“I have no patience with my little kids.” I hear you. And here’s how I’m managing.

sleeping kids are goodPatience is not my virtue. And that makes being a parent of small children really tough sometimes.

Part of my patience deficit is the irritability and anxiety that go along with the depression I am managing right now. Part of it is the utter lack of sleep I get because of Grace’s sleep issues. Part of it is just me.

I love my kids. They are wonderful, darling, kind human beings. (I feel it’s necessary to issue that disclaimer before I complain about them.)

However, my kids are not easy going in any way, shape, or form. And you know what that means:

Irritable, sleepy, patience-deprived mom + clingy, needy, high-maintence children = mama on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Man, do I wish I could be one of those moms who doesn’t lose their temper on a regular basis. And I wish my kids could occupy themselves long enough without fighting or whining for me to fold some laundry, do some dishes, play on Facebook, send some important emails.

But they can’t. Not quite yet. So for now, if they are home and I really need a chunk of time to cook dinner, de-crumb the kitchen floor, or just, you know, breathe, on goes the TV.

GASP! It’s true! I let my kids watch TV for more than 20 minutes at a time!

Whatever works, people. We’re talking about my own sanity here.

But you know what? I think it’s going to get better. I really do.

Because something occurred to me the other day. No, not occurred to me. Hit me like the proverbial bolt of lightening.

WHY in the WORLD do we moms feel like we have to be good at every single stage of childhood?

When our little kids irritate us, we beat ourselves up over it. We think, shouldn’t we love them and all their “isms” when they are babies, toddlers, preschoolers? Shouldn’t we have endless patience for them because they are our precious little punkins, our flesh and blood, our babies?

I say NO.

Think about it: Some child caregivers adore babies, some go into early childhood education, some teach grade school. These people choose to work with the age they connect best with.

As parents, we don’t get to choose what age we want to work with.

So I think it’s unrealistic to think that just because a kid is our kid, we’re going to be naturals at parenting at every stage of their existence. We’re going to be great at some stages and not so great at others. We need to ease up on ourselves, people.

And since I am finding that my lack of patience is not easily conducive to being a good parent to young kids, I have been making changes. And they’re working. I am:

  • Taking meds that help manage my irritability
  • Seeing a therapist who gives me ideas on managing my kids
  • Working out twice a week
  • Not being a full-time SAHM: I work 2.5 days/week
  • Getting a sitter 4 hours/week for me time and/or solo errand time

Maybe as my kids get older my patience will increase. Or maybe I will need to do most or all these things for the rest of my life with kids to be a more effective, happy mom.

Who knows. All I know is that things are getting better because of the things I’m doing. So I’m gonna keep doing them. And it’s really helping me to both ease up on myself and be a better mom.

Are you having a hard time with the parenting stage you are in? What are you trying to make it easier?

photo credit: Dyrk.Wyst via photopin cc

Comments

    • says

      I firmly believe that TV shows are a perfectly acceptable distraction for our kiddos. And I also firmly believe that I’d lose my mind without that daily distraction. Sometimes an AM dose of Dora is the only way I get a shower.

  1. says

    I hear you… although, in my case it’s the teenage years that I dread. I really loathe teenagers, I hated them even when I was one. They’re loud, obnoxious and a total pain in the behind. And I was the worst of them, which pretty much assures me that my kids will probably be difficult too (you know all that thing about karma being a bitch and sutff). So you’re right, we cant expect to always love every stage of parenthood. All we can do, is suck it up and do the best we can. Thanks for another great post!
    Karine recently posted… Motherhood: Not a "Real Job"?!?My Profile

    • says

      Thanks, Karine! I was totally embarrassed by my mom all the time. It must have been so hard for her. Ugh. So, yeah, I can say I’ll do better during the teen years, but if my kids are humiliated by me constantly … well, we have a boarding school in town, too. ;-)

  2. says

    Girl, I hate to tell you how much TV my kids watch. Especially my little one. If I can find something that will (usually) keep her quiet for thirty minutes, then bring it. I think our sanity is very important. If having time away from our kids (whether they are with a sitter, in front of the tv, whatever it is) makes us better moms, then it is for the best. We gotta do what it takes to get us through this tedious job… er, I mean, joyous miracle called motherhood. ;)

    Glad you are working on YOU and the depression stuff. In my opinion, everyone needs a therapist. I wish I could still afford mine. Someday…
    Ali recently posted… Dude, Where’s My Pillow?My Profile

    • says

      Do you remember in 80s movies how people often talked casually about “My therapist says this/that/other thing?” and it seemed like all yuppies had therapists? That seemed like a good idea to me then – and now!

