Is there a group of people who need more patience than single mothers? We work; we cook; we clean; we fix; we teach; we play; we watch; we console; we hug; we love. We put everyone else before ourselves.
We don’t do this for thanks or appreciation. We do this for our children. Those fantastic, loveable, hugable little monsters that bring us such joy, but also frustration.
Our children are the great testers of patience.
As babies, my girls cried…a lot. By anyone’s standard they cried more than most babies. My oldest didn’t sleep through the night until she was 10 months old. My youngest didn’t sleep through the night until she was 16 months old…not one night. Because their dad is a pilot I was alone with them half the time, and working full time. I don’t think I slept through the night in almost 3 years. I needed patience.
As toddlers, my girls learned to throw things and hit each other. Where this came from I had no idea. I used reward charts to change what they were doing and gradually they learned. But I needed patience.
As preschoolers, my girls loved to go sledding. I would bundle up each one in endless layers to protect them from the cold. I would carry both girls up the hill, dragging the sleds behind us because the snow was too deep for them to walk in. We would do this over, and over, and over. And I needed patience.
As elementary students, my girls needed to do hours of homework at night. We would sit at the table or on my bed, one daughter on each side, both vying for my attention. I would be helping one with math while the other tried to read to me, because both needed to do this RIGHT NOW. So I needed patience.
As preteens, my girls fought with each other over every little thing. This one takes too long to brush her teeth. That one was making too much noise while I was trying to sleep. On and on they would bicker. Hence I needed patience.
My oldest becomes a teenager in a week. I already feel the drama building with her friends. Friday mornings have become filled with texts about plans for Friday night, plans that change 5 times before they even get out of school. She will push for independence and sometimes fight what I am trying to teach her. She will choose to spend more time with her friends, and she may make some bad decisions.
I will need patience.
Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash