Patience

We just moved to Florida in August so my hubby could start a 5 year (somewhere around 5 years anyway) doctoral program in avian parasitology (yep, bird parasites – maybe I’ll tell you more about him and his passion for birds another time).  We sold our house, left my teaching career, left our church, left our family and friends, and just moved.  I am now a stay at home mom (which I love).  I also write curriculum and tutor on the side.  We have been here for 3 months and I really know no one.  We are temporarily living in a condo while we (hopefully) find a house.  We are not sure exactly where we are going to end up, so we had been reluctant to look for a new church home.  Last Sunday, we finally took the plunge and attended a local church.  Oh how I missed worship!  Music moves my soul.  Singing is when I feel closest to God.  I was nearly in tears as the worship music soaked through me.

I chose this particular church because they have a MOPS group (mothers of preschoolers).  Moms get together, fellowship, learn momsense (how to be a better mom), and study God’s word.  Yesterday, I attended my first MOPS meeting.  It was my first real interaction with any one other than my husband and son since we’ve moved.  I needed that.  I want to share with you what we studied.

The pastor’s wife, Sandy, is a wonderful mentor mom who has 18 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  I am so going to love getting to know her more.  For this meeting, she talked about patience.  Patience is one of the momsense values – a characteristic many moms strive to have — some of us naturally have more patience then others.  Even the most patient moms will have their patience tried by preschoolers.  In all likelihood, we will lose our patience at one time or another.

Sandy began her message by reading James 1:2-4.  Here it is from the NIV.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We learn patience through testing and trials.  This will strengthen us – strengthen our faith – complete us – make us better followers of God – just simply make us better (if we let it).  This is why we have to work at being patient sometimes.

A lack of patience makes us less loving with our children.  That’s not what anyone wants.  We want to raise calm and patient children who feel loved.  Children learn from us.  The more they see calm and patient examples (especially through difficult times), the more patient they themselves will react – the more easily they will be able to deal with life’s struggles.

Here are some of Sandy’s suggestion for how to work on being patient.

  1. Hold your tongue and speak gently.
  2. Know when you’re too tired to deal with patience trying happenings.  Try not to put yourself into those situations when you are tired or more likely to lose your patience.
  3. Lower your expectations.  (This one spoke to me the most).  Do you have unreal expectations for yourself as a mom or for your children?  Are you a perfectionist?  Decide how much mess you can live with and let it go.  Prioritize.  Children are messy and time consuming.  Give them the time they deserve rather than spending time making your house immaculate.  I always feel like a failure when I have a messy house.  As long as it’s messy because I am spending time exploring and learning with Aiden, I’m going to let it go.
  4. Find ways to deal with stress.  Ask for help from friends, family, or even professionals.  You don’t have to mother alone.  (Love that one, too.)  Find the humor in life and laugh.
  5. Know how you were raised.  Were your parents patient, or was anger and lack of patience an issue?  Like I said before, we learn from our parents.  Some things are almost ingrained in us.  Be mindful of this, and seek professional help if you find your lack of patience is a problem for you and your family.
  6. Remember losing your patience is not the end of the world.  Ask for forgiveness.  Learn from the situation.  Try to do better.  Take a moment to breathe.  Try #1:  hold your tongue and speak gently.
Here are Sandy’s suggestions for teaching patience to your children.
  1. Play with them.  (Children learn through play.  The more you interact with them positively, the more positive they will be.)
  2. Go outside.  Sandy says you forget about all of your problems (messy house, etc.) when you just step outside for a while.  I am an advocate of going outside, too.  Let your children explore their world and connect with nature.  Need help finding things to do outside?  Debi at goexplorenature.com always has the best ideas.  She lives in LA, but I’ve found her ideas can be applied nearly everywhere.
  3. Teach them to know the Lord.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, 
          And when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6, NKJV.  You can start by reading bible stories and singing songs to your little one.  Pray before bedtime, meals, and whenever you want to give thanks to God.
My added suggestion:  Love them, love them, love them.  Make sure they know they are loved.  Hug them, kiss them, cuddle with them.  Love them.  ”I love you” is a phrase that we say all of the time in my house.  There’s rarely a goodbye that doesn’t end with, “I love you.”  We also just randomly say it to each other.  Whenever the feeling is in my heart, I say the words out loud.  Aiden is learning to say and sign, “I love you,” too.  Although his version is just to point to you and say, “You” in the cutest way possible.  It melts my heart every time.I needed to hear this message about patience.  I pray that God will help me to be a more patient mom and a more patient wife.  (I think I really need more help with that.)  Lord, help us to love our children and to teach them to follow you.
Thank you for reading!
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The Intentions of a Good Mom: Part 2

Last time I talked about my good intentions regarding diapers and being a green mama.
This time I want to talk about my intentions of being a good mom with respect to baby food.

