I had a realization a few weeks ago in the midst of juggling multiple activities. I am a FOMO (fear of missing out) Mom. I’m not sure if a “FOMO Mom” is an actual term, but it’s what I am. I click “interested” on every Facebook event. I am always up for a playdate. I love trying out new activities with my kids. I actually really enjoy meeting new people! Most of all, I love creating memories and exposing my kids to new experiences. But I’d be lying if I said this never causes me a little anxiousness. And I’d definitely be lying if I said my fear of missing out hasn’t affected my family in some way, because it has.
I definitely get my “fear of missing out” from my family. When they come to visit, we make sure to cram as many activities into each day as we possibly can. But we love it! We love to make the most out of every second we have with each other in the place that we are. While we do spend some downtime at home, most of the time that we are together, we are out doing things. And I LOVE that. Of course, we are exhausted by the time their visit is over from constantly going and going, but it’s a small price to pay for the memories we are making, the things we are experiencing together, and the places we are going.
I personally have a hard time spending the whole day at home with my three-year-old and two-year-old little boys. We do much better when we are out and about, going on adventures, taking classes, meeting friends for playdate happy hours, or just going to the playground. The thing that I have loved about living in Charleston (and that feeds into my FOMO) is the amount of amazingly fun activities available to us. Because I never want to miss out on something awesome, my kids have done some really unique things like cleaning up the beach with the James Island Ocean ActKIDvists, Mommy & Me Yoga, Drum Circle, karate…the list goes on and on. I’m really proud of the things that my little guys have experienced in their short lives and I think it’s because I make a point to get out and do things!
The drawbacks of FOMO
However, my FOMO does have some drawbacks. Almost every morning when my older son wakes up he asks “Where are we going?” He just assumes that we are headed out the door right away every day. I’m not entirely sure if this is good or bad, but it seems like maybe he doesn’t really know what it’s like to just relax at our house since we do it so rarely. Also, this sounds silly to type out, but I have definitely felt some regret from missing out on an event or activity after the fact (especially if I see photos posted about it on social media). I know that I should just be content with the fact that we don’t have to do everything, and it’s totally fine and good to just stay home sometimes, but it’s that FOMO Mom in me…I never want my kids (or me!) to miss out on something fun! Have you heard of “the joy of missing out”? Yeah, that is just not me.
Over the holiday season, I was really excited to bring my family to the Christmas parade. It’s one of my favorite activities of the holiday season. My husband and kids were at the neighbor’s house playing with their kids, having a really great time. And of course, they didn’t want to leave to go to the parade. I made a big deal about how we had to go to the parade because it is so fun and the boys would love it so much as I practically dragged everyone to the car. On the way to the parade, my understandably annoyed husband said something along the lines of, “Sometimes, I wish we could be flexible with our plans. I appreciate that you plan all of these activities for our family, but I feel like I never have a say in what we do”. He was totally right. In the midst of my FOMO, I had been the one making all of the decisions and dictating what we were going to do with our free time. It was a little wake-up call that I didn’t know I needed.
As we head further into 2019, I think my word of the year will be “content”. Content with what my family is doing at that very moment in that very place. Not where I think we should be, or what could maybe be more fun, or experiences that I think we need to be having. We are still going to be doing tons of fun activities, but in a more thoughtful, relaxed, flexible way that everyone enjoys.