In regards to parenting a young child, a dear friend once told me, “don’t lose yourself in the temporary.” It had been a tough day of juggling parenting and work – all my resources felt drained. From work deadlines and a teething, cranky toddler to a pile of projects clamoring for my limited energy, the phrase’s simple truth stopped me in my tracks.
D0n’t lose yourself in the temporary.
I reflected on this simple string of words a lot over the next few days. Had I really been letting myself go to something temporary? At times, I had. At times, I had let the “daily grind” overshadow the bigger picture. What I was going through now was, in fact, temporary. Further, the challenges were not something to let overtake me. But I knew this conclusion wasn’t enough to prevent the same scenario from happening again on any given day – I needed more.
Because the “temporary life stuff” happens on the daily. The teething toddler, the work deadlines, the argument you didn’t mean to get into. What bigger picture would not only put all these temporary things in their rightful place, but also renew and refresh me as a person? The answer might sound a bit cheesy, but I’m going to write it anyway – love. Because life is just so daily, I need transcendent love to lift my perspective to what truly matters, fueling sustainability as a mom.
Letting Love Fill You
There’s a simple logic in life that I want to grasp – you can’t give out what you don’t have. If I don’t have something, I can’t give it away. And the one thing that I want my child to be able to take away from me above all else is love. I can’t love others well if I don’t receive love myself.
So, I choose to make time to nurture my faith, sweat out my stresses in a ballet class, connect with a friend or simply enjoy a good cup of tea. As a mom, so many voices scream that when we do something for ourselves, we’re being selfish. But I think the opposite is true – without filling our cup, we have nothing from which to give; and, that is what is really selfish.
Recognizing Moments to Love Intentionally
The hustle and bustle of modern life often leaves little room for authentic connection with our children. Yet, connection is vital to what makes us human. Rather than overcomplicating my already-full schedule, what if I simply opened my eyes to already-there opportunities to show love? Like reading my child’s favorite book –again– taking a few moments to be present and play, choosing to see life through the eyes of my child, sharing in the wonder of it all with him.
Even the moments where its hard to feel connected — sleep deprivation, the “to-do” list, or any number of things — can come alive by recognizing them as opportunities to love. I think this is key to rising above the “overwhelm” that happens so often in life.
When it comes to receiving love and loving intentionally, I have so much to learn. Intentional love goes beyond feeling to see the bigger picture. It involves building community, first in your own family, in order to leave a legacy worth leaving. It involves planting seeds of kindness, watering them with intentionality, and letting them grow up into something so much bigger than us that will nourish future generations.
Love can be such a messy thing, but it’s also something so beautiful that I can hardly grasp it. The here and now is temporary, ever-transforming, on its way out. We are making our tomorrow, today. So I’m starting to ask, how can I nourish tomorrow by the way that what I choose to love today?