The first time I heard the word FOMO I couldn’t help but giggle. How in the world could this honestly be a word in the English language!? It just sounded so silly, quirky and possibly even dirty! I just couldn’t take myself seriously saying such a crazy word!
Even though the acronym FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is an awkward word to say, I truly believe it is a real fear, one I experience often and most of the mom’s and dad’s I know do as well. Parenthood requires a lot from us, there are a lot of actual things that you want to do or places you want to go that cannot physically be done while in this particular season of life.
However, there is a type of FOMO that plagues modern day parents that puts our parenting at risk. I call it false FOMO. I didn’t even really know that I struggled with this version FOMO that it was affecting my parenting until one fateful day back in August during our beach trip when I forgot my sons bathing suit. Because of this mistake my first day of our beach vacation was spent making the 45 min commute to the closest retail store. In order to make the drive more palatable I played one of my favorite podcasts in the background. They talked, I laughed and then a comment hit me straight in the chest:
“To be honest, on my most trying days I saw my children as the ones holding my dreams hostage. But that wasn’t true at all and that FOMO was completely unwarranted.” -Indiana Adams (Coffee and Crumbs Podcast)
This is my secret daily struggle.
I don’t make a conscious effort to feel this way, but I do. And when I stopped long enough to notice it I realized this struggle was affecting how I parented my children. Let’s be honest, no one (except Jesus) is able to treat someone who they feel is holding them hostage as a gift, and this inability drastically impacts our ability to parent well.
Today I’m sharing two ways to know if FOMO is affecting your parenting.
Daydreaming About all the “If Only’s” in Your Life
Do you ever find yourself sitting around daydreaming about what it would be like if you could only ___(fill in the blank here)_______? If only I could travel around the world, if only I could stay at home with my kids, if only I went back to work, if only my kids were bigger, if only my family could go on that vacation together, if only, if only….. Before you know it you feels like you’ve missed out on something huge and your family is at fault.
But here’s the thing, you didn’t miss out on anything. Because it never happened. You didn’t miss out on anything.
I know this seems strange because in our minds it did happen, and it feels like a missed opportunity. It feels like it would make things so much better or because it was awesome for this other person, it would be awesome for you as well. This is a lie. It’s simply living in “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” mentality and its stealing your joy. Suddenly FOMO is affecting your parenting in big way.
There are real times and real places where we do miss an opportunity and that is sad but for me when I evaluate how often that happens versus how often I have false FOMO, I find that I often I haven’t missed anything, I just feel like I did.
Social Media Miss Out
Have you ever had to send a last-minute text to let someone now that you can’t make it and you feel really upset? Something like, “Hey, my kid is suddenly running a fever” or “my toddler was up all night and has to nap early today”? And then you find yourself upset at your kids? Not because of the quality time you really wanted to have but because there was there really awesome spot you wanted to pose your kids at for a cute social media post. Or you were finally going to get to snap some pics of you with a really cool place doing that really cool thing then you would have some really awesome pictures to show off to your friends how really cool it was?
Don’t be too quick to answer this one. I know I’m the first to say “No, I just really wanted us to go out and have fun together as a family and I’m really disappointed that we’re not.” But sometimes when I examine my heart I know deep down that really there is a part of me that wanted that social media post up on my page to show off to others!
But when we allow ourselves to be disappointed over our social media account, we are really stealing from our actual lives. FOMO is a real thing. Sometimes we are disappointed that we can’t go and do something, and we really do miss an opportunity we wanted. But allowing ourselves to be upset at the people in our real lives because of a missed photo opportunity is just silly. There is real magic happening around you right now. Scripture tells us that our children are a gift from the Lord, we just have to stop fearing not getting to show it off, to notice it.
I found two ways to combat these two ways that FOMO affects my parenting.
Practice the Art of Remembering Well
I’m not sure how but we are conditioned in life to feel insecure about ourselves and our family when we see others succeed in a way that we haven’t. We look at their lives, see their victories and success and automatically assume that we have missed an opportunity. But really, we haven’t. When we take a step back and look at our lives, hopefully we can say, we got to this point because of intentional decisions. We prayed through them and sought wisdom before we made them.
We have to remember well that God is still writing our family’s story and he asks us not to fear. To know that he is right there with us, every step of the way. And if we are consulting him, we really have nothing to fear, including FOMO.
Celebrate Other’s Victories
If seeing other’s victories makes us feel insecure this makes it really hard to celebrate their success and be happy with my own life and our own parenting. But if we take time to practice the art of celebrating others well, we will find that we are no longer using others lives as a measuring stick for what could have been or what should have been in our lives. Rather we find a space full of excitement for others and peace and joy for the life we have been given.
Can you see the ways FOMO is affecting your Parenting?
My challenge to you today is to recognize when FOMO is affecting your parenting and you are allowing it to steal your joy. Find ways to combat it. Take time to look around at the magic happening around you. It may look different than the “grass is greener on the other side” scenario you had in your head, but it is still there. Take time to remember why you are where you are today and how God is shaping your families story. Celebrate others well. Learn to love them for where they are at without using it as a yard stick. Your kids will thank you. They don’t want to be seen as the people holding your dreams captive, because they aren’t. They need you to cultivate their heart in the middle of your hustle and you can’t do that if you can’t see them as a gift.
Take a look around and really examine your heart, is FOMO affecting your parenting?