For the first 10 weeks of Aiden’s life, I stayed home with him. Oh, how I didn’t want that to end.  You see one of my best mom intentions was to be a stay at home mom.  I worked my way up to that goal, but, at first it wasn’t a reality.  So I savored every second with my baby boy knowing I would have to give it up.

The time came when he had to go to daycare – an in home daycare with only one other child 6 months older than Aiden.  I was a good mama here and pumped at work hiding in the supply closet until I found out using the nurse’s office was so much better.  I still used the supply closet when I really didn’t have time to go down to the nurse’s office (when my friend was teaching the last few minutes of my class).  I found nursing to be super easy (well, after getting the hang of it – we had our struggles at the beginning).  I like the fact that I didn’t have to deal with formula and was feeding my son what I knew to be best.

Then, we had to introduce solid food…  Life got a little more complicated.  My intentions, of course, were to make my own baby food and to make sure it was organic.  We started with rice.  The first time I pureed the rice, I broke our food processor.  It was 10 years old, but it had always worked fine before – I had never tried to puree anything though.  I researched tons of food processors and blenders and even read consumer reports.  I settled on a food processor that has performed nicely for me over the last year and a half.  I found a new way to make the rice.  The first recipe involved cooking the rice and then pureeing it.  This took forever, which is why I burned the motor out on my old food processor.  My new recipe required a coffee or spice grinder, which, thanks to my foodie hubby, we had.  I grinded up the organic brown rice until it was dust.  Then, I cooked it (similar to the stuff you buy).  I’m forgetting why now, but somehow we ended up with a box of organic baby food rice.  I think we bought it while I waited for my new food processor or before learned about the spice grinder trick?  I remember liking the boxed organic rice better than the stuff I ground up – we continued to buy the boxed stuff.

About this time, Aiden had a bad reaction to a rotavirus vaccine.  He actually got the rotavirus.  The villi in his intestine were messed up and he could no longer digest cow’s milk protein.  I had to eliminate all dairy from my diet. (I wasn’t eating a ton of dairy products anyway because I knew too much could cause problems for some infants.)  This was just an experiment.  We didn’t really know what caused Aiden’s intestinal troubles.  We were referred to a pediatric gastrointerologist, but the nearest appointment they had was 2 months away.  We were put on a waiting list and got a call a couple weeks later (while I was conducting my experiment).  The doctor basically said, yep, he can’t process cow’s milk protein right now; you need to continue eliminating cow’s milk from your diet. He mostly based this diagnosis off of my experiment.  Aiden no longer had troubles once I stopped eating dairy.  While we were figuring all of this out, our doctor asked us to delay the introduction of new food.  Well, we had only introduced rice.  We took that away, and there was no change.  We took dairy away from me, and there was a change.  The peds gi doctor said he should grow out of the cow’s milk protein allergy/intolerance and I could try eating dairy at 9 months, but Aiden shouldn’t have dairy until he was a year old…

So now we could start introducing solid food again.  I made most of his baby food veggies by steaming and pureeing them.  I baked the sweet potatoes and pureed them.  The best part of making your own baby food (besides the cost – it’s way cheaper) is the fact that you can control the chunkiness and the thickness.  As Aiden got older, I made the food a little chunkier.  The transition to finger foods was super easy since since I was already used to making his food.  Check out http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/ for some great baby food recipes and feeding tips!

Now here’s where I failed with my good intentions again.  When it was time to start introducing meats, I tried pureeing them.  Aiden wouldn’t eat the meats pureed by themselves.  I had to sneak the meats into the veggies and grains.  This wasn’t a big deal when I was cooking foods for Patrick and me that would be Aiden friendly – I just pureed up what we were eating.  But, we don’t really eat that much meat protein.  I felt that Aiden needed more protein than we were eating, so I opted to feed him the jarred baby food.  In my opinion, this is a bit of a mom failure on my part.  My compromise was to only feed him organic jarred baby food (Earth’s Best Organic).  During this time of Aiden’s life, I had just started a new school year and was pretty busy.  Not having to cook two separate meals actually saved me lots of time – more time I could spend with Aiden.  I know there are other protein options and I could have been more creative, but I was too tired at that point to deal with it.

I don’t think I knew just how many choices I would have to make as a parent.  As Aiden gets older, this becomes more and more apparent!

How do you deal with all of the parenting decisions and best of intentions?