Modern day parenting is hard.
I don’t know if that has to do more with parenting itself, or the fact that we are privy to everyone else’s style of parenting. But whatever the reason is, you end up running circles trying to make sure your kid is never missing out on anything. You line up endless playdates, attend birthdays every weekend, sign her up for different after school activities and basically make your car your second home. You know how it is. Like every other mom, you always have a granola bar and a bottle of water with you, because you never know where parenting might take you.
I suffer from it, acutely. This mom FOMO. I constantly feel that if I hold my child back from some activity or outings, she will somehow ‘miss out.’ So our days are lined with multiple activities, various kids, diverse plans. My only wish is for my kids to experience everything coming their way. To make the most of what this metropolis, bustling Dubai, has to offer them. So I say yes to their plans more than I say yes to mine. But this FOMO can be tiring. Because along with playdates comes driving, parking, conversations, information exchanges, so much more. Along with extra-curricular activities come strict schedules. Everything needs to work in sync or the ball drops. Bags need to be packed in advance, the little one needs to be fed in time, meal times need to scheduled perfectly, and so on. There is joy in watching your kids find their passion, enjoy with friends, but there is also exhaustion in running this FOMO race.
Somedays I stop. I wonder why we do it. And then I realize, its more so because we’re now so aware of what is out there. We know exactly what the Jones’s are up to. In our era, or rather our childhood, our mom didn’t know what Sally, Tina or Ayesha were up to. They went along their own way, making sure we were fed and healthy. I remember, as a kid, birthdays were such a novelty. I remember receiving my first goodie bag. Going over to a friends place to cut cake. It was so simple. Getting together, cutting a cake, being silly, and then coming home. But there was a novelty to it, because it didn’t happen every week. Nowadays, because were so socially connected, virtually and in our peer groups, we need to keep up with a burgeoning social calendar.
I am blessed to call some really cool moms my friends. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish we weren’t so busy. And that’s why, I’ve now changed myself a bit. I’ve decided to dedicate one day of the week to just me, and the kids. I try to just slow it down, and stay home. Of course there’s whining. There’s boredom. There’s constant pleas to just step out, ‘just for a teeny tiny second Mama.‘ But I try to ride it out. Because in boredom there is creativity. In boredom there are opportunities to find out a bit more about yourself. About the simpler things in life.
For example, on one such day, L was shuffling about the house unable to understand why we didn’t have any fun ‘surprise’ lined up. But I held on, casually reading my book, with one eye on her as she searched the house for something to strike her fancy. And it did. Soon our armchair became a truck, her toys became her passengers and they were off! They went to the beach, each of the toys dressed in mismatched shorts and shirts snuck out from her drawers (or her brothers). This play went on until it was nighttime and a very pleasantly surprised L declared, ‘I’m having fun Mama, want to come to the beach with us?’ (Score!)
So while this FOMO is great, I would highly recommend taking out a day or two to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because in stillness rises innovation. And why let a child’s curious mind go to waste when it can find a dragon in the form of a towering bookshelf or a policemen in the shape of a teddy bear?