Devotion in Motion: On Patience

For me, one of the toughest challenges of day-to-day motherhood is patience. My biggest regret? The times when I’ve lost patience with my kids over something silly and ended up yelling like a raving lunatic.

It’s ironic that a sense of urgency can be a real advantage in the business world yet that same sense of urgency applied to kids, especially little ones, can trip us up. Countless times I’ve impatiently watched my kids and thought, “What’s so hard about putting your shoes on? How long does it take to slip on a tennis shoe and fasten a Velcro strap? Jeez, why can’t you guys just focus?”

When your kids act like a bunch of … well, kids, it’s easy to forget they aren’t supposed to be ultra-focused. They’re not corporate executives in training. They’re little kids who are supposed to get the giggles when they put their shoes on, watch an ant crawl all over the driveway, linger over a plate of chicken nuggets and walk leisurely to their destination.

Problems arise when we mamas forget to build in enough time for naturally pokey kids to be themselves. We leave ourselves only five minutes to get everybody’s shoes on, load the entire group into the van and buckle all of us up. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know it’s going to take longer than that because, invariably, someone’s shoe will be missing. Someone will need a last-minute potty break. Someone will decide that he really, really needs to wear his Spiderman shirt instead of the boring blue one. All these things take time, but if we haven’t allowed for a time “cushion” we’re going to get irritated and start snapping at the people around us.

We live in a society that puts extra value on being quick and efficient. But if there was ever a job that requires flexibility – especially with time – it’s motherhood. Personally, this is a really tough lesson for me because I can’t stand to “waste” time. It takes a lot of self-discipline to structure my day in a way that allows for the extra time my kids need to get from Point A to Point B. My answer, my mama homework, is to remember three important points: 1) God is always patient with me, despite my faults. 2) I want my kids to learn to be patient people. 3) It will be a whole lot easier for my children to learn patience if they see it demonstrated by their mother.

This week’s Bible verse: “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 New Living Translation)

From one mama to another, here’s hoping you have a wonderful, rush-free week with your family and plenty of opportunities to display a greater sense of patience.