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Week 41: Patience

I've always been one of those Moms who genuinely believes I'm a better Mom because I work. I appreciate this might be somewhat controversial, but for me it's the truth. Please don't misunderstand me; the love I have for my children is without bounds, but when I'm at work, I'm truly in my happy place. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I also love meeting new people and tackling new challenges. Based on this, there was never a question in my mind about whether I would return to work after my 3 maternity leaves. Having time away from the kids while I'm working helps me cherish the time I do spend with them more, as well as ensuring that during that time they have my undivided attention.

What I didn't fully appreciate, at least not right away, was how much being a Mom has equally helped me be a better employee; having children has taught me so much about myself and helped me grow into the professional I am today. I am so confident in this theory that I've recently toyed with the idea of writing a comprehensive book on the topic, but for the purposes of this blog post I want to narrow the topic down to the concept of "patience."

Patience is a skill that certainly doesn't come naturally to me. I can vividly remember my Dad's speech at my Bar Mitzvah: "Jacklyn came into this world in a hurry and has been that way ever since." This quote is founded in both physical and metaphorical truth, because I was born in the backseat of my parents car on the way to the hospital and from that day on I've never waited around for anybody or anything. Fast forward to this week where I made a spur of the moment decision that it was time to potty train our 2.5 year old.

After waking up on Monday morning, I took off his diaper, put him in a pair of big boy underpants, and started sitting him on the potty every half hour actually expecting him to go. This new regime started with screaming and yelling, later descending into tears and full blown tantrums; even popular items such as chocolate, iPads, and toys weren't enough to sway his stubborn will. No matter what I did the result was the same. I could feel my frustration bubbling up inside to the point where I even caught myself yelling at him once or twice, which was enough to make me realize I was going about things all wrong; it became increasingly clear I was putting too much pressure on the situation and the best thing for me to do was take a step back, relax and let things happen in their own time.

Whilst I stayed committed to the original objective, I decided to adjust my approach; I put a potty in every room, took his underpants off completely, and simply started asking him every 30 minutes if he needed to go. If he said yes, he sat on the potty; if he said no, he didn't. No matter what, there was no rush and no pressure, but if he did happen to go, we would celebrate wildly with dancing, cheering and chocolate.

We continued like this for the next few days before he suddenly started making his way over to the potty by himself. It's been exactly one week and while I'm fully aware that he'll almost certainly have accidents, he's totally heading in the right direction and his attitude towards the potty is now much more positive. Without even realizing it, my two year old was able to teach me an important lesson about the power of patience and how important it is to allow things to happen on their own terms.

Doing something fast is not always the best approach; it could be that by slowing yourself down, you may find yourself finishing ahead. In the case of my son's potty training, I was trying to force things based on my preconceived schedule, which was creating an environment filled with anger, pressure, and negativity. By taking a step back and allowing things to happen on their own terms, I was able to create a positive environment where my son felt comfortable, which ultimately set him up for long-term success! While this specific example might not resonate with you, the message surely should: life is a marathon not a sprint, so slow down and enjoy the ride.

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