My daughters are my life. Absolutely, undoubtedly every part of my being. I love them more than they could ever possibly know.
But, as an outsider, you may not know that by looking at me.
You would think Facebook and Twitter have my undying and neverending love, because it’s far too often got my attention.
I’m on there faaaar too much, checking in with people that, if they walked by me on the street, I probably wouldn’t even recognize. And I’m looking at them on my smartphone and it’s making me stupid.
I suffer from a number of acronyms, FOMO is one of them. The Fear of Missing Out (or in my case, The Fear of THEM Missing Out – which I think I may have just invented) is seriously ridiculous. It’s like YOLO (You Only Live Once), but you have to see what everyone else is doing and be 100% certain to let them know what you’re doing. Like stopping what you’re doing while you’re doing it to let all your friends and family on social media know. It’s honestly a lifesucker.
I imagine this comes from my insecurities. I see what everyone else posts online and feel pressure to prove to them, and more so to myself, that we do interesting, fun, incredible things, too. We make memories, goshdarnit. I’m not just sitting around all day on Facebook like some lunatic. Except I kind of am.
I look at other people’s posts and compare myself, and if you’ve done that, and you more than likely have, you know it can make you feel less than, insecure, and like a big giant lazy dope. A terrible mom and a terrible wife. I suffer from low self-esteem anyway, so when I see that other people post smiles, and laughter, and things that they aren’t doing from their sofa, I get down on myself. Even though I make sure we do these very things in my family, as well.
When I look at other people’s posts and photos, I need to remember that I am only seeing precisely what they want me to see. The five minutes that everyone was getting along, not the forty-seven temper tantrums their children, or they themselves, threw that day. They’re posting the best of the best, which truthfully is likely the minority of time, and not those humdrum moments of sitting on the sofa watching a movie together, or sharing a bowl of popcorn, or even taking some time for themselves (because how dare we. Shame, shame.) But it is exactly in those moments where our lives are made.
Everyone else shares the same things I do: The comical, the impressive, the out-of-the-ordinary. What they don’t share is that it took fourteen tries to get that awesome family photo and by the end everyone had most certainly had enough. They don’t share that they said, “Hold up, let’s totally stop enjoying ourselves to prove to everyone else that we are actually enjoying ourselves.”
I definitely do this because I don’t feel like I measure up. I feel like, though I want nothing more than to be a great mom and wife for my family, I fall short, because, well, I’m human. I can’t be everything to everyone and the more I try, the more I learn that ends badly. It’s like a cycle of suckiness because I’m always micromanaging to make the most of everything for everyone, that I end up ruining a lot of it. Or maybe not ruining it, but dampering it. And definitely not making the most of it. Because perfection is ever-so-important, don’t you know.
And I also fail to realize that while, yes, vacations, and events, and big to-dos are important for children to experience and for families to share, what really makes the biggest difference are the day-to-day “boring” things I do each and every day for my kids. The meals I cook, the games I play, the hugs and kisses we share, the compliments I make sure I give them. The reminders that they are special just because they are them. This is where all that important stuff I’m looking everywhere else for really exists.
So I know I need to put my phone down. I need to get off the computer. I definitely need to set aside some time for myself and remind myself that’s okay. Above all, I need to oust the pressure to make sure every moment is spectacular – and to make sure that everyone on FB knows it.
I need to let go of the FOMO and stop actually missing out. I’m a great mom, I love my kids, I make sure they’re provided for. And you know what? That’s enough. That’s more than enough.
A version of this post originally appeared on the blog, Mommyopoly
About the Author
Sheri Schooley is a sarcastic, witty, self-deprecating, (almost) middle-aged, hilarious wife and mother of two incredibly amazing daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as making people laugh. She currently resides in the way-too-hot State of Florida and is phenomenal at complaining about it. Sheri expresses herself best through the written word and hopes that you’ll be able to connect with her through her stories of relationships, parenting, and neuroses.
Sheri has been published on Yahoo! Contributors Network and xojane.com