Sunday, February 24, 2013

Patience and Prayer

I must admit, this parenting thing is tricky.  There are days when I watch my kids interact and can't for the life of me figure out why they don't get that things are so much easier when they are nice to each other.  They make things so hard for themselves when they are mean.  We have countless family home evening lessons on how to be nice to each other, why it's important, and everything, but they just. don't. seem. to. get. it.

Patience is something I'm learning with all of this.  It takes great patience for me some days to grit my teeth and keep calm while trying to pry my fighting children off one another.  It takes great patience when I have to, yet again, handle a screaming six-year-old because something didn't go exactly right for him, or the eight-year-old, for that matter.  It takes great patience to bite my tongue and wait until a later time without the kids when I don't like how my husband handles the discipline.  Like today when he made them sit in a time-out for forty-five minutes because of how wild they were when we had some house guests.  Forty-five minutes is excessive for kids aged five to nine, especially when we spent the entire time quieting them.

I had an experience though.  On Thursday this week, I had a fabulous day.  I managed the tantrums and meltdowns of my children beautifully and got a lot done.  We went to the DMV, the store, and the library.  We did preschool and played some games.  I picked them up from school and took them to piano lessons.  I picked up my husband at the airport and came home and whipped up a last-minute dinner, even convincing myself to cook at home instead of stopping somewhere and picking something up.  We got the kids to bed and I spent the evening sewing.

I thought back on why my day had gone so well. I figured out two reasons.  The first was that I had gotten a decent amount of solid sleep the night before.  That was partially due to the fact that my husband was out of town.  His sleep apnea (he has actually been diagnosed and is going back in for more information and treatment!) and snoring keep me awake when my pregnant body doesn't.  He was gone and I slept very well that night.  That can't be duplicated most of the time and I wouldn't necessarily want it to be--him being out of town, that is--but I wouldn't mind separate bedrooms if we could ever do that (just for sleeping's sake!).

The second reason I think was that I had really said my prayers that morning.  I have not been very good with praying most of my life.  I find that I have a hard time really communicating with Heavenly Father and tend to follow more of a script.  Or I find that I can spend the entire prayer asking for things without thanking for anything or the other way around.  Or I forget what I really wanted to pray about and then remember later.  So this year I decided that I  needed to learn how to offer more sincere prayers and really focus on praying.  Focusing on it is one of the harder parts for me because there is always so much going on around me, especially for morning prayers, so I often skip them altogether in the morning.

But Thursday, I really, really prayed.  I focused on asking for guidance when faced with challenges my kids bring me and having the patience to communicate well with them.  I think that helped a lot.  The next day, Friday, I forgot about my morning prayers and proceeded to have one of the most awful days ever.  As I reflect on those two days, I think I need to really work hard at having more sincere, consistent morning prayers. 

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