I never experienced FOMO until I became an almost 40 year old mom. That’s a pathetic statement.
Here I am with everything I could ever want.
An adoring husband. Two really smart, funny kids. One sweet (dare I say?) perfect baby. I have a writing career that I love.
I have best friends I can count on for anything.
And yet… when I’m sitting home on a Friday night and I scroll mindless through my phone, I see it. Pictures of people I know doing things I’m not doing. Eating dinner in restaurants, dancing at concerts, the perfect instagramed shot of them hugging with a “my tribe” caption.
And deeper than that.
Pictures of classmates’ birthday parties that my kids weren’t invited to. Trips to water parks or pools with their kids holding hands earlier that day.
Snapshots in the city captioned “annual trip, best friends forever.”
My kids aren’t lacking for friendships or parties. Neither am I.
We could have spent the day at a BBQ with five other families and I still see those pictures and instantly feel terrible.
A middle-aged woman with everything I’ve ever wanted and I’m jealous of a couple people I know out together for an evening. The statement isn’t even rational.
It’s not like I even want to be there. Most nights I’m more than happy to be wearing my comfiest pajamas sitting on the couch with my hubby watching Netflix.
There isn’t any bone in my body that wishes I was dressed up and out for dinner when I’m only 20 minutes away from going to bed.
And I do go out for dinner with friends. Go to parties. We have our own parties. And we can’t invite the entire world. And pictures get posted.
Except when I see those pictures posted on Facebook I question everything. I still have FOMO.
I have a barrage of thoughts.
Did they plan to do this without me?
Did they know I didn’t want to go or did they not want me to come?
Are they living their best lives while I’m here being a loser on my couch?
And worst of all… are they talking about me and how they don’t want to be friends with me? Do they not like my kids? Were my kids purposely left out from their parties?
What do I even care?
At this point in my life it doesn’t even matter.
It really doesn’t. I’m a mother. I have a family. I have my besties who would never leave me out. I am confident. Yet here I am reduced to these childish thoughts.
I worry for my children who will one day be on social media seeing the same things. How am I going to help them navigate through these feelings of being left out when it’s hard for me as a confident, adult woman to do it myself?
Social media is a strain on our generation. Yet I can’t give it up.
So I’ll remind myself again that I’m not missing out on anything and that there’s nowhere I’d rather be. I’ll try to instill confidence in my children that they don’t need to be anywhere or with anyone that they aren’t already.
And in the meantime, let’s join together as mothers to try to be a little more kind.
To refrain from posting the pictures of the parties that you didn’t invite the entire class to.
To remember who is viewing all your posts and think quickly about what they are feeling when they see them.
And if there’s even a small chance that someone is going to see it and feel sad, let’s evaluate why we’re posting.
We’re all guilty, but maybe we can make a few changes that will help each other out. So instead of making others jealous of the life they’re not living, we just live the life we want without everyone else “liking” it.