My friend Colleen works for our local public radio station and today she interviewed me for a short little piece she is doing about moms and internet usage/addiction. Of course the moment she pulled out her cool little microphone I froze up and couldn't think for a moment of what I wanted to say.
I have a lot to say about this! This, my friends, is something I know something about!
There were several points I meant to make, but I have no clue what actually came out of my mouth.
I found the online parenting universe (is this what it's called? does it have a name?) back in 2006. I was 22 and pregnant and I wanted information. I spent the first half of my pregnancy soaking in a tub reading every book I could get my hands on, but eventually found that reading books wasn't enough. I wanted a certain kind of information.
I wanted to know what it was really going to be like to have a kid.
I wanted to know how to breastfeed.
I wanted to know every last detail about the mechanics of labor and delivery.
I wanted to know about all the tough decisions I was going to have to make.
And I wanted more than one perspective.
Through a combination of blogging and reading online forums, the fog lifted from around my head and it all started to make sense. I learned how to cloth diaper and cloth diapered my baby from birth. I learned how to breastfeed and had an entire brain full of knowledge about breastfeeding before I had ever even tried it. I felt totally confident about my ability to care for my son and I even had opinions and gut feelings about what was going to work for us, like, the day I came home from the hospital. I was armed with knowledge. Without the internet I would have been somewhat clueless.
But why else do so many moms use the internet now? Isn't there something deeper?
Well. If you want my opinion...
We are all desperate for social interaction, yes, but not just to have friends and sanity, though certainly those things are needed. We gravitate towards each other online because mingling with other mothers on Twitter is simply an extension of connecting the way women have always connected.
Never before have women all lived in isolated little bubbles, trying to do it all, and all on their own. Why should we now? Women actually used to be empowered (I used to hate the word "empowered" especially in rants like this one but it is, in fact, the right word) simply by possessing knowledge about childbirth, breastfeeding, swaddling, soothing, and cleaning toddler poop out of clothes. They were the experts. It was good, true, first-hand information, and the act of sharing it bonded them together. Something happened along the way, and a lot of that power was taken away, but I think we're getting back to it, kind of. In the weirdest and most futuristic of ways. Sitting in our isolated houses all strung up with electricity, Googling ourselves some community.
Breastfeeding, carseat safety, circumcision, food allergies, nutrition, colic, vaccines, potty training, how to swaddle, how to soothe, how to use a breast pump--these are so much more than hot button issues. These are the things that mothers Google.
And we don't want to hear about them from Good Morning America. We want to hear about them from each other.
There may be a part two to this someday. I have even more to say, if you can believe it.
Out of curiosity, how did you find the online mom blogging community? And how do you use it? I am very interested in other perspectives!
(Also, it is late and I typed this very fast. If it you notice entire paragraphs have been edited out in the morning, do not be surprised.)