Motherly Collective

Dear Google Calendar,

I suffer from FOMS (Fear of Missing Stuff). People think of “mom brain” as something that affects mostly young mothers and pregnant women, but as a veteran mom of three ranging from 11 to 17, I can assure you the fatigue fog is real for parents well beyond the midnight-feeding and diaper phase.

In this activity-ridden period of parenthood, I find myself entering rooms on a mission and not remembering why I went there in the first place. 

On a regular basis I’ll holler to my family, “I can’t find my cell phone.”

“Try Find My Phone on your Apple Watch,” says a tech-savvy teen.

Pushing the little phone icon inevitably leads to a ping coming from my pocket, where my phone was hiding all along, the sneaky little devil.

There’ve been times I’ve forgotten to pick up kids or blown off commitments all together. 

I chalk up missing commitments to schedule fatigue. Managing the schedules of five people is a considerable responsibility. Who goes where? What time? How are they going to get there? Wait—how can I be in three places at once? Is there an app for that?

What I need is a time portal app, but what I’ve got is an app for each family member’s activity, school and even fundraiser. Apps for everyone and everything. Apps doled out like shady advertisement cards on the Vegas strip. A shrill string of pings bombard my phone with to-dos, schedule additions and updates. 

Add an actual career beyond parenting and spousing into the equation and my brain simply cannot store any more information. I’m on the verge of losing my mind and one more school spirit week away from plummeting over the edge. 

My brain is at capacity, hence the schedule fatigue. Something must give when I’ve reached information overload and mommy data starts leaking out of my ears. If there isn’t a time travel app or a mom cloning app then I need an app to manage it all. Oh, wait. I have you, my Google Calendar app.

Not to sound melodramatic, but you’re my agenda angel. My daybook dream. In a charming, color-coded format I can keep everyone’s activities nicely labeled and organized. I can add reminders and notes like post-its of old. Sometimes I even add placeholders to protect small windows of downtime. You keep us in line with ping reminders throughout the day. You lay out before us our days, weeks, months and even years. 

At times I worry our relationship isn’t healthy. My dependence on you is tipping the scales towards helpless and clingy. You seem to be enabling my inevitable over-engagement. If our family doesn’t put every single school, activity and leisure events on your tantalizing timetable, it’s like they don’t exist. When my 11-year-old got her first phone this year, I immediately had her download your app so she too could live and die by your systematic and structured savvy, Google Calendar.

Are there occasional snafus? Yes. Like which dance studio do I drive to on Tuesdays? What do you mean there’s extra practice this weekend? It’s not on the calendar! But you can’t be held responsible for user error, dear Google Calendar, or, heaven-forbid, an aloof offspring who doesn’t update the family calendar. 

The household schedule keeper is like an air traffic controller. Signals get crossed and the schedule crashes and burns. The ultimate victory being a day of safely landing each person where they belong at the right(ish) time.

After years of believing I had to do it all, I’m finally realizing the best way to avoid FOMS is to recruit help. I can trust my spouse to help—he can do it, really. Friends and grandparents assist in a pinch. Kids bum rides with friends—it’s okay, not a reflection on my imperfection. Sure, we all want to be super parents, but the thing is, most superheroes have sidekicks to help. Batman and Robin. Dr. Strange and Wong. Iron Man and War Machine. You get the picture, Google Calendar.

Also, I think FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is contributing to my FOMS. Ultimately, it’s me who needs to take charge of our family schedule. I can pick and choose what we commit to or what we allow our kids to commit to. Let’s be real—all parents and families are over-scheduled. Me and mine included. 

There was a time when kids were just kids, not little balls of anxiety being rolled to activity after activity. Not the cause of our snowballing to-do lists and cumulative stress. The only after school commitments for kids were eating cereal out of the box while watching “Saved by the Bell” or meeting a friend at the park. Nostalgic, I know, but those feel like the good old days. 

So, Google Calendar, as much as I need you, maybe if I slowed down and saved some time for my kids to be kids and my family to be together it would help alleviate FOMO and FOMS.

But until I get that all sorted out, I want to thank you for keeping my brain from exploding and my family schedule from imploding. Even though this relationship feels very one-sided, you are my rock Google Calendar. 

My Apple Watch just pinged a reminder about where I need to be. As soon as I find my iPhone, I’ll be out the door and on my way.



P.S. FOMS isn’t a diagnosed ailment, although it could be on the anxiety spectrum, and if I had time in my schedule I’d make an appointment to tell this theory to my therapist.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.