Mom like no one is watching because, really, no one is. They are all on their phones.
I am not sure who said that. I saw that quote on Facebook and I stole it. So #AuthorUnknown.
How many times in your life have you wanted to do something, but chose not to because you were too worried it would look silly, or people would talk, or roll their eyes at you? I get it. I am there too. As outgoing and confident as I am, I hate the thought that someone will think what I am doing is stupid. Not because they might say something, but because I know they will not. Whenever I do something, I almost dare someone to come to tell that what I am doing is outrageous, or that they do not like it, or agree with me because, I welcome the discussion (read: argument). But if someone just looks at me, rolls their eyes and silently judges me, that is the worst. It is as if they do not want to give me the chance to explain or defend myself before they throw shade at me!
One day last week, on my drive home, I passed a mother pulled over on the side of the road. Her kid was frolicking through the wild flower field while she sat, watching and taking pictures. My thoughts ranged from, “Oh my gosh, what a great idea!” to “She is going to have the most beautiful pictures of her kid!” and finally they landed on, “I really want to do that!” But you know what thoughts never once crossed my mind? That she was ridiculous, or that she was just out to get the most perfect Instagram photo, or that her poor child was being subjected to something completely horrendous.
Perhaps there are people who thought that way when they saw her, but those people most likely do not have adorable kids to photograph. Maybe they do, but they do not have Instagram feeds or picture frames they want to fill with those sweet face. Maybe they are just sour. Or, maybe they want to have the same type of pictures but they are worried about looking stupid.
So this weekend, I took my son on a special trip to the side of the road and we took pictures in the wild flowers.
While we were out there, no one stopped to chide us. No one shouted out their car windows at me to get a life. I thought one car was going to pull over and joins us, but they were just making a U-turn. Through this entire magical outing, not once I did not feel silly being out there with my iPhone, asking C to pick up dandelions and I was able capture the sweetest pictures of him. I am so glad I went out of my comfort zone to do something that looked silly.
Last weekend, I was at the beach and I was a little shocked, but not really surprised at the number of girls on the beach with their phones and their friends doing mock-photo shoots. They were posing under the pier, in the waves, laying on the sand, obviously taking the kind of pictures I love looking at on Instagram and always think, “How did she get such a perfect picture of herself?” Clearly she has a bestie who is willing to go out there with her and risk looking silly just to get that shot. Of course, I heard quite a few people snickering as if to say, “Ugh, Millennials. Always after the perfect picture.” But I seriously considered asking them to take some of me!
All too often we are worried about what we look like that we miss the perfect Kodac-moment! I know, pictures are not everything. A perfect photo does not mean a perfect life. Really experiencing something does not mean you see it through the screen of your phone. But photographs are a way of capturing moments and freezing time forever. I have an entire wall in my house devoted to pictures of my family. I will definitely be that grandmother with the hall of too many photos. You know the one I mean!
If you are the person who wants a picture of yourself dramatically posing in the waves at the beach, take it. If you want to snap a selfie in the mall with a crazy mannequin, do it. Pull over on the side of the road and do that photo shoot. Tell the haters where they can put it. Dare people to judge you. I can almost promise you that no one will say anything out loud, and what they say on the inside is going to bother them more than it bothers you because, you can’t hear it!
Clearly, this is about more than just pictures. It is about not letting what others think stop you from doing what you want to do, no matter what it is.
Recently, C and I went to a birthday party at a splash park. I spent the entire day before worried about what I was supposed to wear. I even asked a group of moms (Thanks, Facebook for the access to diverse groups!) if it was appropriate for me to wear just my bikini. I do not hesitate to wear a swimsuit at the beach or the pool with my family, but the splash park felt different. I try so hard no to worry about what others think, but part of me did not want to offend every sensitive mom at the park to the point where my son never gets invited to another birthday party!
Long story short, I found myself wishing every mom answering my virtual cry for help would say, “Rock that bikini, girl!” and rolling my eyes when some said, “Maybe wear a cute cover up?” What do you know, Tina? You are from Canada, the land of eternal winters! You know nothing of Florida and sunshine!
In the end, I wore the bikini. I work hard to love my body in a swim suit. I love to feel sunshine on my skin and I was needing some vitamin D. Because I preach self love and acceptance and not giving AF what others think, I decided I could not deny myself all those things because some prude might never let me around her husband again. But if that is the case, at least it lets me off the hook for other social obligations. At least until the rest of the mom sloots come to town and I find my people!
Honestly though, once I was out there in an outfit that I felt comfortable in, I never once thought about it again. No one threw me side eye. No wives made their husbands switch seats to be away from me. No mother shielded her baby’s eyes. They were all to busy having fun and keeping an eye on their own spawn to worry about me.
Wear that bikini. Take that picture. Start that blog! Do that thing you are wanting to do regardless of how you think the world will look at you.
Honestly, no one is watching you. And if they are, they are just wishing they had your confidence to just do you.