Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
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:
- It gives moms a way to connect with family and friends who live far away.
- 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
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read | Tags: addiction, blackberry, blog, blogging, blogs, emailing, facebook, ipad, iphone, myspace, oversharent, oversharenting, social media, technology, texting, twitter, unplug, unplugged
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Mama and Baby on Beach
I was so adamant about not having children, I debated getting my tubes tied at 30. My mother begged me not to. (Obviously I listened.) Still, it is with great irony that I find myself an “official” mommy blogger.
Pre-Fia, I’d cross the street to avoid the little Petri dishes. Diapers? Disgusting. Playgrounds? I’d rather have the plague.
My neighborhood didn’t help matters. I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn–perhaps the biggest breeder neighborhood in New York City. A place where wee little inmates run the asylum. We’re featured in articles and blogs—one equates Park Slope to a battle zone between “the ballers” and “the breeders”. For those without children, you can’t overstate the annoyances: strollers on every inch of the sidewalk, oblivious parents who bombard quiet coffee shops with their babies, intimate restaurants that quickly become cacophonies of chaos when toddlers are unleashed.
No, my husband and I certainly didn’t move here six years ago to procreate. The reason we moved here is it sits right on beautiful Prospect Park and we’re runners (or were before we had Fi and P90X).
But then, through various events, we changed our minds. We decided to give up birth control and “see” what happened. At 39, I figured my ovaries were toast anyway. Off to Mexico we went where tequila poured free, and boom, Ms Fi was on her way.
Throughout my pregnancy I spent many a therapy session worrying that I’d love my cat Wayne Sanchez more than my daughter. Thank god nature does its job well. Wayne still gets spooned every night, but it’s Fia who rocks my world. And the fact that I love—not loathe—babies is nothing short of a miracle.
So now I’ve been given this platform on Parents to basically write whatever I want about my life with Fi. A golden ticket covered with baby barf.
I hope to bring an honest perspective to my blog that’s not indulgent, irritating or precious. I hope I don’t bore you. And that you’ll come back and visit. Lots.
I find it a privilege to be a parent and an honor to write about it. And thank god. Because if I hated it, or loved my cat more than my daughter, then I’d probably be in the loony bin. And who wants to write from there?
FOR A YEAR, I BLOGGED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SHOW I WAS HOSTING, CALLED MY FIRST BABY. HERE ARE MY PAST BLOGS THAT SPAN MY FIRST YEAR WITH FI.
What it Means to be a MOM–the feelings of early motherhood
The Fog Will Clear–How early motherhood does get easier
Baby’s Not-So-Cute-Milestone: Diaper Rash–a traumatic event, followed by another involving a red bum and a lot of cornstarch
Living in the Moment--how having a baby gives you a chance to indulge. And play. Especially if you’re a Type-A person.
Not A Vacation--did I really say in the previous post that having a baby allows you to indulge? Play? Feel like you’re on vacation? Was I on drugs?
Have Baby, Will Travel--tricks for traveling with baby/helpful advice and tips
Navigating the Minefield of Milestones–the good and bad of baby milestones
Travel Fiasco–My Scattered Self–a shit show, for lack of a better word, at LaGuardia. I must be losing it.
Picky Eaters–great advice from my pediatrician for picky eaters and avoiding the terrible two’s
Fia Turns One--the emotional journey leading up to your baby’s first birthday
What Travel Does For Me…and Fi–my first babyless vacation. And why I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Return From My Baby-less Vacation–I find out things weren’t so smooth while I was away. But I don’t feel guilty.
Categories: A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read | Tags: babies, baby barf, being a mom, blogging, Brooklyn, mom, motherhood, new mom, parenthood, parenting, park slope, pregnancy