I can’t keep up with my own expectations. I don’t even know exactly when I put these expectations on myself. I guess it happened slowly. I started seeing all the pictures of couples announcing their pregnancies in cute ways, weekly updates of the baby bump, then adorable birth announcement photo shoots, weekly to monthly progress pictures of baby, adorable pictures of baby and family on every outing, and family Christmas photo shoot for Christmas cards. Everything seemed so beautiful and easy.
When I first started struggling with infertility, my desire for a child was just that: a desire for a child. But as the years passed and my home office (although painted to be a nursery) remained an office, I started to dream about decorating my nursery. Then the dreams moved onto how I would announce my pregnancy. Then I dreamt about keeping my athletic figure while pregnant and taking adorable progress pictures to show the world. These dreams kept growing with every great idea posted on social media. So much love, so much beauty, and I was going to do them all!
But let me tell you something, seven years of stored up baby dreams means I have a pinterest page FULL of other people’s great ideas and now I have somehow convinced myself that I need to do them all! A couple years ago I wrote a blog entry about #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and how it nearly killed me. It’s no one’s fault but my own. I can’t blame it on social media or “society”. No one is telling me I have to do these things…well actually, that’s not true. I am telling myself I have to do these things. But why?!
Now that I am a mom (I’m a mom!!! I just want to say it over and over again. Hi, I’m Samuel’s mom!) …now that I am a mom, I find myself stressing about photo shoots. Instead of soaking in every single sweet moment, I find myself thinking, “I want to capture this forever!” so I try to, but no matter how many photos or videos I take, nothing compares to the real thing. Nothing can compete with the actual interaction between me and my son. And I don’t want to spend my days with Sammy thinking about lighting, outfits, and whether or not I’m still beautiful enough to have my photo taken. When it really comes down to it the root of my desire for all these good ideas isn’t what is best for my baby, it’s my own pride and my own desire to hold on to every single moment forever. I want people to look at my baby and say, “that is the cutest damn baby in the whole world.” And I want Ellen DeGeneres to like and share my Instagram photos of all my photo shoots and silly videos and then have me on her show because my family is super special. I want people to hear my story and say, “Wow, God is really showing off!”
I am so abundantly blessed that I want the world to know it. I want the world to see what God has done for me, but the sinful part of me wants all the credit; like it was MY prayers that created Sammy, or MY obedience that gave me such blessings. But it’s not! It’s not by my works at all. God invited me to be a part of it, but he didn’t NEED me for his plans to succeed. But I also don’t want to miss a thing. I want to hold onto these moments with Sammy forever, and each day is so new. Each day he is different. Each day is he grows so much, and I’m scared I’m going to miss something. So, in my humanness, I try to capture it with videos and photos. I try my best to save the moments so I can go back and re-watch them, instead of savoring the moment as it happens.
But the desire to have a “good” video or a “silly” outcome or a picture that perfectly captures Sammy’s many expressions can easily turn into an expectation of perfection, or a desire to have it all. And in doing all the “having it all” things that I need to do to prove to myself that I indeed have it all, I miss out on the most important thing: interacting with my son; just being present in the moment; being; now; me and him together.
That doesn’t mean that if you post monthly pictures of your baby bump or child that you are a bad mom or that you are totally self-obsessed. No way! More power to you! All I am saying is that I can’t keep up. And sometimes I am doing those things for the wrong reasons. Me – Liz – I cannot do all of those things and I really don’t think any of you expect me to. And even if you did, it doesn’t matter. I am constantly battling between my inner Mary and my inner Martha.
Luke 10:42 “but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I choose being. I choose to let the stuff of the world go, I choose to let my plans go, I choose to let my dirty dishes sit there a little longer, I choose to be present with my son and with my Jesus. I choose to model to my son how to be present with those around him and especially his savior. I choose to abundantly live instead of spending my days trying to prove I have a life of abundance.