This post is a part of a blog carnival with the new online community mom.me, and is sponsored by P&G. Head on over to the mom.me site to take part in the discussion about motherhood and online communities, and you will be entered to win one of five P&G gift baskets valued at $250.
Being involved in social media has certainly expanded my worldview and made me feel a part of a broader community of moms. I have never had that sense of isolation as a mom that I heard my mother’s generation talk about. Despite the fact that some days I don’t ever make it out of my pj’s, I still feel like I get to do a little socializing every night on facebook. When my kids go down for a nap, I can catch up on my reader to see what my friends are doing, or relate to an anecdote from someone else in a similar lifestage. I can blog about my struggles with work/life balance, or my difficulty making decisions about school or childcare, and the comments often feel like my very own community of women, propping me up and guiding me along the journey.
It's also provided me with an amazing community of adoptive moms, with families that look like mine. I may not see them every day, but the beauty of our virtual community means that we can share struggles and ideas with each other, even though we are across the country. I think that I would feel really isolated in my own community if I didn’t have these women to bounce ideas off, or email in the middle of the night because something happened that only they would understand. And while the adoption community is unique to my life circumstance, I know there are SO MANY people who have found a community of support for their own unique situations in the online space.
There have been many times when I’ve used my blog for a sounding board, and where readers have truly helped me come to a better solution. Any time I ask for advice, I take the response into consideration. Recently I wrote about my ambivalence towards my boys playing with weapons, and my readers gave me excellent advice for how to allow for some “gun play” while also teaching gun safety and setting forth some boundaries. Based on my readers’ feedback, we had some serious talks about gun play, and also established a set of rules about weapon play in our house. It has changed the dynamic for the better.
In another post, I was honest about how hard I find it to play with my kids. The comments on this post truly changed my outlook. I was so encouraged to find that I wasn’t alone, and I took the encouragement to focus on my strengths to heart.
There are many times that I feel tempted to go “unplugged”. I fantasize about a kinder, simpler existence where I’m not on the computer as much. And yet, I know that the connections I’ve made online are so valuable, and in many cases they have resulted in real-life friendships. I’ve learned so much about adoption and parenting and just being a better person. I have been challenged and refined, and I am so grateful for the relationships and increased compassion that social networking has given me.