Hi my name is Angel French and I have FOMO. I’m in recovery, but I think it’s best to be clear upfront about the struggle so we know what we’re working with here. If you’re not familiar with the abbreviation, I’m referring to THE FEAR of MISSING OUT. And yes, it’s a real thing.
It does seem like a contradiction that in the madness of a full and exhausting schedule I would think I'm missing anything. My life is chock full of happenings; meetings, basketball practices, 2nd grade science projects, vet trips, pediatrician visits and as you know- the list goes on.
The caveat is that a full calendar devoted to meeting the ongoing needs of my work and children doesn't always make one feel "seen". After all, the kids' demands for help, rides and food (how dare they) is draining, but not exactly socially satisfying.
I grab my phone and see a few new emails that peak my interest. I’m too tired to read most of them in entirety but I can see they have fun written all over them. My mind briefly transports to the carefree life of my 20’s. The frequent parties, alluring events, stimulating conversations that go hand and hand with no responsibility. And good or bad, I still like the excitement and unpredictability of going out; either with the girls or my hubby- there may be something going on that I really don’t wanna miss. We adore our kiddos, but lets face it: mommy needs a break.
Bunco night, girls’ night out, a social after the PTA meeting and a brunch invite to celebrate the engagement of a girl in my bible study group. I can’t miss any of these events and the social butterfly in me agrees they all seems like fascinating times. Also, there's always a pressure to “be there” and not let a host down- they've gone to all that trouble. There are also more trivial reasons to attend; I can’t miss Bunco or I won’t get the low down on Amy’s near completed renovation. Or I’ll miss the scoop on the new teacher and is she or isn't she pregnant? It’s literally impossible to retell all the fun stories and re-create the shenanigans that will surely follow a night of wine induced dice rolling. You kinda have to be there.
I mean, The Real Housewives of New York have time for parties, massages, lunches, galas and fabulous dinner parties, why can’t I find some time? The idea of laughing and nibbling and sharing stories with my friends while wearing the new off the shoulder dress I scored on a crazy sale begins to control me. I need to get out. I must get out. I DESERVE to get out. And most importantly ( in the FOMO mind), I can’t just let them go out and have all that fun without me.
Then I look back at the calendar. Literally impossible this week. My husband is traveling, kids have sports and there’s little chance a sitter will just pop out of the sky (although we did just see Mary Poppins, and it would seem these things do happen…)
The truth is, I don’t want a sitter to be here when Luke puts the finishing touches on his science project. And if someone's going to be feeding them a mediocre dinner of chicken nuggets and mac, it really should be me. And if I go out, I'll miss silly recaps of the escapades of their day. Not to mention I wouldn't be there when for the last chapter of the Magic Tree House book we're reading. Talk about missing out.
My eye hits the bottle of Cabernet sitting on the counter and I think how nice it will be to curl up with a glass and call my friend who recently moved to Colorado to catch up. There wouldn't be a lot of clanging glasses and high heels, but there would be the enjoyment of engaging conversation with one of my truest friends. And sometimes it's the fulfillment of those quieter times that the still immature girl in me forgets about.
Like I said, it’s an ongoing quest for balance. Surely I can quench my thirst for fun and social excitement some times without sacrificing the sweet moments that are fleeting with my brood. I obviously don’t have all the answers, I’m just trying to listen to my gut, enjoy some adult time, but also avoid stretching myself too thin and feeling guilty. It’s a compromise. But I'm not going to get guilt or FOMO take me down.
So here’s my mantra: I’m gonna breathe. I'm also going to remind myself that staying put doesn't have to mean missing out, and that a happy life isn’t dependent on making it to Bunco. Maybe I’ll take a bath. But first, I’m grabbing that bottle of Cabernet.