Patience As A Parent

Posted on December 5, 2011

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I have a 7 week old baby, so honestly I don’t know anything about parenting. I think I recognize that I know less than I thought I knew now that I’ve struggled with a baby for 7 weeks. I know nothing.

But one pattern is starting to emerge.

More and more I’m finding that the more patience I have, the easier parenting is.

That is an easy statement to write and an impossible statement to practice. Patience is easily the first skill to depart when you’ve had 4 hours of sleep and your daughter is crying and you can’t for the life of you figure out why. When you have work to do and haven’t showered in 3 days and really just want to sit down and relax for a little while. Showing infinite patience isn’t exactly the first thing you think about.

When I do find the strength to have patience I am finding that it works, though.

We generally swaddle her up when it’s time for a nap or bed time. Swaddling is a challenge when she’s screaming and kicking and each step of swaddling her makes it worse.

So I’ve stopped trying to fight it. I’ve stopped trying control her. It requires a lot of patience, though. Six or seven attempts to swaddle her, getting to step two each time and then unswaddling her and waiting because she clearly doesn’t want it. This might take 20 – 30 minutes of just patiently working with her on her schedule. That may not sound that bad, but it feels like an eternity to me.

It does work, though. She eventually gets comfortable and lets me swaddle her up. She’s usually asleep before I can put her in her crib. This is opposed to when I force the swaddle and the next 15-20 minutes are spent with her screaming and trying to fight her way out of the swaddle.

I really can’t describe how challenging I find it to exert even this degree of patience, but it almost always seems to pay off.

I’m guessing that it’s going to pay off even more as she gets older.

I’m guessing that patience might be single most important skill a parent can have…

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Posted in: Parenting