I’ve worked with hundreds of parents and their children over the years, and I sometimes run into my clients outside of the office while out in public. Interestingly parents of younger children (say age 12 or less) are happy to walk right up to me when this happens. They say hello to me beaming with smiles and if their kids are with them, strike up random conversation and banter.
Ok well maybe not quite on the street. More like at playgrounds, in coffee shops, and inside shopping malls. We all get a little garrulous with other parents when we’re out and about, don’t we? Being a parent – especially of young kids - really is like being a member of a club: The “I’m so busy I forgot to have friends” club.
When I was a kid, I took the yellow bus to school like so many others. One day, a new (and painfully shy) girl stumbled up the steps. As she gazed across the crowded, rowdy seats with a look that screamed “What fresh hell is this?” on her face, not a soul acknowledging her existence, I finally smiled at her and said “You can sit here,” pointing to the seat next to me. It was a tiny, simple thing – no big deal really. But it was to her. The look of relief and gratitude on her face was one I didn’t soon forget.
I confess: Since becoming a mom, I’ve been bit by the FOMO bug. A “Digital Generation” term to the core, FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out.” I’m not talking about your typical variety though, usually involving coveting thy cyber neighbour’s recent and ultra-fabulous vacation in the Maldives, showcased in a carefully curated – and epically filtered – collage of photos on social media. No, I have a FOMO on something else: Opportunity.
Okay, well maybe he’s “number two.” After all — and at the risk of sounding like a household straight out of Austin Powers - I’m “number one.” And we probably all know what I mean by that: Regardless of what stage we’re at in life, we always need to take care of ourselves first — physically and emotionally — before we can take care of others.