On my morning commute, I saw a woman trying to soothe her toddler as he cried and kicked while being strapped to his stroller. The mom kept her cool as her son continued to struggle with her. I should also mention that she had two other children with her, and one was an infant.
Most of the train riders gave her a cold stare, and, up until about eight months ago, I probably would have done the same. How dare she ride the subway during rush hour? Doesn’t she know people are trying to get to work? This was my selfish, pre-baby way of thinking. It’s funny how, for some people (ahem, me), it takes having a child to realize that the world, in fact, does not revolve around them. But this impatience with children was not limited to mass transit.
Truthfully, I’ve never really been too tolerant of them. I wasn’t the girl who baby sat for the neighborhood kids, and I didn’t “ooh and ahh” when my friends started to have babies. Even now, a lot of my single friends worry obsessively about finding the right person to settle down with before “it’s too late” to have kids. I never felt that way. Having children, to me, was always something in the very distant future, and, although I was aware of my poor attitude, I vowed (and still do) that my children would always behave, especially in public! To say I had no patience with children is a huge understatement.
Babies teach us a lot of things even before they’re born; compassion, joy, unconditional love, but your patience is challenged right around day three as a new parent. It’s patience you need when breastfeeding isn’t happening as naturally as you thought it would. Patience will get you through a rough patch of colic and sleepless nights, and you will definitely call on your patience when your baby spits up all over you when you’re running late for work. Big smile.
Unfortunately, some people’s patience runs a little thinner than others, and there will always be people who have a problem with your kid on the train, or at a restaurant, movie theatre, etc. I am patient with impatient people, because I am one. I have to remind myself of my new, calmer identity, at least for my daughter’s sake. My mother has been telling me to work on it for years. She even bought me a cute little “Patience” rock, which I keep at my desk as a gentle reminder. And, yes, I rub it in moments of high stress. (Hey, whatever gets you through your day!) Funny, her patience isn’t particularly great either…
That day on the train, I was able to do my small part in making a mom’s day just a little easier. As she continued to struggle with her whiny kid and prepare the others to leave the train, I held the emergency exit door for her and gave her an empathetic smile. Sure, I was late for work, but it was the right thing to do for a fellow mom. So, as I held the door open and three more moms passed through with their strollers and small parade of kids, I bit my bottom lip, called on my patience, and just kept holding on.
©2012 Community News Group
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