Raising Mary: An Online Lifeline


Okay, okay. I confess. I am a daily Facebook user. Sometimes I even check my account several times a day. If I’m such a busy stay-at-home mother, some of you might say, how do I have time to indulge this habit?

My answer is, how do I not have the time? Even though it was originally intended for university students, Facebook is ideal for busy, and sometimes isolated, parents. I joined Facebook a few years after Mary, now five, was born. Before that, the only way I could share photos of my first baby (which was a necessity; you know how new parents are about their first baby) was through email. Download the photos, click on every single person in my contact list I wanted to send to, and do this every time. Snore…

I was reluctant to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. I thought it was a silly fad. But once I grudgingly set up an account, I enjoyed how easy it was to upload photos of my baby girl. Then I got hooked on the immediate feedback. It wasn’t long before I was getting friend requests from far-flung university pals I’d lost touch with because who has the time for long phone calls? It’s also been a great way to stay connected with cousins whom I rarely see. When we visit in person, there isn’t so much to catch up on because we already know what’s been happening in each other’s daily lives. It makes for more laidback reunions.

I avoided posting status updates at the beginning. Then I went to the other extreme, and decided to post witty status updates every day. This was not fun, because some days, well, there was nothing witty in my brain. Now, I am in the happy middle: status updates when I darn well feel like it. Sometimes, I go weeks without posting one.

What I do like a lot about this feature, however, is that I can share frustrations or funny things about my day, and get feedback from my ‘friends’, most of whom are mothers (and fathers) my age. It is convenient and comforting to know that when I have a parenting dilemma, I can post a quick question on my Wall and get 10 responses from parents with children the same age as mine. Mothering is my full-time job, and it’s so good to feel that I have my own community of mothers, some stay-at-home and some not, to chat with, commiserate with and laugh with, albeit virtually.

I’m also trained as a journalist, and I’ve come to think of my social media page as my little journal, read every day by people I care about and who care about me. I love offering that support back to them, seeing their photos and reading what’s happening in their days. This online socializing has helped me feel less isolated on days or weeks when my resources are low, when my husband has a bunch of evening shifts, when I am sleep deprived, when the weather is bad and I’m just not getting much adult time. It can be a much needed lifeline out of the world of five- and three-year-olds sometimes.

Though I miss my old office buddies, I’ve come to think of the other FB mothers as my current colleagues. I don’t think I’d spend much time on Facebook if I was working outside the home. Really.

As for this tweeting business, I haven’t tried that yet. How do people find the time? (LOL!)

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