Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mom: Creating a Mom Network

Some people may view Facebook, Twitter and all of the social media websites as the downfall of civilization.  (In my opinion, Honey Boo Boo and Teen Mom are the downfall of civilization but that is for a different soapbox).  I mean, let's face it - we are more connected than ever.  One of my biggest pet peeves (and I mean makes me want to scream into a pillow) is when we are at a restaurant, I look around and I see couples who are at the table, both playing with their cell phones.  Or families where the kids are playing with their Nintendo DS and Dad is checking his email.  I swear, it makes me want to go apeshit.  Thankfully, no one in my family is that thoughtless, rude or uncaring as to ever just whip out their phone while we are all having a nice dinner or even just sitting around chit chatting in the family room.

My point is, we are very connected.  And it's addicting!  It is hard not to check Facebook, Twitter, your email, etc. 24/7 because we all have smart phones and iPadsSo we actually have to make an effort to put our phones up at night (i.e., put them on the kitchen counter and walk away) so that we aren't tempted to spend our time together in silence, playing on our phones.

But in some ways, being so connected is a blessing.  It allows us to keep in touch with people we might have lost touch with.  It allows us to inappropriately check out what is going on in the lives of frenemies or ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends.  Most businesses today could not survive without Facebook.  We even shop on Facebook now.  And if you are a new parent, Facebook provides a forum for advice and help from other new moms!

A few of my friends from high school and college have had babies.  A few more are pregnant now.  Reading their blogs, their Facebook updates and looking at their pictures can be so comforting.  Especially when you and your baby are going through a difficult time.  Take teething for example.  The first week in October, Susan was teething again.  I expressed my frustrations (aka bitched about it) on Facebook.  I received several comments from friends, including some from friends who had friends with kids, with suggestions on how to help Susan.  We tried a few (unfortunately, the amber bracelet did not work) and then saved some to try for the next round of teething.  But my point is, without Facebook, it would have been difficult to get those suggestions.

Also, for example, when I didn't believe my pediatrician that Susan couldn't wear sunscreen until 6 months and we went to Florida when she was 3.5 months, I messaged a friend from high school on Facebook.  I remembered that she and her husband had taken their daughter to the beach when she was that age, and I wanted to know what they did.  She confirmed what my pediatrician said and then gave us great suggestions about how to let Susan enjoy the beach while staying safe.  And her tip on what kind of beach hat to get was super helpful. 

Facebook has been such a wonderful tool for this reason.  I mean, it is pretty much the only way this blog gets read.  And while I may not have stayed in touch with these people if it weren't for our shared plight (and that is, being a parent, especially a new parent, is scary as shit and its nice to see other people are struggling and scared too), but thankfully, we can all unite around motherhood.  I remember reading in some of my pregnancy or motherhood books that sometimes, new moms can be competitive and judgmental.  Well, I have not felt that way at all.  Or at least, I am not trying to compete.  I'll tell you right now that I do not have it all together.  I have bumped Susan's head on the door putting her into her carseat more than once.  I have sat on the floor of her bedroom and cried with her when she couldn't fall back asleep at 2:30 a.m.  I have wished she would nap just a little longer so I could sit on the couch for ten more minutes because I am so exhausted.  I have had bad morning with short tempers.  Trust me, I am not competing with anyone.  And I am so thankful to have friends and co-workers who have babies and who aren't judgmental when I have questions.  So I guess my biggest piece of advice to my friends who are pregnant is, don't be afraid to ask for help or ideas.  Yes, you will know what works best for your baby, but hearing war stories from your friends and tips and tricks that they found helpful really is beneficial.  And always remember, this too shall pass.  Until the next big development.  If I have learned anything over the last 7 months is NOTHING STAYS THE SAME FOR LONG.

So thank you to all my friends for all of your help and support.  I am sure I will be calling on you again soon!


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