Guest post by Brenda Jones at Momme Blog

Are you touched out, stressed out, or just plain out of patience? Here are 3 tips to reclaim your patience today.

“You must have so much patience.”

I lost track of just how many times I heard that… before becoming a mom. See, before having my own kids, I was an autism specialist. Whenever someone learned what I did, this was typically one of the first things they’d say to me. And I’d nod, because what else could I say?

Fast-forward to when I had my first daughter. I joked that I “had to retire” because I only had so much patience and it definitely wasn’t enough for my clients and their families as well as my own. And I was right… or so I thought.

Somewhere in all of the stuff that is being a mom, my patience began to degrade. I didn’t notice it until I was losing my ish over what now is silly little things… but back then, they were huge, ginormous, insurmountable, worth-losing-my-cool things.

Have you ever been stuck in traffic and had a car cut you off? It’s never the first car that makes you mad. It’s the 12th car that has you grumbling under your breath and it’s the 23rd car that has you yelling and wishing your car had torpedoes in the front bumper (or maybe it’s just me, lol).

They talk about the straw that broke the camel’s back. You work in the exact same way. It’s never the first whiny “mom” or spilled milk or toy mess that has us ready to run away from home. But somewhere, they reach a tipping point and bam! Patience runs out.

What exactly is patience anyway?

Patience is the ability to tolerate things without getting angry or upset. To me, this means the ability to respond intentionally vs. reacting impulsively.

Patience is the ability to tolerate things without getting angry or upset. To me, this means the ability to respond intentionally vs. reacting impulsively.

Early on in my mommyhood, I was fortunate to make a friend who introduced me to training on how the mind works. Integrating this training with my previous education in behavioral psychology, I’ve been able to understand why we do what we do and create several programs to help moms activate their inner superpowers to realize their “vision board life.”

Now, I’m guessing that running out of patience as a mom is not something on your vision board, so let’s talk about way you can get your patience back and just possibly never run out again!

Patience isn’t really an “on or off” sort of thing. It’s more like a draining battery. Once we get too low, the next little thing becomes the trigger that sets off the avalanche of emotion. While I have a toolbox of tools that I use with my clients, let’s go over a 3 of my favorite ones that can help you right now.

Tool #1: HALT!

Remember when you were a kid and you knew to never ask mom for anything when she was “in a mood”??? There is a reason for that. The mood we’re in changes how we perceive and receive information. I teach my clients to never have an important conversation when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.

Now, let’s be honest… you’re a mom. Tired is probably a given and odds are that the kids ate your food, so hungry is a strong possibility. If you can’t remember the last time you had an adult conversation and you catch yourself watching kid shows long after they’re asleep and not noticing, that may indicate lonely is a thing for you. And anger… that’s that thing we’re talking about preventing. So, rule number 1 is to become aware of when you are feeling less-than-optimal and HALT or stop and take a step back when something flips that trigger switch for you.

Tool #2: Be Present and Enjoy the Moment

Once you’ve caught yourself with the HALT, take a deep breath (or 5) and assess the situation. Really be in the moment and see what else you can see in the situation. I know, somewhere around the “mom, watch me!” for the 100th time this minute, you may be running out of patience. But, just for a moment, think about what it will be like when your child is no longer calling for you to watch every little thing.

Each phase of our children’s lives comes with different challenges… but they also come with different joys. Take the time to sit back and really enjoy the moment you’re in because you never know when something is the last time until that time is gone.

Tool #3: Get your “me” back

And lastly, when you find your patience meter running low, it’s time for you to refuel. Just like we plug our phones in when the battery is low or we put gas in the car… you need to stop and refuel you. When you are at full capacity, you can handle more of what life throws at you with smile and grace. If you take the time to keep your tank “topped off,” you will find that it keeps your patience meter full as well.

Refuel by spending quality “me-time” for yourself. Get sleep, stay hydrated, have a mom’s night out… do things that are Just. For. You. Running errands without kids does NOT count as “me-time” by the way… unless you’re wandering the store with your favorite coffee in hand and shopping only for  you.

These are just 3 quick things that you can do to begin being the patient mom you dream of being. There are so many techniques that I have that can actually release the things that trigger you so, even when you’re running low, that old reaction you used to have is just simply gone now.

So what can you do for yourself today to begin to refuel?