Love vs. Logistics: Coming Home

Living in the moment

I could have missed this moment. Where's your focus today?

When I was gone for six days at Mount Hermon, I did my best to pay attention. To everything. Not just to the conference content and the advice that was being heaped into my lap, but also to the condition of my heart and the state of my mind.

I found that during my time away, I missed my husband the most (as it should be).

Then, I missed my kids as the people they are — I missed Owen’s nonstop talking, Audrey’s blossoming maturity and Benjamin’s curiosity and sweetness.

But I didn’t miss parenting.

I didn’t miss the everyday grind of making sure I get these little people where they need to be, getting them fed and clothed appropriately for the weather and attended to and heard. I didn’t miss breaking up fights or coming up with more creative discipline techniques or the laundry they seem to magically multiply. I didn’t miss the feeling of tiredness that washes over me when I have to come up with three meals a day that are nutritionally balanced and also something they’ll eat. I didn’t miss giving time-outs, giving a thousand reminders or getting huge protests and whining in response.

I missed my kids, but I did not miss the logistics of mothering.

And it’s sent me into just a bit of a tailspin. Because from Go until bedtime each day, especially on weekdays, I feel like logistics is all I do. I’m spending the majority of my days on something I dreaded coming back to.

It’s like going on vacation, and then at the end of it realizing how you really feel about your job.

Logistics over love

It might be the stage of parenting we’re at now. Our kids are little, their needs are all different, but they all still need. A lot. It’s exhausting work.

But I also wonder if it’s my focus that’s off. I wonder if I just opened my eyes and saw what was in front of me, I would be able to enjoy it more.

Are you like this, too? My mind is constantly leaping ahead to the next five things. When I’m in one moment, I’m not all there — not by a long shot. I’m constantly two or three steps beyond it, thinking about when we need to get out the door, working backward to figure out what tasks need to be checked off before then, and then also working forward to the steps beyond so I have everything I need with me.

Even when we’re having playtime with nothing to do for another hour or so, I’m always calculating how I can fit a load of laundry in between our activities or how I can get some yardwork done while we’re playing outside.

I wonder if staying present in my interactions with my kids would help me see parenting differently. Even if I don’t love what we’re doing at the time, even if it’s a boring game or the fifth time he changed his mind about the breakfast he wanted, if I just focused on the curl of his hair, I wonder what it would do to my heart.

If I just took a breath and stared into her eyes for a moment, pulled her in for a hug when I feel so proud of her like I do 20 times a day. I wonder if I stopped my mind racing ahead and zoomed out on our life, in that moment, distilled down to its essence, I wonder if I would see that it’s not just logistics I’m doing every day.

It’s love.

Making a meal is love. Sweeping the floor is love. Checking the lunch menu is love. Insisting on long sleeves on a cold day is love. Even doing the laundry is love.

When all I can see are logistics, I miss it. I can’t see the love for the logistics spinning around in my mind. In the big picture, when I zoom out, the logistics are love, too.

To make them feel my love

And miraculously, the one thing my kids want the most from me isn’t my organizational skills or seeing me do everything exactly right. It’s me. They just want me, and they will get me five hundred ways today, in reminders, in hugs, in discipline, in a look and a smile. They might hear the logistics, but what they feel is how I love.

And I’m left with only one question that transcends the exhausting details: How much love will they feel from me today?

Jesus, give me perspective today. Help me zoom out. Infuse the mundane with your love so it all comes to life in beautiful living color.

 

Linking with Heather, Jen and Ruth.

  • http://www.gillianmarchenko.com Gillian Marchenko

    Beautiful. True.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Thanks, luv.

  • http://www.arestorationchurch.org Ann Holmes

    So true! Thanks for the challenging reminder! Frustration is when significant others in the circle don’t see all these things as love and don’t understand how one can be worn out with this kind of loving!

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Oh yes, Ann, it’s an exhausting kind of loving, that’s for sure. But I think I get more tired if I’m focusing only on the task and not the love behind it. When I focus on love, I can complete the tasks with more joy and patience. And though I still collapse at the end of the day, it’s with happiness and satisfaction rather than bitterness and resentment.

  • Shar

    look deep into their eyes…stop long enough to always look deep into their eyes as if to see their souls…..they know you are seeing them, watch how they receive it ;) Enjoy!

    (no, I didn’t do it enough then. Love to my 22 and 24…and no, it cannot happen every moment….but they are stopping us in our tracks anyway—then, stop and look deep, while you can….)

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Great advice, Shar … I do see an immediate difference when I kneel down and get on their level.

  • http://juliebrock.net Jules

    Yes, yes, yes, oh, and yes! This is how I feel most days. As we were hiking around yesterday, I wondered why, sometimes, it takes something specific like a holiday, to slow down and take them in.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Thank God for holidays, but you’re right — we can do that every day, even if it’s not for quite as long or via a special activity.

