Updated: Jan 13
The fear of missing out on having kids and the fear of missing out because you have kids is real. It's a double-edged FOMO sword. We can't be the only ones who genuinely feared how drastic our lives would change after having children, but also knew how important having a family was to us. So here we were in a perpetual state of limbo wondering if there is ever the perfect time to start a family. It is also perfectly understandable to decide not to have kids and maintain your freedom. You can read more about the topic in our Modern Families blog post.
Perfect Timing: Simply, NO. We don't believe there is ever a perfect time to have kids. For most people, and us, we never really knew if we were ready. And how did one even know they were ready?! Deciding to have children earlier or later in life is personal preference. Either way you trade some positives for some negatives and visa versa. You may think you are ready to have kids and desire a large family, but have you been exposed to little ones before?! Amanda grew up babysitting younger cousins and her nieces. She knew the physical and mental exhaustion that went into raising kids and at the end of the day she got to go home and sleep uninterrupted for as long as she'd like. Even though Amanda thought she knew what she was getting into she still had NO IDEA what she was getting into! Prior to becoming a mom, a few of Katie's friends had children so she had an underlying idea of what it "could" be like without fully understanding what it would actually be like. The younger you are having children can mean less funds and resources available although you may have more flexibility early in your career and more energy. The older you are may mean you have more financial stability although you may lack flexibility and leave time in work schedules due to career demands. One thing is for certain, your life will constantly evolve and when you think timing is perfect another opportunity or obstacle will present itself. We have learned to just go with it!
Career: Guilt, it's inevitable. As most of our followers know Katie is a full time bad @$$ working mom and Amanda is a mostly stay at home mom and real-estate agent. Both of us have FOMO. There are days when Katie wishes she could stay home with Remi all day in their pajamas and soak in as many snuggles and kisses possible. There are days Amanda wishes she could drop Sonny off in the morning and have 8 hours of uninterrupted adult time that challenges her mentally. Both of us questioned what our careers would look like after having kids. Would we have more FOMO continuing our career by going back to work and missing out on precious time spent with our kids OR would we have FOMO staying home and throwing away years of hard work and education that would potentially leave us scrambling for a career again later in life? There is no right or wrong answer and no solution that absolves you from guilt no matter what you decide. Everyday there is a new source of guilt or FOMO. We are all just trying our best and doing what works for our families. Also, never heard of a dad questioning what their career would look like after having kids, but that's a topic for another blog post.
Before Kids: We are hear to say that it is normal to miss your freedom prior to becoming a parent and FOMO is real. When you have a child, your life dramatically changes. The spontaneous adventures, vacations, dinners, outings and nearly any random act is now limited or nonexistent. If you are one who likes to control things, becoming a parent can certainly reduce your sense of control and as bad as it sounds moms can feel overwhelmed and even trapped (no judging). How many times have you sat home and missed a brunch, concert, or girls weekend? You can be feeling grateful for your precious little blessings and also miss dancing in your heels with one arm up, to your favorite house music on a thirsty Thursday with a vodka Red Bull in your hand. We have all been there, so how do we cope? We find it extremely important to schedule plans and lock in a date. If time with your friends is something you miss, schedule a brunch or dinner. If taking a small trip or spending time with your partner is something you miss, then schedule the time to reconnect. If you have a plan, you can have something to look forward to and this can allow you reconnect with your previous self. Happy moms equal happy houses so if we take care of ourselves, we can be present and in the moment.
Pandemic: The never ending story. We both had our first babies in the beginning of the pandemic. Do not get us wrong, it was an AWFUL time to have a child, especially a first baby. Amanda's baby shower was canceled. Katie had to wait to be induced and went well past her due date. We felt isolated and alone with no visitors allowed at the hospital. It was awful limiting visitors and wearing masks when we would have loved company. It crushed us spending our kids first holidays away from loved ones. Having a sick child is the most helpless and nerve-racking thing about parenting. IYKYK. With so many uncertainties with COVID we did everything possible to limit exposure. Ironically, there was a silver lining to having newborns when most of the world was shut down. Summers in Chicago are filled with outdoor concerts, festivals and events. The city is never more alive! So naturally we missed none of those experiences. There was no "I'm sorry we can't go because we don't have a sitter" or feeling left out because we had kids. Literally there was nothing to do! Most new moms will tell you how lonely and isolating parenting can be in those first few months. Well the entire world felt like many new moms! Now we're not saying that's a good thing! But we are saying that we didn't have any of the newborn baby FOMO.
Almost two years into this pandemic and a third wave has us experiencing a new kind of FOMO we never imagined. The fear of getting sick and/or our kids getting sick has taken over. We long for normal times. Simple things like going to the store have been complex. Thank goodness for curbside pick up, may it live on post-pandemic. There are so many things our kids and ourselves have missed out on living in a pandemic state of mind. The only world our kids know is this. A world where we don't go to more classes and activities. A world where we don't utilize daycare and playdates for socialization. A world where they rarely go with us to run errands and go into stores. A world where they haven't traveled. A world where they will need to learn how to wear a mask (not because we are anti-mask, but because this is going on for so long). The pandemic parenting FOMO is worse than having kids FOMO in our opinion.
People have asked us if having kids is worth it. Is it worth knowing that you may not be able to go to a last minute concert or vacation or dinner? ABSOLUTELY. But do parents randomly reflect on the freedom they had prior to having babies? ABSOLUTELY. There is a love you have for your child that is unexplainable that makes every freedom you may have lost be worth it. When you become a parent you are initiated into a tribe like no other. There is an unspoken understanding for your experiences and constant silent support. This has been one of our favorite things about becoming moms. One day when our kids no longer need us 24/7 we will want to trade every ounce of our new found freedom to go back in time for just five minutes when we were their everything. These are the good days even though they are long and hard and exhausting and draining. The saying is so true...."The days are long but the years are short." There is no perfect time to have kids. It may never seem like you are ready. But don't let the fear of missing out on life hinder your decision because it's worth it. You learn to adjust, you acclimate to your new life and norm. Trust us. Our lives were great pre-kids; filled with fancy dinners, luxurious vacations, last minute adventures, and warm cups of coffee that didn't have to be reheated several times. We love our lives now making memories with our favorite tiny little humans.
X0 - Katie & Amanda