It was a beautiful fall morning. Leaves all around, a cool breeze, birds chirping. I should’ve been enjoying it. I should’ve been completely involved with the scene playing out before me, but the truth is… I wasn’t.
My husband worked over the weekend, which left me alone with my toddler and a lot of time to kill. He slept in for the first time in his life, ate his breakfast like a champ, and cuddled with me. It was a sleepy morning, and one I’ll always cherish. Eventually, I decided we should go for a walk.
But the thing is, he looked so cute in his pajamas. Fleece, footed pjs with bears all over them. He seriously looked like a little doll boy, and I wanted to take that doll boy on a walk. I didn’t want to change him into real clothes when his pjs were obviously so comfy.
So, I loaded my doll boy into his stroller and we headed out. When we got to the little neighborhood park, I sat on the bench while he played. He pounded the ground with sticks, rolled around in the leaves, and picked up handfuls of dirt.
He gave me sticks so I would play with him. He kept looking up at me and grinning his famous smile. He squealed with delight.
But, I missed all of that.
Because I was distracted.
Typically, I’m pretty good at making sure I’m plugged into time with my son. My phone was in the stroller across the park. I’d mentally stored away all my to-do lists and set aside my stress.
Still, I missed everything because I was so darn worried about what people may think because I let my son play in his footed pajamas. Was I horrible mom because I let him run around in the dirt with only his felted feet? Had I suddenly become that mom because my little doll boy was covered in dirt and fleece?
I feared someone would walk by and say something like, “Get that boy some clothes!” I was afraid a passerby may stop and ask if I needed money to purchase shoes for him. I was afraid I’d get a glare or two.
We live in a great neighborhood, but I’ve had comments like that before. Our retired neighbor once suggested we borrow his lawn tools, a very passive aggressive way of pointing out he didn’t think we were doing a good job of working full-time, being new parents, and keeping every single blade of grass off our driveway. So, it wasn’t really a far-fetched fear.
But, still. I often find myself wasting precious time by worrying about others’ opinions. I remember one instance last year at the state fair. My son was struggling with eating, and breast milk was giving us issues (now that we know he’s deathly allergic to milk, things make more sense). I distinctly remember the pit in my stomach as I sat on a bench, hoping no one would notice me mix up his formula.
A year later, sitting on that park bench, I realized… who cares if my kid has his pajamas on… why not let him play in the dirt in his sleeping attire… does it really matter if he ends up with a leaf in his crib?
Because, like all moms, I’m just doing my best. I’m making decisions that are right for my family, and I know what I’m doing. As long as he’s safe, healthy, and loved, that’s all that matters, right? And let me tell you – he’s as safe as he’ll ever be with me. He’s healthy because every decision I make is centered around his well-being. And no one in the history of the world has ever been loved as much as him.
When I decided to take a walk that morning, I was following my motherly instinct to spend time with my son. And if I’d stopped worrying what others may think of me for that, I could’ve avoided wasting the precious time I’ll never get back.
I think the truth is, no one would’ve cared about my pajama boy. They likely wouldn’t have even looked twice. As Ethel Barrett said, “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.”
So, I’m done with that. If you see me in the park and you notice my doll baby is still in his pajamas, know that I don’t care. You can say you don’t agree with it. That’s fine. But, I’m going to be so locked into him that I probably won’t hear you.