Patience. That is a skill I have had to learn much later in life, needless to say it is still a big struggle. In fact, by any standards of measurement I doubt very much that there would be many people to describe me as a patient person.
It’s not that I do not want to be patient, it’s that there are these little fiery bubbles that make me feel like something inside is about to overflow. These bubbles aren’t part of my being; they are what I refer to as little ticklers.
And then the life-size ticklers came along in the shape of children. They know every button to press, to manipulate, mould and shape. Children are incredibly gifted when it comes to manipulation. They have the unfair advantage of being a part of you both physically and emotionally.
Often I find that the closeness I share with my children makes me both easy to read when manipulation is their goal, and the same emotional ties seem to make frustration linger closer. The only mature and practical way to deal with the situation is to resort to patience and divine intervention perhaps.
I have come to the conclusion that parenting is an emotional roller coaster that requires one to have patience and practical prioritisation in equal amounts.
An evening in the life of a mother of three...
A quiet and possibly triumphant evening. Time check, 19:30hrs. The six year old twins have finished their dinner, brushed their teeth and are dressed and ready for bed. The 15-month-old toddler is also fed and changed and being rocked gently to sleep.
The twins come for a goodnight kiss before they retire to their rooms. All is well, all is quiet. Perhaps when the toddler is in his bed she can set the table for two, dim the lights and take out that chilled bottle of wine to enjoy with her dear husband when he gets home. Yes, that should be a pleasant surprise since it is his first night of leave off work. The evening is turning out to be a real treat- most nights they are swamped by the kids and work.
The baby is asleep in her arms now. She should take him to bed but she is enjoying the warmth of the bundle in her arms, the still of the night and the general silence. Peace. She starts to doze off with a smile till she is awakened by the sound of a car driving in. The husband is home now. No time to reset the table but she will take out the wine once she lays the baby down. 19:55hrs, she’ having a glass of wine with her hubby on the sofa as he catches the tail end of the sports news.
An agitated cry breaks through. The hubby rolls his eyes and says “here we go”. “I’ll check on the girls”, he says. God bless him. She tears herself away to attend to the crying baby but her thoughts are filled with frustration. “How dare he be so inconsiderate, does he know just how lucky he is to have such a loving family, he’s been fed, changed, bounced, hugged, kissed and rocked to sleep. Everything! I’ve done everything, what more does he want?”
She is seething with fury at herself, fighting off feelings of guilt because she is frustrated at a situation that she should be well accustomed to by now.
There shall be no romantic dinner. They shall stumble into bed exhausted. But they both have to learn to be patient and count their blessings. Such is parenting.