Wednesday, January 9, 2013


They don’t sell patience at Target. I’ve checked.

If I look at myself honestly, and truly that’s the only way I know how to look at myself, I have many of the qualities that make for a good mom. I’m loving (my three beans are hugged and kissed to excess all day every day), I’m nurturing, I’m skilled at the art of extreme silliness, and I’m a good teacher. What I’m not by nature is patient.

My lack of patience is somewhat legendary in my family, and in my marriage. It shows its less-than-pretty face in any number of situations from driving (it took years to adjust to the slower driving pace of the south) to walking behind a slow person at the mall. And yes, it shows itself in my life as a mom. There are days when I feel like I wake up with a short supply and days when a seeming surplus is all used up by dinnertime.

I’ve often thought about patience as either a gift or a commodity. Something you were born with or something you could acquire. And if you could acquire it, where better to look than Target? I mean I’m there at least three times a week, and they seem to have everything else I need and so very many things I don’t need but end up in my cart anyway.

As I pondered and prayed about and wished for patience again this week, I had a surprising thought. I’m nearly certain that I’ve been thinking about patience all wrong. Sure there are people who have more gentle, even-keel dispositions who probably do have a deeper well of patience. I will never have a gentle, even-keel disposition. But I do think there’s something I can do to gain more patience. It starts with a shift in thinking.

I am going to cultivate patience.

For me, patience is going to be like a garden. Something that you tend to and care for, providing it with enough water and sunlight. It’s going to be up to me to determine what is the right combination of water and sunlight for my particular garden to grow. I know that getting up and exercising before my kids wake up helps. So does getting even ten minutes of quiet time in the afternoon. An adequate amount of sleep is a big factor but one that I forget to prioritize.

I’m hoping to discover more secrets – maybe even some things I can do that will act like a fertilizer, helping my garden of patience grow. Because I know that with greater patience I can be a better mom.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on patience and any strategies that work for you!


  1. I think we both know I have no useful suggestions here. I'm commenting in a show of no-patience solidarity :)

  2. If you find the magic patience dispenser, please send it my way when you're done.
    -Kelly Wodzinski

  3. I think this helps. This blogging that you do. Instead of getting upset in a situation I think you will start to think, "wait until my friends get a load of this." That will give you just a moment's pause to smile and chuckle as one of your kids is hanging from the chandelier, or some lady, oblivious to the world, is talking too loudly on her cell phone and taking up the entire aisle in front of you at Target. This, my friend, is part of your cultivation. ~ katie

    1. And that my friend is why you are my Yoda :)
      I think you're very right!

  4. I'm pretty patient. Until I'm not. Sadly, I tend to be really, really patient for a long time, and then it just turns off like a switch. I like the idea of cultivating patience though!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Missy!! I, too have those times when I seem to go from having a patience tank at least half full to running on empty in very short order.
      I'm going to focus on cultivating mine and try to forget that I'm not exactly known for having a green thumb:)

  5. I truly believe getting enough sleep helps me be more patient with my children. And when I am an impatient driver, I try to count to 10. It is amazing how counting to 10 as traffics slows distracts me from getting frustrated. Every now and then I have to count all they way to 20!