Parent FOMO

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My oldest son’s name is Callan; we call him Cal for short. He just turned four years old, and we are eager to watch him grow while engaging in an activity or sport he enjoys. My excitement paired with society’s “norms” had me wanting to rush him to the first available opportunity to participate in organized sports.

Let’s Play Ball!

We signed Cal up for pre-t-ball Fall 2020. Yes, that’s right. PRE-t-ball, the step before t-ball. I figured t-ball would be the first stage, but I’ve come to learn that baseball is taken very seriously here in Northwest Florida. 

Cal was happy to wear the cool uniform, be around kids his age, and eat cupcakes at the end of the game. After a few games, it was clear that Cal and a handful of other boys would rather dig in the dirt and be silly in the dugout.

Parent FOMO
Post-game treats, Casey & Cal (3 yo)

The Joke is On Me

During one of his games, Cal giggled and spun around in circles in the infield when he should have been running towards the ball. Usually, I would yell out to him, telling him to stop messing around. But I just started laughing! It was so apparent that this wild and free boy wasn’t quite ready for organized sports.

He loves playing catch and batting at home, but that doesn’t mean he wants to play the whole game of baseball. Each child is uniquely and wonderfully made. Some kids will love being a team at a young age, but my little boy just isn’t ready. 

It’s Not You; It’s Me

This pre-t-ball experience may not seem like much to you, but it was a turning point in my parenting journey. And maybe you’ve had a similar turning point as well.

I realized that the ONLY reason we signed Cal up for pre-t-ball was because I saw someone in a local Facebook group post that they signed their three-year-old son up to play ball.

That is what she chose for her son, and I instantly thought I needed to give my son the same opportunity, regardless of his readiness or interest in baseball.

I had what I affectionately call “Parent FOMO” (fear of missing out).

As parents, we strive to give our children the best we can offer them in this life. We do so by remembering good or bad experiences from our own childhoods and letting those memories impact our parenting decisions.

Parents also look to family, friends, books, and social media to gain information since we didn’t leave the hospital with a manual on how to do this whole parenting thing.

We are inundated with information and opinions. I used to feel very overwhelmed by the amount of information I was consuming. My endless Google searches and scrolling time on social media caused me to be more unsure of myself as a mom.

I found it exhausting to make decisions because I felt the pressures from society taking control of my thoughts. It takes a lot of work these days to step back from all the noise.

A Whole New World

The night Cal was spinning in circles on the field will permanently be etched into my mind. It was the catalyst to forcing myself to look inward and acknowledge why I feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses” and why I felt the need to impose my own FOMO onto my child.

If you have ever felt “Parent FOMO” and want to take a step back, I have found the following books to be instrumental in tackling this mindset.

  • “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne and Lisa Ross
  • “When Less Becomes More” by Emily Ley
  • “The Joy of Missing Out” by Tonya Dalton

Have you ever experienced “Parent FOMO”? 

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Casey was born and raised in small town Illinois and moved to the Pensacola area. She is a Navy pilot wife, mama to all boys, and a speech language pathologist. She is currently putting work outside of the home on hold and following her calling to stay home with their 3 young boys, Callan (4), Benjamin (2), Kolbe (10 months). When she’s not making snacks, you can find her hiking a trail with her boys and husband, Brandon, reading about how to grow herbs and vegetables, listening to parenting podcasts, or drinking copious amounts of coffee. She is excited to combine her love for family and motherhood with her love for writing.

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