instant gratification

lessons in the losses: parenting is an investment not a venue typically suited to instant gratification

this week i went to a playgroup in our community that i have been meaning to try out for some time now.  what on earth possessed me to do this while high on post-delivery hormones & very little sleep, i have no idea.  it was not exactly a formula for success.  i guess i just thought it might help with all the pent up energy.  everything went smoothly for about the first 10 minutes and then gradually crumbled as the morning progressed. lot of friendly parents, lots of not so friendly parents, toys, playdoh, kids everywhere.   eva threw her snack plate, was told off by the coordinator & then hyperventilated & threw up all over the snack table, kai cried anytime another kid looked at him sideways & davith had to go potty every five minutes.  and then there was poor livi who was malled by every other kid in the playgroup while i turned my back to deal with the others... although, i did get a prompt update from a very concerned mom every time her hat fell over eyes or her susu popped out yelling out phrases like "she's suffocating!  she's starving!".  and did i mention it was also the morning that the child's aid society was visiting which set a fabulous backdrop for the whole scene to unfold.  we left early, all in tears.  and i felt the crushing weight of failure once again.

from the gasps of the other parents to the knowing grins of those who had been there before to the others who just stared in disbelief, i am finding it hard to recover from this scrape.  i've gone over & over in my head how i could have succeeded in this context & have come up empty handed.  i know we have incredible kids with lots of potential.  i can just get caught up sometimes in the limited view of 'today'.  i really wish there was some kind of baby factory that pops out perfectly well-rounded, well-behaved kids at the end.  i wish i could contract out my job as a mother to someone more competent, someone who always had the right tone, the perfect answer & unending patience & energy.  but there are no such things.  i don't have to be a perfect mother, just perfect for them & one that loves them without condition, who won't give up on my mandate or the vision for their little lives turned big.  parenting is a never ending investment.  sometimes i get caught up in the instant gratification mentality of 'why aren't they perfectly patient yet? why are there no tangible results to hold now?' when really patience is a life long process.  the pay off for all of the hard work comes so much later.  i'm not saying that there aren't little payoffs like kisses & hugs & cuteness.  but as far as the fulfillment of patience in their character, we will have to work on that for a long time.  when really i am still working on patience in my own character.  when i can't appreciate where they are at today because i am so focused on where they are not, i rob myself of so much.  i can choose joy even amidst the whining & temper tantrums.  all it takes is a sense of humour & a little dash of perspective.  we won't always be in the temper tantrum stage so enjoy it for what it is & embrace grace.

so patience is the word of the day! instant gratification is not commonplace along the parenting journey... that's what vision is for. a reminder of what will come, of what all the seemingly tedious work is for... for the joy set before me.        

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