I was prepared for going back to the office after having my daughter to be difficult. I knew she would constantly be on my mind and I would be worried if she was ok, or she felt betrayed or duped by the her BFF who she's been inseparable from for months.
I even expected it to get harder as she got older and started reaching more milestones, some without me being there first to witness it. What I didn't expect is how much and how soon the fear of missing out (FOMO) would pop up.
The most notable place for me in the early months, was the little activities I would attend with other new moms. They all seemed to have decided to take a longer leave or not return to work at all. Yet there I was back at work, schlepping my pump and my guilt. I tried really hard the first few months, to attend the one music class we loved, the La Leche meetings. Each required strategic moving around of my schedule, and a lot of running around, in an out of the car, running late and missing some events all together. Often when I finally did make it, I felt like an outsider looking in, and a part of me resented the other moms sitting there leisurely, while I fumbled to pack my things, strap the baby in and run out.
I did the back and forth, trying to fit mid day activities into my day for a couple months, until I just couldn't anymore. I was exhausted. I had to come to peace with the fact that it was perfectly ok for me to miss some of that stuff, and accept that I would only be able to make it here and there if my schedule permitted.
The second that I made that decision, I felt a heavy weight lifted off of my shoulders.
I now look forward to getting picture and video updates from our caregiver when she goes to an activity I cannot attend.
If you're a mom dealing with FOMO, here are five steps, I found super helpful:
- Get grounded- reflect on your decision to be a working mom, and how it benefits your family
- Let go- it's perfectly OK, for your child to make great memories with a loving caregiver. Be grateful for having one and instuct them to take a lot of pics and vids.
- Be Present- It's so easy to get caught up in our busy-ness and all of the distractions that technology provides. Make sure to set time aside to really be fully present and engaged with your bub, no phones, no tv.
- Practice Selective Memory- The first time you see them do something new, is the first time it ever happened. Just because they may have done it for someone else, doesn't takeaway from that special moment you see it with your own eyes.
- Forgive Yourself- Be gentle with yourself on your journey. Guilt doesn't serve you our anyone else. Your child loves you as you are.
Btw, these also work if FOMO has crept in to your social life. All of sudden everyone is on social media, doing all of these cool things without you. I promise you it's an illusion. Step away from your Facebook/Instagram feed.
It will all be OK.