August 3, 2019

Parenting FOMO

I'm trying to remember how long it took me to get over parenting FOMO.

With Jack, I wanted to be at everything and keep everything, because I was afraid of missing something. Papers, school programs, class parties . . . I wanted to make sure I was there for it all.

But over time it occurred to me that I was going to be doing all of these things FOUR TIMES. Parenting fear-of-missing-out became parenting dread-of-going-to-one-more-thing. You guys . . . Ben, CLaire and Hattie all doing the 4s and 4+ preschool years I'll sit through SEVEN PRESCHOOL GRADUATIONS. Claire's end of the year Kindergarten program was exactly like both of her brothers' programs.

Before you say it, I'll say it . . . it's not about me. It's about them. I know. I'm not saying I shouldn't go, and I'm not even complaining about going. I'm just no longer afraid of missing out.

When Jack was little, I had all kinds of parenting FOMO (fear of missing out, for those of us who are less with it than I obviously am). I worried about missing school programs, art projects, milestones . . . I wanted to soak it all up. But as each successive child came, I realized that I would sit through the same Kindergarten end-of-the-year program 4 times. And the FOMO waned. (Sorry, Hattie.)

I guess it didn't wane as much as transition. Now I worry about missing out on important conversations. I don't want to miss out on rides home from school where they dump everything that happened that day. I don't want to miss bedtime conversations that end in sobs about betrayal by friends or uncontrollable laughter about a hilarious observation that one of them made.

When Jack was born, everyone preached to me about how quickly it would all go, but the words were wasted. I don't think anyone with a newborn can really fathom what it's like to look at their 12 year old and try to remember the point when he got too big for you to carry his sleeping body from the couch to his bed. Or to KNOW that he used to climb into bed with you every morning, but not be able to remember it all that well.

Every phase that my kids enter has remarkable potential, but it also leaves me mourning the previous ones a little bit.

August 2, 2019

Half posts

It's been over a year . . . but has it? I was kind of shocked to look at see that it was MAY OF TWO THOUSAND EIGHTEEN the last time I wrote here. There are all kinds of reasons for that.

So much of our life is recorded on Facebook and Instagram now. And so many of the parenting anecdots and my kids' issues are more complicated now. It's harder to write about the challenges my 9-year-old and 12-year-old are facing without stoping all over their privacy.

But has it been that long? It doesn't feel like it because I have eight drafts between then and now. Here are three of those to sum up a few of the feelings from the last year. The other five might still become posts someday.

Hattie is running around my office furiously, in whatever pretend game she's made up. It involves fists full of markers, and saying, "Just a minute!" to whichever imaginary friend has joined her this morning. I know that I have about 7 minutes of playing left before she'll need me.

Seven minutes. I want to update this blog to reflect where our family is right now, but so much happens every day. So much growth. So much change. Where should I even begin?

Jackson is headed to middle school this year. I have not quite finished wrapping my head around that. He loves baseball, followed closely by soccer. He enjoys basketball, but as he told me yesterday, "Basketball is more just for fun than competitive for me." Because he gets paid for baseball and soccer? I don't even know what that means, other than just an acknowledgement that he's better at baseball and soccer than he is basketball.

He would love for me to let him play football, but much to his dismay, I'm sticking by the "no football before age 12" recommendation made by a recent study by Boston University.

(FOLLOW UP: He turned 12 and wanted to play football this year. We let him move to a different soccer league and he decided not to. Hattie still runs around with imaginary friends on a regular basis.)


I'm on the brink of 40, and I'm struggling. Not with my mortality or with my wrinkles . . .

(FOLLOW UP: That was all I wrote and it about sums it up. 41 is approaching, and I'm struggling just as hard.)

Every single year, I get to this point and wonder if homeschooling is a good option. Like, I seriously consider it. I know it wouldn't work for our family, because of jobs and schedules and sanity. But you guys . . .  sending them all out into a world where my influence is less than their friends for 8 hours? It's terrifying. Truly.

And Jack is starting middle school this year, which I cannot wrap my head around without ugly crying. 7 years until launch for that boy. SEVEN YEARS. 7 years from now, we'll be sending him off to college, or whatever he feels led to do with his life after graduation.

I break parenting up into three stages: Discipline, training, coaching and then LAUNCH. Each step of the way, I'm convinced that the stage we're in is the most challenging. I suspect that NOTHING will be as hard as the launch, though.

(FOLLOW UP: Middle school wasn't awful, but I still would have rather had him home with me. Bennett is the one who had the rough year, though, and the one that I will still consider homeschooling.)