Working Mom FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

I started traveling for work in 2012, which was a new experience and something I really enjoyed. I didn’t like being away from my husband (then boyfriend) but I got used to flying, presenting and feeling like I was doing something productive. When I switched jobs, I didn’t travel outside of a big conference once a year and missed it but didn’t think too much about it. Now I’m back in a position where I can travel and I’m facing the dreaded baby FOMO.

I went on a business trip and missed baby P but because she was with my husband, I knew she was fine and was either at school (daycare) or at home with him. Then he and I took a trip when I got back and my parents watched her. That meant I went about 6 days without seeing her. I had pictures and video sent to me but wasn’t too worried about her.

Then the thing that caused my FOMO happened. My parents sent a message saying it sounds like she is saying she wants her daddy. I laughed and we both said “aww” not thinking much of it. She was rolling over and laughing but hadn’t begun pronouncing syllables so we assumed she was just making noises and they misunderstood her.

Then Sunday rolls around and we get back from the trip… “da da da dabl blablbal.” That’s a semi-direct quote from baby P. She was saying da da da very clearly. My husband was ecstatic and everyone kept telling me that it was okay and it’s the easiest thing for kids to say but I was more excited she started kind of talking. I wasn’t upset that she said “dada” first, in fact I was happy she did. On the drive home, my husband pointed out that we can’t go on trips for a while because we are missing things. We missed her starting to speak syllables. Like a punch in the gut, it hit me. I’m missing things.

When I drop her off at school she is so happy to be there and she snuggles on her teacher. They will probably see her crawl first. They will hear her first words. They are the ones that will be around. If I go on business trips, someone else will experience her firsts. Is this something that is just a cruel reality of being a working mom? You can chase your dreams but you will miss out?

I’m not condemning being a working mom, traveling, daycares or anything like that. I just didn’t think about the fact that I will miss things that I never knew would mean anything to me. Hearing her say “blah” clear as day for the first time is something I wanted to hear.

I know there are moms who get to see their kids even less than I do but it really is something you can’t prep for. You can’t tell yourself that everything will be okay and you won’t feel guilty because you aren’t there because you don’t know.

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