    • says

      Eight and ten. You know, that seems so far away, but Lizzie is turning 6 next month. And I feel like she was just 4. So … I guess it’ll be here sooner than I think. Yeeks!

  3. says

    I’m with you on this. Mine know how to get on my nerves and make me scream, especially when I have to listen to the 159th fight of the day over who gets to play with which toy and the biting and hitting that comes with it. Makes me want to pull my hair out!
    And t.v. limits? Well, mine mostly watch videos on the computer, but who came up with a 20 min. a day limit? Most shows are at least 30 min., and what kid would be happy to stop before it is done because “there is a limit of 20 min.”. Usually they get “Micky Mouse Clubhouse” just before lunch, but their main video time is while I’m cooking dinner. I’d rather listen to Winne the Pooh for the millionth time than try to break up fights while keeping dinner from burning.
    I stay sane by getting up early so that I can have coffee in peace, then exercise. The exercise really makes a difference. And I insist on naps, even though often one or both of the older 2 don’t always sleep. Just having them in their room away from me gives me a much-needed mental rest.
    Mercy recently posted… Monthly Weigh-in – FebruaryMy Profile

    • says

      I’m with ya. Dinner time is an impossible feat without the TV to help me. I remember asking my mom friends in my playgroup what their kids do when they’re trying to cook dinner and confessing that I always put the TV on for my kid. My one friend innocently asked, “But won’t she just color or do puzzles while you cook?” I was like, Um, NO. Yours does? Seriously? I was so jealous. But that’s her kiddo’s personality – super independent. Mine? Not so much…

  4. says

    Listen, my kids watch way more TV than is recommended – and friends of mine admit privately to the same thing. The fact is, I know I watched a ton of kid shows in the seventies and my Mom didn’t think anything of it. And you know what, I’m ALMOST NORMAL. In fact, I excelled at school and managed to survive to adulthood, even as my folks moved me many times to new states and even to a new country. Parenting has become this unrealistic pursuit of perfection that is basically unsustainable for anyone who is not a completely self-sacrificing martyr. Something’s gotta give. You need to do what you need to do, and they will be FINE. That’s my two cents, anyway, and I’m stickin’ to it!
    Naps Happen recently posted… Guest Napper #65 – Ow ow ow ow!My Profile

  5. says

    I’ve always prided myself on being a really patient person, and mom in particular. But recently each one of my three kids and even husband feel like they’re putting me through the ringer. It’s coming at me from all angles lately, especially because our kids range from one to nearly twelve. I Blogged recently about some of the major changes were making around our house too. And seriously, I’m too exhausted to even stay updated on my beloved blog posts anymore… :/

    • says

      Yeah, I go through phases where life is just too challenging to do anything but get through the day. Blog goes by the wayside for a week or more. I honestly don’t know how so many moms I know online can write new posts several times a week. I guess a large part of my problem is my lack of sleep. If I got steady sleep each night I could get up early and write. But I don’t. Someday, hopefully, I will!

  6. says

    Love this. I used to teach 3-5 year olds before I had my own and loved it. It is so completely different with my own. TV is essential if there is going to be dinner at our house. There is no sitting quietly with books or puzzles, but that would be magical.
    Rose recently posted… Planting SunflowersMy Profile

  7. AllyD34 says

    I found this site by accident. I’m so glad I found it! I actually feel somewhat normal now! I was trying to find sites like, “keeping calm around your kids” and “how to deal with anger,” etc. I’m trying to have a clean house and laundry done and well behaved kids and, and, and…..I feel grouchy pretty much all the time:( I think I just need to relax a bit!!
    It’s so nice to hear about all of you NORMAL moms!

