Fear of Stressing Out

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. I heard that phrase for the first time this year.

What does it mean?

It means I’m afraid I will miss out on something. Something that I could do if I tried.

And as a mom it means I’m afraid of making my children miss out on something that I could let them do if I tried.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I’ve been living my journey as a mother as an active member of the FOMO club. So many times I have thought that my kids needed to do something or else they would miss out.

Miss out on what?

I’ve asked myself that a lot lately.

My oldest two boys are getting busier and busier. I hear it’s going to get worse. And so I sit evaluating what we do as a family and why we do it.

Am I doing things because I want to? Or am I doing things because I feel like I should? Like if I don’t then my kids are going to miss out on some sacred right of passage.

There’s no rule that says my boys have to play every team sport. It’s not life or death if we don’t buy season passes to the local amusement park each year. And I know we aren’t going to miss out if we don’t make it to each story time at the library.

Do my kids care? No. How do I know? Because I’ve been watching them.

This summer was probably the best we’ve had. We sat at home a lot more and enjoyed each other a lot more. We didn’t make it to the drive in. We didn’t go to the State Fair. We didn’t have Lagoon passes and we didn’t make any of the children’s PVC crafts or water toys that I pinned on Pinterest.

We woke up, figured out what we wanted to do, and did it. And sometimes that meant we didn’t do anything.

Now that school’s started it’s a little harder. I kind of have to make my kids do some things or else they will miss out – like homework and reading.

But there are a whole lot of things we don’t have to do. And we won’t miss out on.

I’ve got to keep telling myself that. Especially as our schedules fill up more and more.

Instead of fearing I will miss out if I don’t do something, I’m going to start fearing that I will stress out if I do.

I’m going to ask myself: Is this essential? Do I want to do this? Will my kids even care?

And if I say no to any of those three questions then I’m going to pass.

I’ve done it a few times this month already.

For example, this is the first year in forever that I haven’t sewn a bunch of Halloween costumes – I altered a dragon and patched up a morph suit – but I didn’t start searching and crafting in September only to barely be ready by Halloween. I didn’t want to make anything. So we put together things we already had and I bought a few things. Does that mean my kids missed out? Not. One. Bit.

Each of them walked around smiling from ear to ear while trick or treating because they were dressed as they wished.

What else did I pass on? I didn’t make a bunch of Halloween crafts for all our school and church teachers. Do I want to give back to the people who teach and care for my children? Yes! But did I want to make or buy anything this year? No.

So I didn’t. I’ll find other ways to let them know how much they mean to me. This week I didn’t have the time or the energy to get it done. And so I didn’t stress myself out.

Let’s hope I can keep this up. Life is too busy and time is too short to spend it worrying that I’m missing out.

I’m now the president of the FOSO club. And I think everyone should join. Are we doing things because we feel like we have to? Are we stressing ourselves out?

I’m putting the mom guilt aside. I’m putting the comparisons aside. I’m putting the coulds and shoulds aside. I’m going to do things when I can and when I want to.

And I’m not going to miss out on a single thing.

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