Caregiver Burnout

How to Overcome FOMO when You’re Taking Care of An Aging Parent

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Every day we encounter people who seem to have more and do more than us. Find out how to overcome FOMO as A Mom and Caregiver (and keep it from happening again!).

FOMO As A Mom and Caregiver

Every day it seems I encounter someone who seems to have it all. They have a nice car, well-behaved kids, their parents are healthy and independent. I see pictures of their experiences and adventures. Their home is filled with beautiful things. Where I hop around from one failed endeavor to another, they are successful at everything they attempt.

Sound familiar?

Thanks to social media we see people like this everyday. It causes us to envy their lives and wonder what exactly we’re doing wrong. Why is our life so hard when everyone else seems to have it so easy? As disappointment in ourselves and our situation starts to creep in we experience some serious FOMO as we ask ourselves the big question of, “When is it my turn?”.

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Hand-Me-Downs and Plastic Cups

As I was stacking cereal bowls from the dishwasher not long ago, I was struck by how diverse my cabinets had become. In fact, not a single bowl matched. As I continued my chore, I noticed this was an alarming trend with the majority of my dishes.

What happened? I used to have such beautiful dinner ware. Then as my kids came barreling through the kitchen I was reminded of why I don’t have beautiful, matching things anymore.

I was doing my weekly cleaning of our furniture and thought how nice it would be to have a new sofa. I had my living room almost completely redecorated in my mind when I caught the familiar smell of urine wafting from our sofa and realized that getting new furniture in this season of caregiving would be a waste. My spirits dropped into resignation as I mentally shredded my daydream.

Related Post: The Simple Solution to Finding Happiness As A Family Caregiver

As moms and caregivers we all feel like this sometimes. Our kids are dressed in hand-me-down clothes because they outgrow them so quickly. The cupboards are filled with plastic because all our glassware has been shattered. We look around our homes and wish for better only to realize that we’re in a season where better is just not realistic.

What You See Is Not Always the Truth

We like to put our best selves in front of others. Very few of us want others to see us at our worst. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying about reserving judgement until you’ve walked a mile in another’s shoes. We all know we shouldn’t judge someone based on the few words we see from or written about them. This is true for the good parts about life too.

We see people taking grand vacations or remodeling their home or moving to a beautiful new home and we start to envy them. Thoughts of why couldn’t it be me or they have it so easy immediately pop into our minds. But, we rarely hear about the sacrifices they make or their own moments of envy. We don’t often hear about the hard times.

Related Post: Why I Gave Up Cleaning

It’s All About Gratitude

In our society we have twisted our goals from living out our best possible lives on earth to merely have more and nicer things than our neighbors. We have been taught that it isn’t what we give that truly matters it is getting what we believe we deserve. Our #blessings have been reduced to how nice our possessions are and how happy we feel in this moment. We look at all we have and our thoughts are consumed by how much nicer someone else’s is and how we’re certain they really don’t appreciate it.

I have a beautiful kitchen. It large, has plenty of gorgeous granite countertops. We have tons of storage and plenty of cabinet space. The appliances are new and top of the line. Our main living space is open plan so I have views of the dining room, our giant fireplace, and our living room.

But, when I walk in our kitchen, I don’t always feel gratitude. I start looking at the peeling paint on our cabinets. You see, my husband and his dad completely remodeled the home. They wanted to do most of the work themselves. The kitchen was the first room they remodeled. In an effort to save money, they reused most of the 1960’s cabinetry and quickly painted them so as to move on with their project. So I have hastily painted 50 year old cabinets in my otherwise beautiful kitchen.

The Big “Why?”

I see pictures on Facebook of other kitchens and wonder why I don’t have their beautiful kitchen with pristine cabinets. After all, I spend most of my time in the kitchen. I love to cook whereas most other moms tell me it’s their most hated chore. Why are such nice cabinets wasted on them?

I convince myself that if I were to have nicely painted cabinets my life would be complete. I would have no complaints because I finally have the kitchen I deserve. Oh, what I would do if I had those beautiful kitchens! I’m sure my cooking would improve and I would never feel any kind of annoyance about having to cook another meal.

Related Post: The Dangers of Complaining

Don’t Let FOMO Cause You To Actually Miss Out

When my husband and I first got married, we lived for the first 6 months with my in-laws. The house at that time was a very old, very dirty 1960’s, never remodeled ranch house. It was dark and depressing. The kitchen looked like a camp house kitchen with a few nicer dishes thrown in. Then my FIL decided to remodel and make it a dream home.

Everything was transformed and it became a beautiful home. I loved cooking in that amazing, high-end kitchen! Having such a nice kitchen was just a dream of mine for we could surely never afford it.

Fast forward a few years and I now cook everyday in the kitchen that was once just a dream yet I still want something more. You see, my FOMO on nicely painted kitchen cabinets has caused me to miss out on the other remarkable parts of my kitchen.

When we start focusing on our “have nots” we will almost always miss what we have.

‘Tis But A Season

I am the first to admit that there are times in our lives that are really horrible. Bad things happen to us and the people we love. There are times when you are absolutely justified in wanting something better. Survival becomes our only priority.

  1. Remember the better times
    I am a huge advocate for journaling, especially gratitude journals. Every evening, I take 5 or 10 minutes and write at least five things I’m grateful for. I also write down the good and bad parts of my day, what I’ve learned, and what parts of my character I want to improve. When times are bad it’s helpful to go back through my journals. It shows me how far I’ve come, how much I’ve overcome, and is proof that I can make it through even the difficult days.
  2. Realize that they will come again
    When you’re in the trenches of hard times, it’s really hard to remember that you’re going to see the “other side”. Even when you are just wishing you could have nice things again like you did before the kids always remember that there will come a day when this is but a memory.

How to Overcome FOMO

  1. Stay off social media. I know this seems largely impossible in this day and age but it is a huge help in avoiding FOMO. If you can’t eliminate it all together try clearing your newsfeed by unfollowing those you are not close to or choose a day to stay off social media all together.
  2. Stay grateful. You will be surprised at how spending just a few minutes every day thinking (or writing!) about what you are grateful for will change your perspective.
  3. Challenge yourself that for every complaint or wish you will find three things right then and there that bring you joy. Ex. My cabinets need paint but I have a dishwasher that runs well, I have tons of storage allowing me to keep my counters clean, and I have food to put on my table every evening.

If you want even more help in conquering the FOMO in your life, join my 7-day Overcoming FOMO Challenge! Every day, you will receive an email from me with a daily challenge that will help you conquer your fear once and for all!

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Did you like this post? How do you overcome FOMO? Let me know in the comments below!

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