  8. Kate says

    My kid drives me “”NUTS!!!!!”” Somedays I think that there is something wrong with me because I have no patience with her. I love her to death, but I am always loosing my cool and becoming fustrated with her. I am a little scared for her to go to school, but on the other hand I am really looking forward to having anytime to myself. Being a mother has been the most DIFFICULT JOB IVE EVER HAD. I am thankful for this thread because I understand that nobody is perfect and that we all struggle from time to time in parent hood. I can tell you for sure that I did not have a single maternal instinct in my body when my little one was born, but I am learning. Who ever said that “all women have maternal instincts” have to lay off the glue stick. I would not trade my little “mini me” for anything in the world but i am sure that we all need a break from time to time which I never seem to get from my little one. Perhaps if i had a little more time to myself i would have much more patience and understanding, but until school begins I can only guess. Take Care and best of luck in this world of parenting…lol.

    • says

      Hi Kate! I’m just seeing this comment from a few months back! I hope all is well and you are enjoying a little more “me time” now that your kiddo is in school. Thanks for commenting on Honest Mom! -JD

  9. Alex says

    Oh, I need this comraderie badly. I am a “new” step-mom (my husband and I were married last year), my step-daughter is twelve and my step-son is ten. I actually knew my husband and his kids years before we even started dating; therefore, I have been building a relationship with them for years. For the most part, day-to-day life with the kids has been going well…well, until they just hit this wall, wherein the ten year old whines about every little thing constantly, and the twelve year is an on the verge of angst, pre-teen. Lately, I have just been so annoyed, and I am often described by others as being quite patient. In short, I will say that this post resonates with me on many levels; I do think there is great truth and insight in the fact that we (parents) won’t always have the same “relationship” with the our kids throughout their development. I never really liked myself when I was in middle school, and I certainly remember giving my mom a near heart attack almost daily. So, I try to cling to these thoughts in order to have enough patience to not rip my hair out when our twelve year old has a meltdown over the most trivial thing.

    • says

      Hi Alex! I’m just seeing your comment from October. Ah, tweenhood – I have to say I am not sure how I’ll survive that time period. Especially when I have one girl who is 15 and one who is 13 – GAH!!!

      My oldest is in 1st grade now, and I find her SO much more enjoyable to hang out with now. She’s still clingy, but she’s able to do more things that I find fun, too. My younger daughter is now four, and she is in a very cute stage right now. Both girls can play independently for about 45 minutes at a time now – and even play together without fighting – sometimes. LOL.

      So I guess that goes to show that just when it seems things can’t get worse, a kid can hit another developmental milestone and do a 180 degree turnaround. ;-)
      honestmom recently posted… To be comfy or to be fashionable? That is the question.My Profile

  10. says

    I needed this today but once I read the SAHM and getting a baby sitter for a bit one of the days, that sent me off again… I work full time (10 hour days 5 days a week) My DH works around the clock on-call every day of the year so I am really just a single mom and the thought of having a day were someone could watch my kids and I did have to work -to do WHATEVER I want is a serious GIFT! You make me wish I could quit my job!

    • says

      Oh, Brigitte, I'm so sorry. That sounds so awful. I worked full-time when my first was younger. Out of the house at 7:30am, home at 6:30pm. Long commute. Felt like I didn't know my kid and never saw my husband. So I had some similar feelings that you have right now.

      Do you have PTO at work? Can you take a personal day to get to regroup and recharge? And is finding a different job (eventually) an option? That is what I ended up doing.

      When I was preggo with my 2nd and having early contractions from the stress, my husband and I decided to make a major life change and I changed jobs. It took a lot of thinking and a lot of cutting stuff out – but it did help my sanity and our overall happiness. Of course, every situation is different – but are there any changes you can make to ease the stress?

    • says

      Thank you for your reply! I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe some day things will change. We do get PTO, not much and I usually end up burning it up in the first half of the year with sick kids. I know I am not the only mom with these feels. The hardest part is being so tired, annoyed with my DS and his ability to push my buttons and holding my DD crying for more time with my kids. I am sure more time with my DS would make him a better son. I thank you for your support and will conitue to work on something to change!

