Where Your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on Parenthood Really Comes FromAug 03, 2023
As you’ve been out and about this summer, have you seen families on vacation who looked like they were having a wonderful time — the loving parents and adorable children who all seem so connected and sweet with one another?
You might have said to yourself, If I don’t have children, I won’t have that. I’m afraid I’ll miss out.
On the other hand, when if you saw vacationing families that looked miserable, it might have reaffirmed the idea that you want to live child-free.
You might have thought, I’m loving life the way it is — why would I disrupt it for a miserable time?
Then, five minutes later, you might see that same family laughing and having a good time. It can be crazy-making as your thoughts bounce back and forth...
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
The popular FOMO acronym has been used since the early 2000s, but the idea has been around as long as anxiety and fear have existed.
Fear of missing out is about fear itself more than the idea it’s attached to.
Over the years I’ve found that once someone understands the root cause of their specific FOMO, they discover that it’s more about trying to make up for a missed opportunity from the past, rather than avoiding a future missed experience.
It’s likely that, in your past, something didn’t happen that should have, and you were left alone to process your feelings. You likely vowed to never miss out on an opportunity again that will allow you to feel good…
From there, it turned into a tightly held belief that never got challenged.
Decide To Be Curious About Your Fear
The fear element of FOMO is the belief that you won’t be okay. So, what if you knew you would be okay if you missed out on an experience?
All choices involve loss. If you choose one path you won’t have the experience of the other path. It happens every day, and in most cases, you don’t even think about it because you know you’re going to be fine. (Of course, the stakes are higher when deciding about raising children or living child-free.)
It’s time to be curious about your fear. When you feel yourself experiencing FOMO, pause to identify what you’re imagining you’ll miss out on. Is it an unmet need from your childhood, or an unhealed wound?
What is it that you’re longing for?
Allow Yourself to Grieve What Never Was
There’s a difference between a desire for an experience and trying to recreate something that never was. If something in your life never got to be, then you must explore the unhealed wounds of that experience.
If you find yourself longing for something you see, or find yourself longing for something you’re imagining, this indicates that something in your past is likely unresolved. Something in your past didn’t unfold the way you wanted it to unfold or the way it should have unfolded.
Spend a moment thinking about the things you’ve already missed out on.
Have you spent time grieving the loss of what never got to be? This is more likely to give you answers than perseverating on FOMO.
It’s easy to make up a story about what you imagine people are experiencing — when, in fact, you have no idea what was involved in their good time. You don’t know what was sacrificed, or whether someone is faking it for the good of the family.
When you realize that you’re projecting your thoughts onto a situation and imagine you know how the people involved are feeling, then you can stop the projection. You can turn toward yourself to see where it hurts inside of you.
Then you can move forward, toward clarity.
You can’t know how you’ll feel in the future. You can only know how you want to feel in the future and understand why you want what you want.
Ann will be leading her powerful support-group style Motherhood Clarity Course for a small group of 6-8 women, starting in September 2023.
This Weekly Intensive Group is a rich, intimate group where each person will be given time to share their experience from the previous week, as well as share some of their writing from their assignments.
Explore all the details, and access our payment plans for a limited time.