In these moments, I was the opposite of the mother I set out to be.
Before I became a mother, I dreamed of the type of mom I would be.
It was a magical dream of perfect children that made being a mother come so easily.
I told myself that my strength would be in keeping my composure through any event. It wasn’t often I’d have to use my patience, but if I did, it was a renewable resource always to be replenished.
And, when I first became a mother, it felt easy and natural. It was like I was living the dream I envisioned. Motherhood felt like a breeze.
So, you can imagine my surprise when the first four years passed and my son proved to be just as human as any other child.
It was somewhere between the two meltdowns at the grocery store and the three at the park.
It was somewhere between the fifth and fifteenth time I asked him to put his shoes on.
It was somewhere between the sixth time I asked him to stop screaming in the restaurant and tenth cold stare from other patrons.
It was somewhere between the eleventh time I kindly asked him to stop running in the house and twenty-fifth.
It was somewhere between the simple five minutes I asked for quiet to complete a task to the 30 minutes it took me to do it among the shouting and loud instruments.
That place somewhere in between was where I lost my patience.
I didn’t intend on it but before I knew it, anger and frustration replaced my calm demeanor.
My gentle singsong voice was replaced by a voice *I* wouldn’t even want speaking to me.
In these moments, I was the opposite of the mother I set out to be. I was her—the mother I said I’d never be. I was bubbling with frustration and inner turmoil. I was overcome with anxiety and guilt.
But the truth—my truth—started to reveal itself, as well.
It was there in my moment of becoming who I didn’t want to be, that I understood just how innately human I was: My natural tendency to become frustrated took over my unnatural ability to keep calm through the chaos at all times.
I was telling myself I was superwoman, when really I was a regular woman doing my best in challenging situations.
It was there I realized that patience is an unspoken superpower because it means going against the grain and doing the opposite of what feels natural.
It was there that I realized that patience is a practice that I must apply over and over again, especially when my natural response isn’t calmness.
It was there I realized that my patience wasn’t dependent on anyone but myself. And, just like the skills my child is learning to master, it was one I had the choice to master or let it master me.
It was somewhere between putting a space between my reaction and my response.
It was somewhere between asking myself “What would love do?” and doing just that.
It was somewhere between five and 10 focused deep breaths.
It was somewhere between seeking to connect rather than seeking to correct.
It was somewhere between choosing to lower my voice and increasing the volume of my message.
It was somewhere between putting myself in his shoes and going into a 4-year-old’s perspective.
It was somewhere between the first hug and the fifth.
It was somewhere between staring into his eyes and finding his sweet precious soul.
It was somewhere between seeing past his behavior and truly seeing him.
That. That is where I found my peace. That is where I found my power as a mother.