There are lots of reasons why we moms can lose our patience. If we try to become aware of why we lose it, we may be able to take preventative action, overcome impatience, and exercise more patience. So here are the top five reasons why most of us lose our patience, and five ways to build our patience.

Five reasons why we lose our patience

1. Fatigue. We quickly come to the end of our ropes when we have too much to do and too little energy with which to do it. Add to this the fact that kids seem to have a limitless amount of energy, and you’re already tired when you wake up in the morning.

2. Displaced anger. Often we are irritated at someone else or about something that has little or nothing to do with the crisis of the moment. Unfortunately, our kids are the easiest, most accessible targets of this displaced anger, and it shows up in impatience with them.

3. Unrealistic expectations. We have an agenda that does not take into account the unpredictability of life in general and parenting in particular. Then when we get behind, the pressure pushes us to impatience with everyone around us, including our children.

4. Failure to plan. Many times our frustration and anger are of our own making because we fail to put in the extra effort it takes to prepare us, and our children, for the unique demands of the day. Remember: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

5. Distorted perspective. We assume it is us against them and that they are out to get us. We see those little charges as the enemy who has us under siege, almost as if they are purposely trying to annoy us, when instead they are really, most often, just children being children in all their imperfections.

To be passionate moms we each must really exercise and strengthen that patience muscle. It is a brick to build, and build it we must. So here are five simple ways to build patience and counteract those reasons why we lose our patience.

Five ways to build our patience

1. Reenergize. Do your best to rest up when the chance presents itself. Even if your kids don’t take naps, institute a quiet time in the afternoon.

2. Deal with your anger. Ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” If you can’t take care of it immediately, write down your course of action, and then set it aside until you can deal with it. Pray for a gentle spirit toward your kids, and ask forgiveness if needed.

3. Have realistic expectations. Once you have a reality check on your perfectly executed day, calculate how much time, energy, and money it will take to pull it off, and then triple it. Barring a flooded basement or an outbreak of chicken pox, you may come close to meeting your expectations at the end of the day.

4. Plan, plan, plan. As you anticipate what you need to prepare for the demands of the day, play “worst case scenario” and plan accordingly. Lists are incredibly helpful, and sticky notes rule! There is only one thing more time consuming than preparing for your day, and that is trying to repair a day gone astray!

5. Keep a wide-angle perspective. Remember: It is our job to love and train our children. Don’t take their goofiness and misbehavior personally. They will one day put aside childish behavior and become adults you can relate to.

Adapted from The Passionate Mom ©2013 by Susan B. Merrill. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.