I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
My baby won’t stop staring at me. This isn’t literally true, but it feels like it. You see, Vincent and I (Laura) gifted ourselves a canvas photo of our son Jesse for Christmas.
When we decided on size, we went a little overboard. Now, no matter where you go in our living room, there is a GIANT Jesse peering back at you. It even seems like his eyes follow you. With the risk of making this sound like an episode of Scooby Doo, I digress…
Recently I learned about a popular saying in pop culture vernacular—FOMO, fear of missing out. I know this is why we have this ginormous photo—I have a fear that I will not have captured all the sweetness of this child’s babyhood because YOLO (another pop culture phrase: You only live once) and it’s hard to be “present” all the time.
Anything I Say Can and Will be Held Against Me
I’m a first-time mom. I realize I run the risk of judgment by seasoned mothers if I try to offer advice on how to be “present” with my child, or just to be “present” period.
Truth is, if you didn’t already have anxiety prior to the birth of your children, motherhood will make you have a million and one thoughts run through your head at just a tick below lightening speed from now til your death. (Okay, that seemed dramatic, but when you’re in the throes of early motherhood, things can seem overwhelming.)
What Have I Learned From Motherhood?
Disclaimer: Take what I say with a grain of salt; I’m a first-time mother and a therapist. I can only draw from personal experience and professional experience working with mothers.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in dealing with this fear of missing out is giving myself grace. Every day I make decisions, it’s almost like triaging.
What takes priority? Making the kitchen spotless or reading extra to my little one? Throwing a frozen pizza in the oven so I can spend more time with Jesse when he’s had a rough day or cooking a nutritious meal with him needing some extra Mommy Time that he doesn’t get?
Okay, here it comes…the wrath of crunchy moms everywhere….you read right…sometimes cooking for me consists of an occasional frozen pizza. This is a judgment-free zone, which leads me to my next great lesson about motherhood…
There is a lot of mommy judgment out there. We judge each other, we judge ourselves. Quit it. Just quit it. I think this starts with how we treat ourselves. If we are able to afford ourselves the grace (reference paragraph above) to be HUMAN, we should grant it to other mommies as well.
The way I see it, we can either lift each other up, or we can tear each other down. We’re stronger as a united front. Lord knows we have to put up with enough never-got-out-of-my-yoga-pants, how-did- that-bodily-fluid-get-there and nothing-went-right-today days to have to put up with someone throwing an extra serving of judgment onto the heap (you may as well have thrown a week’s worth of laundry into my laundry room with that judgment. It almost feels the same!)
So there you have it. The two lessons I have learned from motherhood: Give yourself grace and try to practice a judgment-free attitude towards myself and other mothers. Are you giving yourself grace and working to be judgment-free?