I have a serious #firstworldproblem. I have the holiday fear of missing out, AKA H-FOMO. In these few weeks leading up to Christmas, about 90% of the most awesome activities of the year are all smashed together and you have to do them RIGHT NOW or else you are MISSING OUT. And your kids are not living their BEST HOLIDAY LIFE. And then when January comes you are totally screwed because NOTHING HAPPENS IN JANUARY. And really, not in February or March either. I mean, sure, there’s Valentine’s Day and St. Patty’s. But, come on, there’s no comparison to the plethora of activities and MAKING MEMORIES moments that happen in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
And there is my problem. I want to do ALL THE THINGS. But at the same time, I DON’T WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS. I’m an introverted extrovert who is pushing 40 and is really tired most of the time. I really want to go to your holiday party, but I totally want to ghost after the first 30 minutes. I want to curl up under a blanket on my couch with my twins, a bucket of popcorn, hot cocoa in a travel mug, and Elf playing on my TV. That’s what I REALLY want to be doing. But the whole time I’m sitting there on my couch (while I’m seriously enjoying not leaving the house) I’m feeling guilty that I’m not taking my kids ice skating, sledding, gingerbread house making, zoo light-seeing, Christmas window shopping, etc etc etc!!!!
What the hell is wrong with me??? I see my friends on Facebook and Instagram posting all the photos and videos of all the fun winter festivals, Christkindlmarkets, Hanukkah events, and I want to do all of that! I want to give those experiences to my kids! I want to be THAT MOM. The one who spends every moment of every weekend bringing special experiences and joy to her kids!
But when am I supposed to get shit done? I work full time. The weekends are my only time to do laundry, clean my house, go shopping, and all that stuff exhausts me too! The garbage is piling up and there’s a minefield of LEGOs scattered across my living room floor. How are people doing it???
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And the only solution I can think of is that they are all NOT doing it. They are doing ALL THE THINGS and completely failing to keep up with their weekend chores. I mean, I rarely see photos of the INSIDE of their houses. Maybe their places are completely wrecked! OR maybe they have hired people to do the cleaning, the shopping, and all that crap for them. Hired help is amazing, and I wish I could afford it! (I seriously am not knocking you if you have help — do you think you could send them over to my place once in a while?)
Another explanation? That over the course of all the hours of scrolling through social media in the past month, I’ve created an incomplete picture of what all these people are doing. I’m seeing all the happy moments. The smiles, the fun, the joy! The sitting on Santa’s lap-ing! The one horse open sleigh-ing! That’s ALL I’m seeing. I’m not seeing the tantrums, the crying, the hours driving, the breaking up fights, the snack packing, the arguing with your spouse-ing. That’s the shit no one wants to share. But I wish they would!!!! Because then maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad about staying home. I would feel like I made the right choice to only take my kids to a very select list of carefully curated events (I’m still taking them to, like, three things — I’m not a monster!)
So please, make a pact with me. I promise to post everything — the good AND the bad — this holiday season. Because we need to see all the moments! The crying and the smiling and the tantrums and the laughter! That’s REAL LIFE. That is the expectation that we should be living. This holiday fear of missing out is ridiculous. If I’m with my kids, enjoying their company, snuggling, laughing, and smiling, does it matter WHERE we are doing all that? In my living room or at the annual holiday craft fair? No. Because 20 years from now, what are they going to remember? They are going to remember maybe a handful of actual events, but the things that will really stick are the BEING TOGETHER. Now THAT is what really matters.
If you are out there doing ALL THE THINGS this holiday season, I give you a standing ovation. And here, you can have my chair — I’m pretty sure you need it more than I do right now. And if you’re avoiding doing all the things, just imagine me on my couch, under my blanket, toasting to you with my travel mug full of hot cocoa (and peppermint Schnapps, who am I kidding?) You’re in good company.
Julie Burt Nichols is Twiniversity’s “Wizard Behind the Curtain”, serving as Editor-in-Chief of Twiniversity.com, Account Manager, and Instructor for Chicago Twiniversity classes. Julie is a full-time working mother to twin boys, born on Halloween. She loves serving as a resource and support for new parents, soon-to-be parents, and we-want-desperately-to-be parents. Julie is proud to be a certified child passenger safety technician and the Twiniversity Resident Songstress/Jingle Writer.