My online tribe
Where do we look for support, advice and a feeling of belonging? To our online communities, says this mom.
Never mind complaining that kids don’t come with manuals, I think an infinitely better solution would be an error code with an exact description of what has gone wrong and what is required to fix it. I think the problem lies not so much with the child, but with us as the parents. Not that we are doing it wrong, but rather that we are so unfamiliar with what we are supposed to be doing. It feels rather overwhelming and we don’t even get the retry option!
We used to have a instruction ‘manual’, in the form of a tribe, a group of woman who supported you through pregnancy, birth and then helped you with the new baby. As a tribal girl you had witnessed birth and been around children and nursing mothers. You had probably even helped look after small children yourself. By the time it was your turn to join the ranks in motherhood, you were well-versed in what to do. The collective knowledge had been passed down to you, through the generations.
Very few of us now have this sort of experience, before we have our own children. Most of us have not seen birth before our own time to deliver. Most have not witnessed breast feeding up close, as it is usually covered up or done in private.
While I am grateful for being a modern woman and having the autonomy that goes with that, I think we have made a sacrifice and we have created a group of very lonely and often overwhelmed new mothers. They are trying to cope with the housework, the baby and uncertainty. We never had this before. We had a group of women to look after us and we each had our tasks no one had to do it all alone. We have gained autonomy but lost support.
A tribe for everyone
However, all is not lost. The tribe is not gone. It has just undergone a major face-lift and has relocated into the online world. While we might not live with a group of woman any more, we do have access to the collective group of mothers on-line that can serve as a wealth of knowledge and support. They have done this before, or are going through it themselves, and are willing to share their experiences. Just knowing that someone else is struggling, or that other moms have felt that same way, can be a huge source of support. On line is a place where almost every woman could find her tribe.
While many of you may be familiar with the assistance online, for new or expectant mothers it is not always that easy to know where to go and look.
Forums where moms chat about parenting issues as well as everyday life can be a good place to start. If you like writing, starting a blog and reading others mom’s blogs.
Social media platforms like Twitter are also very popular and many moms find friends here. Facebook can also provide a place to chat to other parents and share photos of your kids.
There are tribes out there; it may just take a bit of trial and error until you find the place that you feel comfortable.
I moved recently and was without internet for quite a while and it really impacted on my quality of life as a work-at-home mom with the kids around all day. Suddenly, I really was alone. While it might take a village to raise a child, I propose that it takes a tribe of women supporting and sharing knowledge, to make a mother.
What role does your online community play for you?