As a parent I know it’s important to be patient, to have patience, and to demonstrate patience. However, that is a near to impossible undertaking, at least in my household. Take for instance any simple request, like “Please brush your teeth.” The fact that I even need to request proper hygiene is a whole other matter in and of itself; however after nicely and calmly requesting this (and other things such as, please take a shower, please make your bed, please go to bed, etc) over and over my patience dwindles and my nice calm requests soon turn into a sharp commands that’s not above having a few expletives in them. There response…. “Well you don’t need to yell.” Are you freaking kidding me????
Then there is “I forgot” syndrome. Take the first day of school for instance. The night before I asked all three of my children to get their backpacks ready. I literally had to spell out what they needed to put in them – as if the thought of putting in pens, pencils, erasers, folders, and binders were a foreign concept. Anyway, I sent them all off on the first day and went upstairs to put away laundry and straighten up. That’s when I saw it. On my son’s floor was a manila envelope with his summer work in it – the same summer work that was due on the first day of school – meaning that day. Not wanting him to start off on the wrong foot – because that’s what we mom’s do – we save the day (yes I should let my kids stumbled more often then I do) I ran the envelope down to the school. The secretary laughed when I walked through the door and I told her I was allowing him one free pass and he just exhausted it.
Then there was the second day of school. My daughter gets off the bus in her shorts and T shirt with her backpack on and for a fleeting moment as she walked down the steps I should’ve thought to ask where her sweatshirt was. But I waited until she was in the driveway and the bus was pulling away to ask. That’s when she burst into tears and told me she left it on the bus. Not wanting to upset her further, I told her to get in the car and we literally drove the next bus stop to retrieve her sweatshirt. Further angst avoided. My victory was short-lived however. After retrieving the sweatshirt we went to pick up my middle one from soccer practice (the same one who forgot his envelope). By now you would think I would learn to ask in the moment if he had everything, but no, I made the mistake of waiting until we got home to ask. That’s when the realization that he forgot his lunchbox came to light. “But mom, I swear I put it in my backpack” he proclaimed. Clearly he did not…. Are you freaking kidding me? We drove all the way back to the school and guess what – no lunch box. Forget patience, forget mild annoyance – now I was just downright aggravated. Who loses their lunch box on the second day of school? My annoyance only grew when the janitor said he saw a lunchbox on the floor but didn’t pick it up at that time because he figured he’d get it later, only when he came back to where he’d seen it, it was gone. Seriously? I know it wasn’t his fault but it would have been a big help if he’d just picked it up then. Then my son confessed he’d left it on the floor in the hall (the very hall the janitor claimed to have seen it) outside his music room. the details are sketchy at best and I still can’t figure out the actual events; but all I know is that if it doesn’t turn up Monday in the lost and found he’s brown bagging it and I’m not replacing it.
So this all begs the question, how am I to have patience, be patient, demonstrate patience if my kids are incapable of following directions and keeping track of their stuff? These aren’t isolated incidents but rather frequent occurrences that test me on a fairly regular basis. I have a million things on my own mind and it’s difficult to then remember for them as well. But somehow, I’m supposed to… because I am a mom.