At last once a week since I became a mom, I’ve felt inadequate.
I didn’t take my child to that cool event. I didn’t get her that new thing. I’m the only one not blowing up social media with her photo here, there, and everywhere showing off what a cool mom I am.
You know that stupid saying, FOMO? (“fear of missing out” for those of you not in the know) I’m pretty sure I could diagnose myself with that. This weekend the library has an event. Next week, meet Elsa from Frozen! Tomorrow have breakfast with the Easter bunny. Saturday is Touch-a-Truck! This month season passes to the amusement park are on sale. We could go every weekend! The zoo, the park, the aquarium, DISNEY! AHH!
I was constantly trying to keep up. Surely, if I take my daughter everywhere I’ll be a better mom. It would most definitely help with that whole working mom guilt but not necessarily my wallet!
I argued with my husband about it. I confided with my mom. I even stopped following people on social media. I felt sad that I couldn’t afford to take my daughter everywhere and really felt she was missing out.
One day, my beautiful and intelligent five year old daughter straightened me out. I was in a rush to get her and my son into the car to go on some adventure or another. She looked at me and said, “Momma, I just want to stay home and play with my toys with you.”
Huh? What? Seriously?
Talk about an “aha!” moment. I took both kids out of the car and lugged all our crap back into the house. We were staying home and we were playing. I wasn’t going to do laundry. I wasn’t going to catch up on work. I most definitely was not going to clean my house. Instead of spending two hours out, we were going to play.
At home playing with me and her things, my daughter is at her most happiest. Why did I think she needed to go out to experience everything. Maybe it was for me more than it was for her?
I think about her childhood and how fast it goes by. I want her to remember things and look back on our time together with joy. At only five, there is no guarantee that she will remember it all. She won’t remember that time we waited in line for an hour for a balloon animal. She won’t remember visiting the farmer’s market and seeing the animals. She won’t remember most of the hot, exhausting, long, cold, and stressful events I’ve taken her to over the years. And that is okay because I’m pretty sure I have photos of everything!
She probably won’t even remember being home and playing. Lining up every single little princess she owns. Making little houses for all those princesses to protect them from the impending tornado (in her room…). She won’t remember all the crafts, all the learning, or even all the messes.
About a year ago, we were driving home from somewhere. I’ve tried my best since she was born to show my daughter how beautiful nature is and to truly appreciate it. Every time we saw the sunset or sunrise, I made her really look at it and appreciate it. Same goes for animals, flowers, the ocean, etc. We enjoy making these discoveries about our world and talking about them.
On that drive home, we saw the most beautiful sunset. I actually pulled over so we can safely stare! I told my daughter that I just love sunsets and they make me so happy. I told her that every time she sees the sunset wherever she is for the rest of her life, to think of me. I said I’d do the same. In the car on that gorgeous evening, I told her to remember that image; take a photo with your eyes and never let go of it.
Ever since that day, whenever she sees a sunset, she smiles and tells me she’s thinking of me. Deep down it makes me glow with pride. I touched her. She remembers. We have something special between us; something more special than anywhere I could ever take her. The bond is sealed. My sweet girl and our beautiful sunsets.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you take your kids or how much money you spend on them. Sharing a beautiful experience with them that will last a lifetime is priceless.
I no longer feel inadequate and I’m pretty sure I kicked FOMO in the butt. The love my daughter and I share and the memories we hold on to for a lifetime are all that matter - even if the only true memory is a sunset.