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.

No comments: