It’s been brought to my attention recently that I am an incredibly impatient person. And I am 100 percent certain that my children are to blame.
I worked in radio for a couple years and in that line of business time is everything — from advertising or event deadlines, to calculating commercial times to fit into the daily on-air schedule. I learned that to be good at your job, you had to be ahead of everyone else. I loved this job. I’m one of those people who tend to do better under pressure, working best when it’s crunch time.
Fast forward a couple years and here I am, standing at the door, keys in hand, packed lunch bag on my arm, right eye starting to twitch uncontrollably, as my 3-year-old attempts to put on his shoes, again, for the fifth time in a row, because “it just doesn’t feel right.” We’re now 15 minutes late for a play date. Finally, his Highness is up and ready to go. We’re halfway out the door when he suddenly grabs his behind and runs for the bathroom, mumbling something about poopy. If I didn’t think my 1-year-old would imitate me, I would have banged my head against the wall.
This is how I spend the majority of my day. Slow. Late. Waiting. I make my way to the bottom of the stairs each morning, usually holding something heavy like Luke or a basket of laundry, waiting as James slowly comes down the stairs so I can close the baby gate behind him. Asking him to hurry up only furthers the wait time as he gets upset and sits down to pout, or even worse, runs back up the stairs. I’ve tried closing the gate on him, but the littler bugger has learned how to open it, yet can’t figure out how to close it behind him.
This kind of time-torture has seeped into the rest of my life, infiltrating how I do everything. To compensate for how slowly I have to do things all day with toddlers, I end up rushing through everything else in life. Take red lights for example, I can’t stand them. If I’m coming up on a red light, I’ll turn around or go another way just to avoid it. I tend to eat my lunch while walking around the house doing other things. It would be a total waste of time to only get one thing accomplished at a time.
I’m impatient, and I’m a mom. These two don’t work well together. I watch as Luke cries because he can’t wait patiently for his turn to go down the slide. I listen as James repeats my name over and over because he can’t patiently wait for me to finish my conversation with someone. How on earth am I supposed to teach these little ones about patience, when I have so little of it myself?
I try to remember this very moment in time is important. I take a deep breath, close my eyes. This moment will be gone before I know it. I won’t be standing here, waiting at the door for my son to put his shoes on forever. I’m going to open my eyes and he’ll be running out the door on his own — places to go and people to see, a life of his own to be lived. I’ll have all the time in the world to get things done then but will probably spend it reminiscing of when my children were little and life was slower.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.