  11. says

    “Irritable, sleepy, patience-deprived mom + clingy, needy, high-maintence children = mama on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
    Sooooo spot on it’s scary. I love it. I love knowing that I’m not alone in freaking out and losing my temper, or at least being on the verge way too often.
    I try to take my kids to daycare once a week, but my husband works a lot, and weird hours, so it feels like I’m alone with them literally all day and night, seven days a week…one day is not enough!!!
    (And then comes the guilt associated with wanting to ESCAPE my adorable children. Ugh.)
    Sarah D recently posted… Don’t Eat the Soap (Or Do…I’ve Checked Out)My Profile

  12. says

    OMG! I am so glad I found this post!!!! I used to think I was awesome at motherhood until my DD turned 5 yrs old and started Kindergarten. My career is growing by leaps and bounds, but I feel like my patience with her is plummeting simultaneously.

    I just left my FT job a few weeks ago to be more available for all the homework that comes with Kindergarten and to focus on my biz. Maybe Im still winding down, but Im tired of beating myself up mentally because she’s tap dancing on my nerve everyday. It’s just good to hear that 1)Im not alone and 2) this thing might go in stages.

    Thank you so much. I’ll be back!!!

  13. says

    I feel you mama! I have five kids ages four and under. Some days I have to just leave my house with them (babysitting budget gets maxed out quickly in our house). I'm a better parent when I'm being watched. That's about as creative as my brain will let me be these days ;)

  14. Ana Mamana says

    omg, omg, I think I'm going to cry! this is so me! and everybody around me thinks I'm some kind of super-mom! hell, no! You have really touched my <3 with this post (I have just discoverd your FB page)! And I love your tips about how to make some changes (I might use a few)! And yes – that's EXACTLY what I feel and what I keep telling people and my hubs: "I'm good with kids who are older, even teenagers."
    Btw – I have 4 little kids (8-year-old and 'Irish triplets' under age 4).

  15. says

    Wow! If you did not just hit the nail on the head for me! Such a different perspective for me. I just had a long conversation with a friend who is also going through the same struggles with our very independent, strong-willed children. Thank you for writing this – I will not beat up on myself so much!

  16. says

    My kids are 3 and 5, and I’ve found a system to keep them off my nerves. In the morning, I stay off the internets and pretend it’s 1983. I’m all mom til they both go to PreK.

    Then, after school, it’s whatever goes. If I need to work, I do. Nap? I turn on PBS.
    nicolette @ momnivore’s dilemma recently posted… pimp my minivanMy Profile

  17. Lindsay Cooper says

    Hello – thanks for this post. I found it when I googled “I don’t have enough patience for my toddler”. Surprisingly (or not) there were a lot of results! This age – a week away from turning 2 – is turning me into a terrible-2-yo-mom. I feel like I’m constantly alternating between anger/frustration and guilt for feeling anger/frustration. And my husband is ready to have another!
    Can I ask – how did you know it was depression and not just normal mommy stress? I just read the post you linked to about your depression and it really hit home. I never went to a doc or was diagnosed with PPD, but would not at all be surprised if I did in fact have a mild case that never quite resolved itself.

  18. Lisa Joe says

    my two daughters are nothing but energy, it gets difficult to be with them at times, they do well with routines, stuff they like and expect, physical play beats tv and toys anyday, going for a walk with them or going to a playground helps meet their need for physical activity, they love playing with other kids, learning and growing from eachother.mom is toughest job on earth, when my two yr screams, I've been saying the words I think she should say for example when I know she wants a drink of water, I will say it and ask her to say it and she tries by saying wawee, anyways, goodluck and hope you find a way that works for you, I am trying communication and rewarding with praise and fun physical activity.

