I've always had this fear- the fear of feeling left out. The fear of feeling like I am missing out on something (FOMO). Whether it was not being invited to a friend's birthday party as a child, not being asked to be someone's bridesmaid as an adult, or just scrolling on instagram or facebook to photos of friends together without me, this fear has always been present. Once I became a mother, this thing called FOMO evolved and took on new forms. Before I dive in, let me preface this post with a few words- It is not my intention at all to sound ungrateful or like my children are a burden. This post is also not pointed at anyone, it is just a combination of my experiences and the experiences I know of other mamas close to my heart.
FOMO and Motherhood
I noticed things first begin to change when I found out I was pregnant. I could come up with a million and one reasons why I thought the FOMO was creeping in- hormones, different lifestyle, priority shift, exhaustion, etc. Maybe all moms don’t feel this, or maybe they do. Maybe some hide it better than others, but FOMO plus a little PPD can take a toll on a new mama. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to nurse Jude (which was a struggle in itself), trying to keep my eyes open by scrolling Instagram. I remember crying, partly from exhaustion, partly from the pain and struggle of trying to learn to breastfeed, and partly because I felt so alone. I had a few new mom friends. I wasn't an outcast by any standard, but for some reason I felt so ostracized from the rest of the world.
Fast forward to present day- almost 4 years later.
I am home all day. I have worked from home for basically as long as I have been a mom (since Jude was 6 months old), and I am so grateful to be home (believe me, it does not fall of deaf ears). I have always loved being home. But working from home isn’t exactly the same as being at home and not working. One of two things happens. 1. I have someone care for my babies so I can get some work done, or 2. I try to keep the kids busy while I try to get stuff done. Both spark 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. Oh, how I would love to just do crafts and story time, and build forts with my kids all day. Oh, how I would love to bake cookies from scratch, teach my three year old to read, and have time to actually fold my children's clothes instead of shoving them in a dresser. I also know SAHM bust their tails (so, not everything is as glamorous as it looks).
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.
Although social media and brief interactions often have us fooled, no one's life is perfect. It is so easy to look at other's lives and think that they somehow have it all figured 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 fine. But let’s not let ourselves be fooled that we are the only ones who haven’t figured it all out.
FOMO and FOMU
There is an overwhelming sense of feeling like you are going to mess things up (my new term FOMU- fear of messing up). I have felt this feeling that I’m not doing everything right. I’m not reading enough, playing enough, teaching them enough, going outside with them enough, and the list goes on and on.
I want to be the best mom ever- one whose children look at and adore. One whose attention is never divided (as a matter of fact, as I type this my oldest son just sucker punched my youngest). Who takes them on adventures, trips to the library and the farmers market.
But, at the same time- I got crap to get done. I am also busy. Trying to keep up with my never ending list of things to do. While at the same time, trying to somehow find a way to let go of that list and enjoy the moments I have with them. And then on top of that all of my goals and dreams and whispering "don't forget about us!"
Strangers in the supermarket love to give unsolicited advice (anyone else notice that?). I always hear them say, "They grow so fast, this will pass so fast, they won't be this little forever." What I want to shout back is "I know! But how do I do it all and still enjoy them while they are little?!".
The Best Solution I've Heard
Replace that FOMO with JOMO and that FOMU with FIMA.
Replace your fear of missing out with the joy of missing out (JOMO). Turn your situation around a look at all of the things you have the privilege of doing.
Today I GET to chase to rambunctious toddlers around the house.
Today I GET to own my business and serve others as best as I can. Today I GET to love my family well by feeding them and cleaning up for them.
Replace that fear of messing up with the faith in my abilities (FIMA). Turn your doubts into trust. Trust your God given abilities, trust your motherly instincts. Trust that God knew what He was doing when He gifted you with your precious babies. Be confident in how you are raising your children instead of looking at every other gluten free, vegan, montessori mother out there and thinking you've gotten it all wrong. If I'm being honest my FOMO and FOMU had been raging the last few weeks- maybe its something about summer break that makes mothers question their abilities (and sanity). So, as much as I hope this was encouraging to you, it is a lot for me. To be a reminder that I don't have to look like every other mother. That learning to balance motherhood and goals and work does not have to defeat me, and that motherhood does not have to be a tired and joyless life.
Everyone could use a little morning pep-talk! I've created a guide of morning affirmations to help motivate you to rise up and start your day confidently! Get yours HERE