I think I have the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in a lot of aspects of life, so it’s no surprise that being a mom has magnified that for me. Maybe all moms don’t feel this, or maybe they do. Maybe some hide it better than others.
I am home all day. I have worked from home for basically as long as I can remember (at least 10 years), and I am so grateful to be home. I have always loved being home. But working from home isn’t exactly the same as being at home and not working.
You still have to have someone else care for the babies so you can get work done. Or you try to get them to stay busy while you are trying to get things done. Enter FOMO.
If you work from home like me, you might see other moms who are “stay-at-home moms” and think that you wish you could be a “stay-at-home mom.” I guess I seem like a stay-at-home mom, but really I’m a work-at-home mom. And I know stay-at-home moms are working like crazy to keep it all together too. So maybe work-at-home mom is the new term for stay-at-home mom.
And there are those moms who aren’t at home who wish they could be at home. And other moms who have a lot of peace about working outside the home because they know it’s the best thing for them and their family.
No one’s life is perfect. It’s easy to look at other people’s lives and think they have somehow figured it all out. Whether they work at home, work outside the home, or “stay” at home. People can come across as so confident in their life choices in brief interactions. Which is good. But let’s not let ourselves be fooled that we are the only ones who haven’t figured it all out.
For the first two years of being a mom, I have felt this scrambly feeling that I’m not doing everything right. I’m not reading enough, doing enough baths, enough walks, enough non-screen time, enough playing outside, playing with a ball, crafts, fine motor skill development, etc. etc. etc.
I wanted to be The Best Mom Ever. I wanted to have a new, fun educational activity planned each day. Set up play dates. Go to the park. The library.
But then I was also busy. Trying to keep up with my neverending list of things to do. Trying to somehow find a way to let go of the list and enjoy the moments while also getting to the things that MUST get done. To keep our household running semi-smoothly. And then on top of that there’s a little voice inside desperately screaming follow your dreams.
And now she will be two years old in a month. And I am finally realizing that we are learning and growing together as we go. And working on the feeling that I am enough. Because I want to pass that feeling on.
Being a Mom Now vs. the 80s
I think the difference between now and when I was a kid is that there are SO MANY options.
When I was two, my mom probably had less than five options for childcare and social interations for her kids available to her. She lived in a small town, and had a circle of friends who either spoke on phones chained to the walls of their kitchens or at each other’s houses. The internet wasn’t a thing.
That is sooooo weird to write. And sooooo crazy to think about. But it’s the truth. Cell phones weren’t a thing. CELL PHONES!
Working from home probably wasn’t much of a reality for people either. There was a lot of Stay-at-home mom-ing back then. And then there were moms who worked.
There also weren’t a million opinions about being a mom available at everyone’s fingertips. You were just a mom. Not Just like it wasn’t hard. But as in: being a mom wasn’t something you could take in a million different directions. I guess I’m trying to say it was a simpler time.
That’s not to say that there weren’t the complexities of human interactions and emotions to navigate. And I’m sure at that time the modern conveniences of the day blew people’s minds who grew up in an even more simple time than what the 80s were. When people didn’t have washing machines or color TVs and there was a milk man.
And then the internet became a thing, everyone got a cell phone, and our options went from less than five to practically infinite. And maybe while that gave us more choices, it somehow made things more confusing too.
Conquering the FOMO
I was thinking about my FOMO when I got up the other day. And I suddenly had this thought that I will ALWAYS be missing something. It’s the nature of life that something else is going on that we could be doing. Always.
I could be a stay-at-home mom. I could also have a job where I work outside the home. We could go to the library. We could stay home. We could read. We could snuggle. I could turn on Daniel Tiger and try to get some work done.
There will always be so many options. And I am starting to realize that the best thing I can do is tune out all the other options and choose to believe that I am doing my best.
My best moments are when I put down my cell phone and take in the moment. As much as I can. It’s going to pass anyway. I won’t always be able to do it. So if I can do it as much as I remember to, that’s progress.
I don’t want to pass on my FOMO to my girls. I want them to be able to have peace about what they are doing in the moment. To feel content with what they have and what they are doing. I know they will experience the FOMO every once in a while, and I will want to help them feel content about where they are.
So now I have to practice non-FOMO in my life if I want them to live a non-FOMO life. And the best I can do, we all can do, is just that. We can do our best.
We Are All Doing Our Best
That’s one of my favorite lessons from Wayne Dyer. Everyone is doing their best. Always. Just assume that. No matter what. Don’t begrudge others or resent them because you think they could have done things differently.
It’s easier said than done, but doesn’t it feel good? When you think of someone you think has wronged you and are wishing they had done something differently, just to think he did his best — the best that he knew how at the time. Doesn’t that feel good? Doesn’t it just lift a weight?
Today, I propose that we give ourselves this gift. That we release the burden of guilt and regret. And say to ourselves I did my best. I was doing my best at the time. I gave it my all.
Don’t you feel good about yourself? We can’t go back in time. So it’s pointless to make such a mental attempt at inevitable failure. I’ve done my best at being a mom so far, and I will continue to do my best and will only get better as time goes on.