  19. says

    I am sooooo in this stage right now. I have a just barely 2 yo and a 5 mth old. I sometimes wonder why I haven’t run away screaming and pulling out my hair. But! What in earth did women used to do “back in the day”? Are women just softer now? Are kids more annoying? What changed?? Oh and please share…. What meds do you have to control irritability???
    Tracy @ The UnCoordinated Mommy recently posted… The One Where A Bottle of Resolve Saved Our Security DepositMy Profile

    • Karen says

      I’ve thought about this question of “what did women do ‘back in the day'” alot. Off the top of my head these are the things I think have changed: Internet: we have access to a whole-world full of information AND we have access to others who can relate. Media coverage: we have hundreds of tv channels to choose from, and the programming runs the gamut The news media in particular (IMHO) isn’t what it used to be ‘back in the day’. Medical research: has made leaps and bounds in the area of mental health (and all areas of health for that matter). Off the top of my head these are the things I think have NOT changed: people, and their struggles with life (and pertaining to this topic … specifically moms and children).

  20. says

    Oh my goodness thank you SO much. When my husband and I were talking about having kids, I was up front that I don’t really care for babies. I mean, I love my kids and I loved them as babies, but kids are my specialty. I just put up with the babies to get to the kids. Some of my friends are exactly the opposite. And that’s okay. It’s how human beings work, after all.

    Thank you again.
    Celeste recently posted… Blame the MessengerMy Profile

  21. Jamie Wagner says

    I have a child who is almost four hes very intelligent but gets aggressive and he has no patience to sit and learn new things and here latley hes been telling us Now or other words and he knows its disrespectful and knows we get upset with him at time but he gets out of control at times and we are on our last thread so to speak we don't do corporal punishment and we don't allow anyone do it either family members and we don't know if he has adhd like his father has or if hes autistic and the last doctor we seen who was suppose to be checking for signs of autism in him kept asking about my personal life about if I had a partner etc which at the time this was goin on I was single and that wasnt important to me my son was and still is and he has some other issues that concern me at times but ive brought it up to his doctor and it seems all she cares to do is having more kids since the first time we seen her she had a toddler at home but not to long after a few visits she was havin a lil girl which he didn't want anything to do with her not even an eleven months after she was born we find out once again she was having a baby and he still had issues with things but anyhow it seems endless that he doesn't want to listen but we are all goin to be seeing a different doctor so maybe he or she can help us out with some of his issues but its hard some are easy but good luck to all the parents out there.

  22. says

    Thank you…my patience is shot, I am exhausted and I constantly feel guilty when I lose patience and deal with the situation outside my ideal! I often feel like I am falling into an abscess of insanity! I have a 1 & 2 year 7 month old…both are very boisterous, very affectionate and very clingy. My older child has dropped his day sleep (if he has one he does not sleep at night), and my youngest wakes twice a night & rises at 5:30am. So tired!!!!

  23. says

    like everyone else here my patience is not only shot, it's been beaten while down & buried in a shallow grave out back. ;) With 3 kids (two boys age 9 & 4 and a 7 yr old girl) It's so nice to know I'm not alone. … My husband has been deployed for 186 days so far (not even 1/2 way done). My only family is 4 time zones away (5 hour difference). Of the 2 real friends I have made here -1 is going through a divorce & the other has no "crazy kids" – only so much help there… AND this week I broke my foot (+I can only take motrin for pain since what they gave me knocks me ou)t. OH and my oldest has the flu…. I feel like I am going to LOSE MY MIND! …..I feel like all I have been doing is screaming during the day & crying all night. Somehow knowing others don't like their kids every minute of everyday makes me feel better. So Thank you for that.

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  25. says

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    the forest download free recently posted… the forest download freeMy Profile

  26. Renee Isunique Moten says

    I am a mother of 3..small boys, ages,6,5&4…patience is NOT my strong point,I do manage pretty well if I do say so myself.Before I had children of my own my patience were at an all time high.I just keep in mind that my children are only getting older and one day , I'll have some peace&quiet!!lol :-)

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  28. Shandell Marie says

    readingthis is such a relief for me. My patience are non existent and i have a 5 and a 3 year old. I think when they become a little older I'll be great but as of right now i honestly. Can't deal with the whining and fighting and crying constantly im happy to know I'm not alone

  29. Monica Mccown says

    Thank God I'm not the only one. I have 2 small boys, both under the age of 2 and my patience lately has been very limited. I need to work on having alone time and exercising out of the house

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