Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 65: Fear of Missing Out | Parenting & Fairness

 In some of my previous blogs (Day 60 , Day 61) I wrote about how comparing yourself and your responsibilities to that of another, specifically the father of your child – can be a source of inner conflict within self.

Because being a mother is a very specific role, you cannot compare it to being a father – and even more so if you as the mother are the primary caretaker of the child while the father is primarily the breadwinner. You’re both looking after your child(ren), but in different ways. The mother through a one-on-one direct approach, the father through creating financial stability to ensure a proper environment for the children/family to live and grow up in.

Another point which I identified within this framework of ‘fairness’ and ‘comparison’ (well, they’re really one framework, comparison always precedes fairness) is that of ‘fear of missing out’.

Having children/a family can be a stressful situation. Especially if not so long ago it was just you and your partner, there were fewer responsibilities and fewer financial pressure. When a child enters reality, both these aspects grow exponentially. Suddenly you are overrun with things to do in relation to your child, and your spending pattern suddenly takes a surge. What I found here is that in essence your ‘survival mode’ knob gets switched up a bit higher, and both mother and father are more tensed.

Then, when there is a moment during the day where both parents can relax / take some time off from one’s responsibilities and ‘switch out’ from survival mode; both parents will tend to want to ‘hold on’ to that time/moment. If then your child suddenly needs attention, obviously one of the parents needs to attend to the child and step away from one’s relax/fun time. And here something interesting happens, where neither of the parents want to go and stand as the point of support for the child, because both parents believe/perceive that they are entitled to their own ‘time off’ and that it is ‘the other’ who should go and stand as the point. This is even more so, if you are still holding on to comparisons between yourself and your partner, where you’ve still been comparing your responsibilities to that of your partner and believe that you got the short end of the stick and that within you ‘suffering more’, your partner should now go and you should be allowed to stay in your ‘off time’. Within this fairness point playing out, there is also a fear that if one goes and tend to the child, that there is a chance your partner was more rested/more up to it than you are and so ‘more suitable’ to go tend to the child than you are, where you fear that your partner is now enjoying himself ‘unduly’ – time that *you* could have been spending enjoying yourself in some time off. So with this added dimension, where you fear you are being taken advantage of – you will resist tending to your child not because you’re not physically up for it, but because you don’t want your partner to ‘cash in’ on your actions; where there’s now this whole mental competition game playing out between the two parties involved, where each one will be reluctant to do what needs to be done because each one is suspicious of one another and fear missing out.

This then opens the door for strange behaviour such as insisting that ‘both go’ so that ‘both miss out’, believing that this creates a more ‘equal scenario’, whilst this only satisfies one’s fairness construct. Or the opposite where one insist on making plans where both can have ‘off time’, not because you necessarily want to spend time together, but because you don’t want to experience yourself as ‘missing out’.

To be continued…

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