Motherhood and Social Media
Before the advent of Facebook, Pinterest, Skype and various other social media tools, motherhood was, in some ways, a much more isolating experience. Of course, before social media, mothers may have had email, phone calls and in-person visits. But social media and tools like smart phones and web cams bring your friends and family right into your living room, regardless of location, and allow them experience the growth of your child up close and personal. These days, moms can keep in touch with friends and family like never before.
Social media serves another important purpose: it brings moms together and makes geography nearly irrelevant. You adopted your child from China? There is a Facebook page or blog dedicated to that where you can connect with other moms with children adopted from China and share your experiences, ask questions, and make friends. Ditto for many other motherhood experiences. The internet and social media help us stay connected and meet others of like minds or experiences. This can be immensely reassuring when you are faced with a motherhood dilemma outside your previous experience.
Here are some of the most common social media tools I have found useful and some that many of my friends who are moms love to use:
Although there are concerns that Facebook popularity is declining among teens, every mom I know uses it regularly. We post pictures of our kids, updates on our lives, questions about events at school and where to find a good pediatric dentist. It is a great tool for keeping up with both local friends and family and those that live far away.
You should be aware that Facebook is notorious for changing their privacy settings constantly and not informing users. Therefore, I never post anything on Facebook that is sensitive or private. You really can’t be absolutely sure who might see your post. Also, Facebook has had the tendency in the past to ban breast-feeding photos and sometimes delete those users’ accounts, so while it is your right to post these types of family photos, the network has shown a strange intolerance to them, so beware.
That said, I love keeping up with what my friend in Spain is doing and her daughter’s activities, as well as making plans with my neighborhood friends for a barbeque. I also belong to a Facebook group of moms with multiples and we talk about parenting issues specific to having twins or triplets.
Need an idea for a snack to serve for a toddler birthday party? Looking for an age-appropriate educational activity? How about nursery decorating ideas? That and more can be found on Pinterest by pinning photos and ideas of people you know and people you don’t. Along the way you can learn lots of interesting things about your friends. One of my friends has a prolific collection of dessert recipes – all involving chocolate. Another is obsessed with bookshelves of every shape and dimension. Another I can always count on for great ideas for appetizers.
Love photos? Instagram allows you to tap your inner photographer and view others photos. You can also share them on Facebook and other social media sites. It is an opportunity to showcase your life in photos for friends and family to see, but the profiles are public, so everyone else can see, too.
There is nothing better than Skype for keeping in touch with family and friends far away – it’s almost as good as being there. It’s free to talk computer-to-computer and while you have to remember to talk straight into the webcam (or else all people will see is your forehead), it is a live way to talk so your mother that lives five states (or a continent) away can see and hear your infant daughter cooing. My niece put on a trombone concert for my parents a few weeks ago and sometimes my best friend and I get on and chat after the kids have gone to bed in place of going out like we used to. You can even BYOB.
Email and Texting
Don’t care to share your whole life with the masses, or even just your online friends? It’s a valid concern – many sites have little to no security settings, so there is really no way to ensure that what you post stays within your circle of family and friends. Emailing and texting, now considered old-school, aren’t completely foolproof, but you have a reasonable expectation that your rant to your best friend about not getting any sleep and the lack of privacy while pumping at work will be seen only by her.
What was parenthood before social media? It was a lot more private, and really, there is no substitute for in-person visits, but when that isn’t possible, social media can be the next best thing. It also opens up so many parenting resources and avenues for creativity, information and validation. It’s a way for friends and family outside your local circle to see your kids grow up, and to me, that is pretty amazing.
This guest post is by a SmartMom Contributor. SmartMom is an easy way to receive fast answers to all of your parenting questions from the convenience of your mobile device. We’re launching in the app store soon – Visit our website http://smartmom.co for early access!