A few months ago, we threw a birthday party for our then one-year-old. It was everything you expected, except that due to the pandemic, it was on zoom. We had flowers, cake, beignets.... we even had tiaras for our virtual guess. It was amazing. But on zoom.
As anyone (everyone) who’s used zoom (or any other video conferencing software) knows it that comes his own set of challenges; the static, the existential camera-on v. camera-off debate, the never-ending question “can you hear me now,” ”Is it on? Is this on?"
Yes, our zoom party did not go without a hitch. As a matter fact, there were lots of hitches.
As you would expect. But in that moment, I had to tell myself to look past the discomfort and keep it moving - respond to people even when they don’t respond to you and keep you talking to your guests. They logged on for you!!! Keep acting as though everybody is with you in person. And maybe, just maybe, it would either become less awkward for everyone, or you’ll just be able to enjoy your first baby‘s first birthday because this is what it’s all about right?
Enter my husband. He wasn’t quite on the same page as I was. He was super frazzled, super uncomfortable; the weirdness of it was obviously getting to him. Plus, he's terrible with names. And guests could tell, I think. So, I had to tell him many times, sometimes, not so nicely, to get behind himself; stop focusing on the discomfort and focus on your daughter’s first birthday, as this is what we are doing to commemorate her birthday. I told him he needs to push through because it’s just a couple of minutes, and he’ll be fine. This too shall pass, I told him. All awkward zoom calls eventually come to an end - I promise.
He eventually seemed to come around. But I could tell this was going to be with him for a very long time. And it made me think about how much of motherhood is made up of awkward moments that we've over time just got numb to. Our husbands? Not so much.
From the never-ending cervical checks when you’re pregnant, to your lady parts been on full display during labor, to your boobs being out on display at home (what’s a bra?) to breastfeeding on demand in public, to chasing after a toddler while others gawk in horror and disgust because you cannot "control" your child.
Yes, it’s all uncomfortable. It’s all awkward. But are we going to let those moments of discomfort change our life? No!
I think a change of perspective is warranted at this point because we are not going to let those moments of being uncomfortable change the fact that we are celebrating the beautiful gift that God has given us; the gift of motherhood. To be able to create, carry, birth, and nurture a child is an invaluable gift.
I encourage you, mothers, today, to look past the awkward.... be it through a diaper change moment in public to a tantrum in front of your in-laws, and even, a patently awkward zoom call.
Through the constant seemingly mundane tasks that we do every day, through the stares we get when out with your child in public to the extent a stranger asks if the child is yours (trust me, this has happened to me) through deeply personal doctors visits, through breastfeeding your child in public. Whatever the case is, find strength in the fact that motherhood is one of the things that has many many many awkward and uncomfortable moments.
Find peace in the fact that being awkward is just a part of motherhood.
And that’s just the beginning. Becaus, overtime, we’re gonna do so many AWKWARD things for our children, just to make them happy and we’re going be able to look back and see that while the birthday party via zoom was awkward, it really was just another awkward moment in motherhood, and it was really NBD.