Earlier this week I was hanging out with three friends and their babies, all under 2 years of age with Silas as the youngest at 10 months. All four little ones were playing nicely for the most part, going from toy to toy peacefully and taking redirection calmly when they probably shouldn’t grab a toy out of another kid’s hand or throw that ball at someone’s face. Us mommas were happily sitting against the four walls of the room, chatting about life and baby names and remodeling projects and spring while sipping tea and intermittently playing with our littles.
If you cropped out Silas and I from this room you’d see basically our typical weekday afternoon at home: I hang out on the floor watching as he sprint crawls towards a toy, chews on it for a bit, and then sprint crawl towards another. We look at toys and name their colors. I hold him on my lap while flipping through a book and then tickle his tummy just to experience one of his perfect little chuckles and smiling eyes.
Yet this felt different. Sitting in that room of toys, light streaming through the window-covered walls, chatting with three other stay at home moms felt like a retreat from everyday life. I noticed how free this afternoon conversation felt. It was missing my typical distracted train of thoughts, the ones that somehow plow me over without warning, chugging along filled to the brim with my “shoulds.” Why didn’t I finish the laundry yesterday? The sink really is starting to get full. Do I read enough books to him? I should try to be on my phone less. This carpet needs to be vacuumed and look at all those handprints on the fireplace doors.
I facilitate a class at a university in town and today we talked about our FUDs: Fears, Doubts, and Uncertainties. Everybody has FUDs, showing their annoying little faces in many corners of our lives. My own doubts distract me, cause me to mistrust my ability to raise this tiny child into a confident, humble, Lord-loving, joy-finding man. I’m uncertain if I’m as productive as I should be, as focused as I could be, as domestic as I need to be. I fear what could happen if I lose the balance between me-time and we-time.
It’s so easy to be controlled by our FUDs. Like an oil spill, our fears and doubts and uncertainties leak into our thoughts, drip, drip, drip into the ocean of our minds, tainting reality. Dwelling on the “could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve” takes us right out of the here-and-now, instead thinking hard about the past and future, on what cannot be undone and what has not yet transpired. Our fears, uncertainties, and doubts blur what is good and true and takes away the gift of the present.
While watching the babies play I was relaxed and engaged, both in the current conversation and in what Silas was doing. There was no mom-guilt, no distracted thoughts... things I “should” be doing didn’t even cross my mind, because I was there to socialize and that was exactly what we were doing.
It made me yearn for this peace when I’m at home, sitting on the floor just me and Silas. While of course cleaning around the house and laundry all need to get done, Ican't allow doubts or fears or uncertainties to motivate my behavior or overtake my thoughts. I’ll be aiming to control the FUDs that sneak in and instead choose to focus on the gift of taking care of my son, enjoying these peaceful, fleeting moments with him.