I am not a patient person by nature. I wish that I was, and I envy people whose patience is seemingly endless, but I'm not. If you asked my family and close friends, I am sure they would agree. But one of the lessons I've learned through parenting is that there are times you are forced to be patient. If you don't, you end up losing your cool about a dozen times an hour because it has taken your child longer than necessary to get dressed, or you watch your child make yet another mess just as you finished cleaning up the last one.
Do things like this still bother me on occasion? Sure, but I'm slowly learning to let go. One of the reasons I know I need to grow in patience is because I can hear the tone in my voice when I speak out of frustration and impatience with my children. It makes me cringe. And what's worse is that sometimes, my frustration has nothing to do with the child I snap at. For example,when Sophie is going through a particularly needy, clingy phase where even disengaging her to go to the bathroom by myself is an ordeal, I am much quicker to speak harshly with Emily when she accidentally spills her milk. Is it fair? No. Is it human nature? Maybe, but I so badly want to be better than that.
As often happens when I struggle with something in parenting, I find help and a little perspective by drawing a parallel from my faith. When I examine my own life, how frequently and how badly I screw up on a daily basis, I am beyond thankful that I serve a patient God. A God who is always waiting to welcome me with open arms despite my transgressions. So my prayer is to slowly become more like my God, who "is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (Psalm 103:8).