Do Blogs/Blogging Make New Moms Happier?

When Fia was born, the internet saved me. Now, it’s killing me. Lately I have been writing about how I decided to unplug and what I discovered in unplugging. In short, my mind isn’t constantly racing and I  feel more in-the-moment with my babies.

It was a different story with Fia.  The web was my connection to the world. I would spend hours giving and getting advice from moms. I’d scour blogs and read everything from sleep training to reflux. I’d write about my own mental health. I’ve often said it wasn’t my husband or my therapist who pulled me through those early months. It was other moms. Many of whom I never met in person.

So it’s no surprise a recent study says that new moms who are in the blogosphere feel more connected, less alone, less stressed, even less depressed.

“That potentially is going to spill out into other aspects of their well being, including their marital relationship with their partner, the ways that they’re feeling about their parenting stress, and eventually into their levels of depression,” says Brandon T. McDaniel, graduate student in human development and family studies, Penn State.

He and his colleagues at Brigham Young University surveyed 157 new mothers who had babies under 18 months. They asked about their use of media, both in terms of blogging and social media like Facebook. The social media aspect didn’t have much impact. But writing and reading blogs did. I think therein lies the difference.

When you are texting and checking your phone all day for emails, your mind spins. You feel less-connected to just about everything. It becomes an addiction. When you’re blogging or reading blogs you feel more a part of something. I’m not tooting my own horn here. For me, the phone is my addiction, the blog is my salvation.

I think the author of the study explained it well. He pointed out several potential benefits for new mothers who blog:

  1. It gives moms a way to connect with family and friends who live far away.
  2. It gives moms a creative outlet. They can showcase their hobbies and accomplishments, especially the stay-at-home moms.
Both of these make sense to me. We moms often struggle with feeling under-appreciated. I know my blog gives me a sense of self that I may have lost otherwise.
 
In the study, the moms reported spending about three hours per day on the computer and using the Internet. That was only behind sleep at seven hours a day and caring for their babies at nine hours a day.
 
I think about the generations of moms before us. On the one hand, their lives seemed simpler. They weren’t checking iphones and texting all the time. What did they do with those extra three hours? I often wonder if they were more focused and present? Or if they were more stressed and depressed? We know by Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique that many were questioning their purpose in life. Housewives were admitting their unhappiness and realizing motherhood wasn’t always enough. It still isn’t for many of us. In that regard, I think we are lucky to have all the technology at our fingertips. We can connect and feel connected. For many stay at home moms, blogging has even turned into a career.
 
How you manage it is the key.
 
There’s a fine line between fulfilling your life and dominating your life; between oversharenting and not sharing enough.  Should you be writing about your kids or spending time with them? I guess it comes down to finding your own personal balance. I know I’ve been working hard to find mine.
 
As for why social media like Facebook did little for the moms? Here’s what I think: Social media, for all its good, is a time-suck. I know it doesn’t leave me feeling content. Blogging, on the other hand, is writing. When I get to sit down and use my creative energy to put something organic out there, I feel purposeful and accomplished. Plus, if it helps others, I actually feel useful. Writing inspires me. It keeps my brain functioning in a way that diapers and breast pumps don’t.
 
But how do you embrace social media, disconnect from the internet/Blackberry, blog about motherhood, and not feel hypocritical?

I have said before that I’m going for quality over quantity. Set limits for your online time/your kid time/your wife time and stick to them. Put the phone away after a certain time of day. It takes discipline, but I think in this day and age, it’s the only way we can straddle all our worlds without losing sight of the most important one: our kids.

 

Image: Blog Pic via Shutterstock

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  2. by Sara

    On July 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I have found that blogging does provide some stress relief. It allows for personal reflection, gives me a place to vent, as well as a place to inform others about what is going on with me. Not that many people read it of course, lol! But I agree with what you say about social media. It is a total time suck. I have to limit my children’s computer time as well as my own, otherwise we get completely lost in the digital world and ignore each other. I try now to keep my computer time to when I am not with the children, unless we are looking up movie times/admission costs/directions to somewhere and it absolutely can not be avoided. We snuggle more, talk more, and play more as a result; they are much happier and I am happier and feel more connected to them, as well.

  3. by Victoria

    On July 11, 2012 at 4:53 am

    This is so true, it is important to realize there is a real world out there. The internet is awesome, but it should never take over the precious time we could be spending with our children. We have 5 children. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Victoria
    http://chaosismylife.com

  4. by Mom101

    On July 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have trouble when people tend to differentiate between “the real world” and online. Online is the real world. And I think that some presume either you’re on the computer *or* you’re interracting with people face to face. “Living life,” as it’s often expressed.

    Online is how (and where) many women develop relationships that are more profound, supportive, and connective than any they began through offline meetings, because they tend to connect through shared values, not just shared zip codes. Those relationships then move in person, even if they’re not always as frequent as we’d like. Isn’t your relationship with your aunt real, even if you don’t see each other in person more than once a year at holiday time?

    I always feel fortunate to have found my tribe via the computer–and while we make time for one another as all friends should; of course I’m no stranger to my kids, the halls of their school, the playground, or uh…the Haagen Daazs shop down the street. How lucky parents are to live in an age where we have the world, quite literally, open to us.

    Great post Jill!

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  7. by chiropractors nj

    On August 10, 2012 at 6:28 am

    What a wonderful heading! Not only Mom, I think all of person who want to express myself also love blogging, just like me.