getting my girl to read and write more in Chinese to keep her interest and it even includes reading Chinese comic books. As for writing, don’t think can really run away from more practice to help her get familiar with the character.

  2. Christy @ April 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Hi Susan, I feel you totally! I have been through a stage with my Missy 12 who was then in P3 when eyes-rolling, cross arms, head turned away from me when I was trying to teach her. Perhaps Sophie is not like my girl who showed such unacceptable attitude, but I remembered I felt defeated raising at the top of my voice at her, banging table and was feeling as a lousy mum. Patience has a limit and it takes conscious effort to keep cool. In fact, our kids are constantly creating situations and forcing us to learn to be patient. What I am super glad is that it was a passing phase for my girl and now, she shows very good attitude in our daily #30minrevision, it makes life easier for both of us and we could accomplish a lot as there is no longer frustration that wastes our time.

    I am glad you have put lots of love in the love bank and Sophie is a wonderful girl who will flourished under your teaching and love! Don’t be too hard on yourself! You are definitely the BEST MUM to Sophie!

    PS: Thanks for the mention! I am happy that the 30 min revision is benefiting both of you 🙂

    • Susan April 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience Christy and the journey of how far your girl have come with a much better attitude towards learning. I’ve been reminded by many that we need to remember that there is a process for everything and overtime, things can and will improve. Agree with you that when the frustrations are out of the way, things are much more productive.
      Will continue to do the 30 mins revision and this intentional time with her is also a good time for catching up on her day 🙂

  3. Madeline Heng April 12, 2017 at 10:42 am Reply

    Teaching your own kids is often the hardest thing to do!!! I can be super calm with my tuition kids but with my own girl, I just have a higher expectation. Hahaha. Ah well, jiayou! We’ll do better tomorrow.

    • Susan April 12, 2017 at 6:21 pm Reply

      I know EXACTLY what you mean, which is why I have the Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde syndrome…Yes, let’s jia you, jia you, jia you to be more calm and cool-headed mums.

  4. Ai Sakura April 13, 2017 at 9:36 am Reply

    I feel you Susan, I feel you. As it is, I’m not a very patient person and sometimes I really just lose it with Lil Pumpkin too. One thing I’ve learnt how to deal is to really.. let it go haha. Eg For subjects like Chinese and Math, I let hubby take care of teaching her.. it helps to relieve the load and stress from teaching her so many things as well as let hubby be involved in her sch work too

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  5. Michelle Hon April 13, 2017 at 11:47 am Reply

    I know exactly what you mean. It wasn’t the “I don’t know”s that got me, it’s the nonchalant, “don’t care” sort of attitude that turned me into a full on tiger-mum. I never knew I could be so scary. I’m better now though. I guess it takes the worst to bring out the ‘better’ mums in us. We are learning along with our children. Cut yourself some slack from time to time. *Hugs*

  6. Shub April 14, 2017 at 10:35 am Reply

    Ha! I can feel you…This is one thing that I am not sure when and whether I will achieve fully. Maintaining patience in front of kids really needs some method. Thanks for this post.

  7. Geraldine April 17, 2017 at 4:01 am Reply

    Oldest is entering primary school next year and my volcano has already erupted many times teaching money concept. Shudder to think what’s coming up!

  8. Jacqualine April 21, 2017 at 3:33 pm Reply

    *HUGS* I am teaching my 5yo how to spell and write and all right now and I think it is pretty common for us to “lose it”, especially on tiring days when we already have so much on our plate.

    Jia you ok!! <3

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