Parenting Without Immediate Results

The other day I felt like the Best Mom. I put aside my to-do list and focused completely on Bea. During quiet rest (which is just as much for me as for her) we read books, played an imaginative game, drank hot cocoa with her tea set, and wrote a book. It was a sweet three hours, just the two of us.

IMG_1708When Elle woke up from her nap, a switch flipped. I had assumed that all this quality time would carry over to the rest of the evening but something happened and suddenly Bea became a wild thing.

My first thought was, Well that was a waste of time! I could have just worked on my to do list and gotten the same results.

Of course, parenting isn’t a results-based practice. We can do all the “right things” and still not get the immediate results we’re hoping for. Sometimes this extremely long-term vision is tiring. I want to know right now that my kids will turn out ok; that my attempts at patience and empathy will pay off.

The immediate results that I am seeing are that I always have a little bit more. Even when I think I don’t have an ounce of patience or energy left, somehow I do. No one has ever died of playing one more game of tea party or reading one more book.

I’m reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Vicktor Frankl. In it, he talks about the need to look to the future, that without a future hope our present becomes meaningless. I’m taking those words and putting them to this journey. That even on the longest days, my hope is that these endless tea parties will make way for future friendships.

What is something you’re doing now with the future in mind? How does that long-term vision impact the way you view certain tasks now?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “mom.”

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10 thoughts on “Parenting Without Immediate Results

  1. Your word for the year, capacity, comes to mind. You have the capacity for one more game, patience, love and a view to the future 😊

  2. So right that immediate results are not often the norm. Keep up those small investments. God is not slack in remembering your labor of love. Hebrews. Motherhood is a lifelong labor of love. Your neighbor this week on FMF #23.

  3. Annie, In some ways, I miss those moments. My kids are teens-19,16,14. The days get shorter when they hit Jr. High. I’m realizing though that the older they get, they need you in the same amount-just in a different capacity. It might not even be physical presence. More choices result in more prayer-for direction and protection. I’m trying to make myself available for what might seem like the most mundane task together so that the security is affirmed. I’m in the #58 spot.

    1. Stephanie, I love hearing from moms in the next phase. Such an important reminder that we’re always present and available, just in different ways. Happy Mother’s Day!

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