I am not patient. In fact, impatience is one of my major character flaws. And it's my biggest challenge as a mum.
Skye tests my patience about a million times a day. I work hard not to lose it, and to try to understand her behaviour for what it is - not that of someone who is deliberately trying to wind me up (at least not all of the time anyway) but that of a small human with big emotions who has been going through a lot of change in the last few months.
She's such a sociable and outgoing little girl that it's easy to forget how sensitive she can be too. And I know I sometimes expect too much of her because her language and conversation skills make her seem older than she is.
Even though I know all of that it's so hard to keep my cool, especially at the moment when I'm so tired. She doesn't listen, she often just laughs when I tell her off, she refuses to do simple things like get dressed or sit down at the table for lunch and I can feel myself getting so cross. Of course it's all normal toddler behaviour but it's so draining and that makes it hard to deal with. And then I shout and lose my cool and mostly feel totally awful afterwards.
The most annoying thing is that I know the shouting and the losing my cool doesn't really work with Skye. When I stay calm and distract her instead, or engage her in trying to help me with the thing that needs to get done, or make her laugh to get her out of her funk, it's much more effective. On the days when I don't lose my patience we have a much better time and her behaviour is better too. That's because when I'm calm, I model the behaviour I want to see in her. It's frustrating that despite knowing that, I still struggle with it.
And it's not just about working on being more patient. I have to work every day to be the parent that Skye needs. That means loving her and respecting her and giving her the space to be the crazy, wild thing that she is while setting boundaries that make her feel safe but also allow her to learn some independence as she grows up.
I guess we're both still very much a work in progress!