The Fear of Missing Out FOMO is a real thing as I was told by my son. I always try to keep up with the trend and youthful lingo so that I can be up to speed with issues affecting the younger generation to keep my “Glamma” status. I decided to relate FOMO syndrome further to the older generation and social media.
Apparently FOMO is a phenomenon that is driven by the addiction to social media. It’s the reason why our young ones and even our generation are glued to Instagram, facebook, Snapchat, whatsapp etc. We all want to know what is going on by the second.
FOMO can also be described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”.A social anxiety characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.
This brings me to FOMO during “Omugwo” for the grandmother. Omugwo is the Igbo term for the traditional custom of postpartum care. The mother, mother in law or close female relative come to care for the new mother and baby. They take on most of the household chores, caring for both mom and baby.
Omugwo can go on from 1 -12 months depending on the circumstances of the new parents. With the advent of immigration, Omugwo is now across continents. Most Grandmothers have to leave their residence, comfort zone, social lives, business enterprises, faith based activities and community involvement to attend to their daughter or daughter in law in distant lands.
Omugwo is always a joyous and pleasant experience as it connotes an addition to the family. A tangible blessing from God who fulfils His promise that we will see our children’s children.
However, from my experience and observation, Omugwo comes with FOMO. The fear of missing out during Omugwo.
A few triggers of FOMO are:
1. Spouse: Leaving Grandpa at home and missing out on tender loving care. Missing out on Grandpa’s exploits. Not being able to monitor Grandpa closely.
2. Friends: Missing out on friends landmark such as birthday parties, wedding ceremonies of children, naming ceremonies, promotions, retirement parties and so on. If Grandma is a socialite by nature, FOMO is heightened.
3. Business: Opportunities that arise while on Omugwo duties can be a source of anxiety. Delegating business functions to staff if Grandma runs a business can also be unsettling and a FOMO trigger.
4. Community: As an active member of the church, mosque, association or political party an extended period of absence from home due to Omugwo can also create FOMO.
Therefore FOMO is not only a youthful syndrome but cuts across all ages. A lot of Grandmas are pros on whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram ensuring that they are up to speed on happenings back home.
However Omugwo trumps FOMO any day any time. It is a great joy and privilege to be able to do Omugwo, a fulfilment of God’s promise that we will see our children’s children.
Remember family is everything therefore cherish your Omugwo duties.