Learn to be More Patient With This Trick

I was teaching a Baby Signing Time Class with two out of three kids in tow, when after class a mama came up to me and said “You’re so patient, I don’t know how you do it!”

I laughed, and replied “Thank you, some days its better than others.”

With three kiddos at home, and another on the way I often get comments about “having my hands full”, especially after people learn about Em being Deaf. But, this particular comment has always stood out to me as one of the best comments ever received.

I am not always a patient mom – I loose my temper just like every other mom.  I get hangry, grumpy when I don’t get a good sleep, and overstimulated when I’ve been touched out. There are days I’d rather just hide under the covers and not have to parent.

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Honestly, there are times my emotions get the best of me, and I can seem just like my 2 year old throwing a tantrum when things aren’t going well. Despite my best efforts, I yell when I’ve asked my kids to clean up for the 100th time. I get annoyed when someone calls for help with something I know they can do on their own when I’ve just sat down for a rest.

The compliment from this sweet mama reminded me of a secret that helps me try to be a patient mom most of the time and not just in public.

The secret is that we all parent better when we know someone is watching us. So we have to have the mindset that there is ALWAYS someone watching.

I know I’m not perfect, but I know that I can always wake up the next day and try again.

When I speak to my kids, I want to correct them in a calmer way and get better results because they feel respected rather than intimidated.

I want to get down to their level and speak kindly rather than loom over top of them being bigger and more powerful.

I want them to know that I value their stories and their opinions.

I want them to go over expectations, just like we do before head out to the store or other outing.

 

That’s the kind of mom I strive to be in my own home.

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And the reality is, someone is always watching: our kids.

They see how we handle our emotions. We are their models.

If we want them to be able to control their emotions, we need control ours first.

They are always watching to see how we react to situations, they see our flaws and our strengths. They learn from us how to function with those big feelings that often explode from their little hands and mouths.

Let’s try to show them how to think about our words before we say them to avoid hurting others in our anger.

Let’s try to show them how to own our mistakes, and work with others to find a solution so they don’t happen as often.

Let’s try to teach them to use their words instead of whining, making demands, or yelling.

Let’s try to model mindfulness for them, and teach them to stop and take a breath before reacting. Or stepping away from the situation to cool down before we say something we regret.

Let’s try to show them problem solving skills and working together for solutions just like we do out in public.

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Remembering that they are watching, helps keep me in check and drives me to be a better mom.

They are our most important judges after all. Their view matters more than anyone. Their view forms not only the memories of their childhood, but how they will grow and navigate within the world.

 

Communication Frustrations

With the other week being Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness for Mental Health, I was so excited to see Maternal Mental Health was also talked about.

Parenting is hard. There are moments filled with the highest of highs; everything is going relatively well, we’re getting the hang of it, this is the best gig ever! But it’s also filled with the lowest of the lows; this sucks, I have no idea what I’m doing, nothing seems to be working.

As a mama with a Deaf kiddo, we have had a lot of highs and a lot lows.

I remember before we discovered Em was Deaf, feeling so defeated every time she would drop to the floor and bang her head while she cried because she couldn’t tell us what she wanted. It was so heartbreaking as a new mother to watch our little girl become so frustrated almost every day.

I had seasoned mother friends tried to reassure me telling “they all do that”, “it’s just a phase”, or “its normal for them to throw temper tantrums”. As a first time mama, I wanted to believe them, but I knew deep down it was because of something bigger.

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Even after her diagnosis at 16 months the frustrations still continued. She soaked up ASL like a sponge, and we almost couldn’t keep ahead of her. We could see she wanted to learn to speak, but because she couldn’t hear all the speech sounds she struggled. She would attempt to say something and when we didn’t get it she would just melt. Anytime something didn’t go her way, she would scream and cry for a good 45 minutes then just go to sleep from exhaustion.

I remember feeling isolated, alone, and doubting my abilities, as I know we all do as mothers. I would bawl to my husband about things that happened throughout the day, and just wishing to be able to communicate better with Em. Our journey with Em has been long and hard and I know there’s still more to come. But I know our past experiences give us strength to endure and press forward.

Yet even in those seasons of despair, we have also had a lot of highs; hearing Em say “I love you” for the first time; recognizing her name sign; hearing leaves crunching in the fall and finding so much excitement from the new sound; along with so many others.

Em is now 7 and flourishing in ASL. Her spoken language has improved so much from those first few years, and she works hard at everything she does. She can communicate openly whichever way she chooses with us, and loves to make others laugh with her silliness. I had no idea in those dark moments just how amazing having a Deaf kid really can be.

Motherhood has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding.

So let’s keep that conversation going. Let’s celebrate those highs, and find support in those lows. Because motherhood really is beautiful.

You Do You

The other week I had met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. It was great to chat and catch up and talk about what was going on in each others lives.

She was telling me how her kiddo loved a certain TV series on Netflix, and how they also liked this show and that show.

Then she said “It makes it sound like he watches a lot of TV, he doesn’t.”

Why do we as moms sometimes feel the need to justify ourselves? Or explain ourselves?

Your kiddo watched 3 hours of TV today? Mine have those days too!

You fed them popcorn and apple juice for lunch? Welcome to my house last week!

Your kiddo is 5 and still naps? I wish!

You don’t have to justify anything you do for your family. What works for your house, may not work for another and that’s fine! As long as everyone is healthy, happy, and cared for that’s all that really matters.

So let’s stop justifying ourselves and just be.