Last night I watched the documentary “Catfish”, about meeting people through Facebook. My husband was very skeptical about it, often exclaiming “who would believe anything from Facebook?!” The thing is, I’ve made a lot of new friends through social networking over the last year, and so I want to write down a few thoughts on it.
Being a new mother in this day and age is very, very isolating. Especially being a twin mom, taking those two little babes to a play group, or even the park was extremely difficult in the beginning. Being a mom in my 30’s – ie: I was quite set in my ways when the bubs came along – and being the first of most of my friends to pop babes out, my days and nights radically changed. It was lonely. When my husband kisses us goodbye in the morning and that front door bangs shut, a sort of terror can come over me as I look at my two infants and envision the day ahead…a day of diaper changes, breastfeeding, soothing cranky pants, kissing boo boos, and reading books filled with one syllable words. Self doubt can creep in, wondering if I’m doing this right; it can seem like the strangers I meet on the street are handling things so much better than I am.
Fifty years ago, we would have had our neighbours all around us, commiserating and living side by side. Without air conditioning, everyone’s windows would have been open, and we wouldn’t feel like it’s only OUR children who are up all night. My grandmother did not need to travel across town to find other stay-at-home moms. She shared recipes and house cleaning tips over the fence while literally airing out the laundry!
Yes, I’m idealizing and simplifying things…but social networking, and Facebook in particular, has served a purpose for me. It has created a community for me, so that I don’t feel quite so alone. When I have a question about something, I can post it on a wall, much the same way I might have called over a fence in days past. I know I’ll get a thoughtful and helpful answer from other moms, no matter how far apart we are.
Social networking can be a wonderful tool, I think, and the great thing about it is that we can control it’s presence in our lives. I overlook mama-drama, I choose the groups I join carefully, and I don’t over-share personal info. In this way, I have found the support I needed to make it through this first year, while my real-life community has been continuing their lives – working and going out for dinner and doing all the things a used to do – and my online community has been a touchstone while I transition to Mom-of-two.
That’s not to say that I haven’t had the support of those around me (you know who you are!!!), but when you’re in the fish-bowl of the first year, sometimes you just need to talk to those who get it too.
I’ve met a lot of moms online who are now my real life friends, and I’ve met a lot of moms who I might never meet. Are those moms real?
Does it really matter?