“That’s just your FOMO kicking in!” explained my daughter’s chic urbane friend, taking another sip of his equally chic cocktail in the equally chic rooftop bar where were seated, enjoying a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline.
It was my annual trip to New York City, where I get a crash course in everything youthful and au courant.
“Your FOMO – fear of missing out!” I was enormously grateful to Bobby for enlightening me on the trendy diagnosis for a condition I’ve suffered from my entire life. I’m always more than eager to slap a label on my behavior.
Not to mention how affirming it is to know that there are enough people exhibiting my particular malady that it warranted it’s own acronym.
For as long as I can remember, no matter how busy I’ve been or how tired I was, I’ve participated in things I had zero interest in, on the off-chance something exciting or interesting might happen that I wouldn’t want to miss or be left out of.
Ever since I learned FOMO is a “thing,” I’ve noticed it runs in my entire family. It might be a learned behavior, but it’s more than likely in our DNA.
Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that FOMO is why our 4 month old grandson doesn’t sleep. He simply can’t bear to miss any action.
Yesterday, he went to his second day of daycare and they wrote it in his official daily report:
Thanks so much, but we already knew that.
I did tell my daughter it was validating, nonetheless, to have Real Life Baby Professionals confirming our own observations.
Basically, this child has been awake since September. We all have been. Oh sure, I guess he’s dozed off a few times. But not for long. And he comes across a little apologetic when he does fall asleep, like “Oh my goodness, I think I might have nodded off for a sec – what’d I miss?”
We are always very reassuring. “Nothing much! Your Grandmother loaded the dishwasher or threw in a quick load of laundry!” (If I have him) or “Your mom shaved her legs or wrote a brief” (if his mother has him). Anything to encourage him that sleeping = okay and you didn’t miss anything exciting.
We are a family that generally believes in the overall concept of sleep. We just don’t actually do it ourselves.
We own all the latest gear though. We have beds, sheets, pillows, blankets, pajamas and sound machines. The only sleep-inducing prop we don’t own is a pasture full of sheep for counting.
For the little people in our lives we have books, lullabies, rocking chairs and bedtime stories.
For the adults we have novels, television, melatonin, soothing-sounds-of-the-sea and the occasional shot of vodka.
We are just notoriously terrible sleepers.
And now I know why. It’s the FOMO. We are just afraid something’s going to happen that we don’t want to miss.
The good news for us these days is, if this baby is going to grow and develop at Mach Speed, changing every minute of every day, faster than we can keep up, we may as well stay awake and watch the transformation unfold.
When our first child was born, my husband’s grandmother, who was in her seventies at the time, gave us a piece of framed needlework to hang on the wall. It read:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow…for babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow…so quiet down cobwebs…dust go to sleep…I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep!
We hung the piece. We memorized the words. We made it our mantra. We believed what it said. But there’s really no knowing like the knowing that comes from experiencing it the first time around as parents.
That’s why grandparents don’t really care that much if grandbabies sleep. We’ve all got the legit case of FOMO.
But still, we can collectively agree, it would be okay and none of us would mind too much if they nodded off for a few hours here or there. You know, just so our kids can get a few things done around the house.
And we can just sit and stare at them in wonderment.
We don’t want to miss a thing.