  • http://www.growingupmo.com Lisa/MommyMo

    *How much love will they feel from me today*

    This post spoke to me so very much, every single word. Thank you.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

  • http://www.aliciabruxvoort.net Alicia

    Oh, I can echo a hearty AMEN to your ponderings today. I agree! My new year’s resolution this year was to live IN the moments, not through them. Not sure I’m doing so well at that, but I’m trying! If God is the IAM, then He’s right here, right now, and sometimes I just miss HIM because I’m looking ahead to that next load of laundry or phone call I have to make or carpool I need to run. Thanks for the reminder today. I’m bopping over from SDG hop and am so glad to have “met” you. Blessings as you parent and LOVE!

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      I love that, Alicia. I’ve written about how God gives me a perfect example of patient waiting, over and over again, when he waits for me to return to him. He is I AM, the ever-present presentness. I will be meditating on this today. Thank you.

  • http://theiveyleague.com Bridget

    Oh, how I love this. Last week was our spring break. And I made a conscious decision to let the logistics slide. I know that it’s not possible all the time. Our house is now an even bigger mess than usual. There are mounds and mounds of laundry. School is back in session and bedtimes and wake-up times are having to be enforced. But last week? Last week was pure bliss. And even though we’re back in the grind, I noticed today that thanks to last week I’m much more attuned with them and we are ALL happier for it.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Do you know something? Sometimes when one of our kids wakes up with a fever, I breathe a sigh of relief. And it’s because I have a perfect excuse to stop the merry-go-round. “Sorry, can’t get any work done today,” I say and email and tweet. “I’ve got a sick kid.” Meanwhile, I’m relishing the extra snuggle time and slower pace.

      But I really don’t need an excuse. I just need to make the decision. And yes, we’re all happier when this happens.

  • http://www.christianmothering.com Susan @ christianmothering.com

    I love this. And I can so, so relate. Thank you.
    I sometimes wish: if only we could dump the logistics altogether! It would be so much easier.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      I was just thinking yesterday about how things might feel easier/better if we moved to the prairie and worked the land. Or something. Then I read Little House in the Big Woods and I know their lives weren’t easy (or slow/quiet) either. We all have to make the decision to slow down, no matter what our circumstances.

  • http://www.kristinsfourkids.wordpress.com Kristin

    Yes, the logistics of mothering. I love that. My days are like a well-choreographed (or not sometimes) dance of bus stops and work and laundry and everything and it can get so overwhelming. I hope that through it all I let them know that I love them. I need to make sure of that.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Yes, if we can let love shine through the mundane, I think that’s where we’ll find life. For me, it’s just so easy to get bogged down and lose the big picture.

  • http://www.misselaineouslife.com Elaine A.

    I’m currently attending PT for an issue with one of my ankles and I cannot bring any children with me so I have to work all appointments around when they are in pre-school/school or when I can get a babysitter. I mentioned to my doctor the very same word, “logistics” and he nodded in understanding because he has 3 kids about the same ages as mine. I totally get this. I think SO many of us Moms (parents) do. It is SO hard to be in the moment sometimes when the next thing is well, NEXT.

    Great post, you made me think and hopefully infused love into more of my Mom moments today. :)

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Yes, Elaine! Those next things really do come. And when they do and I’m not prepared, the day is just harder. It’s all balance, finding that spot where we feel at peace and in love. I’m rarely there. I’m praying about how to find it more often.

  • http://ourshelteringtree.blogspot.com Pamela

    I’m at a totally different place in my parenting — my youngest is in college. But still, your question needs answered. Adult children still need mothers. Grandchildren love coming to mawmaws. How much love will they feel from me today is still a valid question. One I hope can be answered with–as much as they need.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Yes, and in the way that they need, too, right? Because the ages and personalities make love look different, but it’s the constant need regardless. Thanks for the reminder that it’s not just “I have to get through this stage” and I’ll figure it out. It’s a life journey thing, learning to love in the midst of it all.

  • http://loraineerickson.blogspot.com Loraine Erickson

    I am visiting from Finding Heaven. I clicked on this link because of that priceless picture. how perfect!

    Yes, staying in the present is something I struggle with, but it is so key in making the most of these moments.

    So glad I stopped!

  • http://www.meetyouinthemorning.blogspot.com Dea

    Yes…do it girl. Stay present. As I wind up my mothering years. My third is 16 and have begun my grandmothering years, I find myself remembering not what I accomplished but all the fun we had while the house was dirty!!

    I betting you are an incredible mom! God bless you and those little ones who are so loved!

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      I love this, Dea. Praying I have similar memories, and that looking forward to them will help me accept the mess and move on with the connection.

  • http://www.extraordinary-ordinary.net Heather

    Who knows if I’ll stay on task and actually do it, but this is inspiring a post in me, I think. I think about this stuff so much, almost too much…
    anyway. your words and thoughts are beautiful.

    • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com Kim Van Brunt

      Heather, do it! I’d love to read your thoughts.