For the last few years, the term FOMO has been brandished about on practically every online platform. In fact, the word was added to the Oxford Dictionary as far back as 2013. Here’s how it’s defined:
“Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”
While it’s not the most recent phenomenon, FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, seems as pervasive as when it was first “discovered.” And, no, the gum-chewing teenybopper is not its only casualty. FOMO is just as real among parents.
According to a 2016 Pew survey, three fourths of online parents use Facebook, with 61 percent of us logging on several times a day. We seem to be addicted to being in the know. We get online to check on what everyone else is doing on a wonderful summer afternoon. It takes about 10 seconds to feel worse about ourselves and our lives.
A friend fits into her high school jeans two weeks after her third baby. Another acquaintance bought their dream house. A bunch of people are at a party that you weren’t invited to. Your distant cousin got the white-cabinet, subway-tile-backsplash kitchen remodel that you’ve had to put on hold for the better part of your adult life.
After spending gobs of time on our devices, we come up for air because the whole thing is exhausting. It sucks up our time, it depletes us physically, and it results in a downward spiral of emotions. Studies say that people “feel depressed after spending a great deal of time on Facebook because they feel badly when comparing themselves to others.”
So, what can we do to FOMO-proof our parenting so we’re not unwittingly passing on the same darned, nagging “there’s something better out there”…