It’s funny that something that has nagged people for years now has its own abbreviation and is used on every social media platform by millions. We have all felt it. No one wants to miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime or the chance to do something fun, but what price are we willing to pay to keep FOMO at bay?
Young moms everywhere have been told they can have it all, it only takes balance. They are told, if you don’t have a fulfilling career, you are missing out. If you don’t experience all the joys of motherhood, you are missing out. If you work full time at an entry-level job, you are wasting your time. If you stay home with your children, you are wasting your earning potential and your family will starve. We have convinced a generation of women that motherhood is the goal, but you better make sure your career is Instagram worthy and pays well too. We haven’t even taken into account the time and energy it takes to be a wife who loves and respects her husband who may be a full-time farmer in need of all kinds of support both emotionally and practically.
While this may seem hopeless and overwhelming, it doesn’t have to remain that way. There is hope, but it comes by way of sacrifice. The result is no regret and another new season of life waiting for you with unimaginable opportunities and plenty of earning potential. As much as this sounds like an infomercial for a pyramid scheme, I assure you, it’s real life.
I spent the ’90s as a pregnant stay-at-home mom. I spent the first decade of the 21st century chasing children and cows and supporting a husband and a farm. The next decade began a change I never saw coming. As my children started to leave the nest, my time as the school carpool mom, classroom cookie provider and uniform cleaning service began to wane, and I discovered I had more time for things I wanted to pursue.
Over time, more projects found their way to my inbox, which have turned into travel opportunities and marketing avenues I had only dreamed about in my ag journalism classes in college. If I could have described my dream job, it wouldn’t have even scratched the surface of what I wake up to do every morning. It challenges every piece of intelligence I ever thought I had and allows me to express myself in ways I once considered daunting at best.
No one ever told me this season was coming. I only heard from well-meaning empty nesters that my children would grow up fast, and I’d miss these younger days when they are toddling around spooning oatmeal off their highchairs and stuffing pieces of syrupy pancake in the DVD player. While I’ll admit I enjoyed the crayon-illustrated Mother’s Day cards and bouquets of dandelions, what kind of parent is sad about their adult children who are successful in their own careers and happy in their own homes?
What did I pay for this second season of life without regret? Boxes of 33-cent macaroni and cheese, pancakes and homemade syrup for days on end because it was cheaper than cereal. Dress pants for junior-high boys from the thrift store and bags upon bags of hand-me-downs from the neighbors. Cheap shampoo, worn out minivans, used appliances and secondhand barn boots bought on eBay. The dollar menu at McDonalds was a family favorite, along with boxes of day-old donuts from the neighbor who worked at the local bakery.
I spent my share of time storming the gates of heaven on behalf of my family and our farm. And I wouldn’t trade a single tear for all the gold in the world. It humbled me. It kept me on my knees, and it made me experience the faithfulness of a God whose promises are always yes and amen. He worked all things together for good, He gave me strength to do all things, and He continues to move mountains and do the impossible so that I can speak of His faithfulness and His steadfast love.
Stop with the FOMO. Instead, embrace your family and the path God wants to lead you down. He will bring you unimaginable joy, and the only thing you’ll fear is missing out on what He has planned for you.
Young moms everywhere, your season is coming. I promise.
Melissa Hart is a freelancer based out of North Adams, Michigan.