My participation with social media only precedes my stint as a mother by a year or so. I was one of the first people from my college to sign up for Facebook (thefacebook – remember that?) and I’ve had a blog since 2005. I don’t quite know how to be a mom without social media. For me, those two things go hand-in-hand and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. There’s always talk about how much should you share about your kids on social media or whether blogging about your kids does them harm long-term, but for the most part I actually think being signed up on a variety of different sites has made me a better mother. Honestly.
1) I’m more introspective.
This is a blogger’s life: Have something happen to you. Figure out how you feel about it. Find the words to tell other people how you feel about it. Write those words. Hit publish.
Since most of my time is spent working (boring!!) and caring for children, I tend to think deeply about what’s happening in my children’s lives and how I feel about it. My daughter’s in a school where she’s the only black kid? I wrote about it. My son is going through his terrible two’s? Read the post on how I kept his tantrums to a minimum. My life is an open book.
2) I’m more likely to view parenting as collaborative.
Before I started the Young Mommy Life community on Facebook, I had very few real-life examples of women who were doing it—being awesome mothers, making money, being happy and stylish and all that good stuff. I knew they had to be out there but I wasn’t seeing any in my day-to-day life. So I turned online, like most people do nowadays, and what do you know? I found them. Oodles of them. Now when I have questions, I ask them and I know I’m able to get a variety of answers from people of all different backgrounds. While most of us no longer have “the village,” an extended network of aunts and cousins who can guide us through motherhood, we can create it ourselves online.
3) I feel supported.
Younger moms in previous generations might have felt isolation, but I’m learning from moms all over the world. I can only imagine how my grandmother felt, a newly single mom of three at 25. Who did she turn to? Who was there for her when she was struggling to keep her cool or to keep a roof over her kids’ head? I feel blessed to be coming of age in an era where good, solid friendships can be developed with the click of a mouse.
4) Bored with your kids? Here’s 13,524 activities you can do.
I don’t think I’m creative. At all. When my daughter has to learn her spelling words, I teach her by repeating them over and over to her and occasionally using flash cards. But with Pinterest, I find so many ideas so easily that it’s rare that we find ourselves bored with no clue what to do. Some might argue that this is a negative, but for craft-challenged moms like myself, social media is a godsend.
5) I’m more likely to savor the memories.
Instagram, Facebook, blogging – there are so many ways to capture those every day memories now. While most people born prior to 2001 might only have a handful of photos of their childhood, the invention of a pretty decent cell phone camera has made today’s kids likely to have daily snapshots of their lives. I may not take my kids’ pictures every day but because my phone is so handy, I have more photos of then post-smart phone than before I became an iPhone owner.
6) I challenge myself more – in a good way.
There’s something about writing your way through life that makes you think about the choices you make much more carefully. Did I sit and watch Real Housewives or do I go read a book? (No shade to those who watch Real Housewives.) Do I challenge myself to apply for that conference or do I sit back and let the deadline pass? I challenge myself to do better and be better every day, because I know there are eyes watching me.