I believe the virtue of patience was gifted to me when my daughter was born.
While I have patience in parenting, I am not a patient person by nature though.
Put me in a traffic or in a long shopping line and I am a maniac. Put me in crowded Target though with a toddler throwing a temper tantrum and I’m cool, calm, and collected. I recently found the limit of my patience, though, in the phrase “my socks hurt.”
I hear this statement every. single. morning. Sometimes through tears and other times gently. But without fail and no matter the tone, I hear about the extreme pain caused by the soft, plush cotton wrapping her sweet little feet.
Fuzzy socks, ankle socks, knee socks, inside-out socks, no socks. You name it, they hurt. There is no winning this daily uphill battle.
“My socks hurt” has brought me to my knees. These words have tested my patience and have been the reason I dread waking my daughter.
And I hate losing it over socks. It means that the last 10 minutes of our morning leads to tears and yelling. Anger and stomping fills our final moments before parting ways for the day instead of hugs and goodbyes. So after months of losing my cool with no hope of figuring out how to correctly put on socks, I challenged myself to build my patience.
One of the ways I have grounded myself in these morning struggles is through perspective. I try to remove myself from the moment and think and act as an innocent bystander.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
What would I be thinking or saying if I was watching myself in these moments? Would I be kinder to myself or to my daughter? Is there another way to do it that would make us both happy?
Just as our large cities and towering skyscrapers are miniature from an aerial view, pulling back and adding perspective in parenting has put context to our sock fights. I am able to look down on the moment from a 100 ft. up and realize that I am experiencing something that will pass.
From the bystander’s view, I am not only able to see myself, but my daughter as well. I can more clearly see her and her emotions without filtering them through my frustrations and way of viewing the current situation. This perspective has allowed me to slow down and be not as quick to anger.
As an outsider looking in, I find that I am a little stronger, a little more patient and a little closer to unlocking the mystery of socks.