Many moons ago, I guest posted at The Mother Media. I love this post- loved it then, loved it now. It goes a long way toward explaining this social media addiction of mine. I believe my shrink would call that ‘self serving justification’. Undeniably true… but this post holds a lot of truth in it, too.
When I reveal to people in my Real Life that I write a blog, there are two very common questions I’m asked. The first is “What’s a blog?”. After I finish explaining that and assure them that I am not, in fact, a geek, I usually get asked,
“Who reads this stuff, anyway?”
And the answer to that question is slightly more complex.
In short, the demographic of readers for most ‘mummy blogs’ is other mums, other dads, other women and men; at home or at work; with kids or without. The demographic for my blog is, specifically, other women, other mums, at home, with kids.
Most ‘mummy bloggers’ will confess that, at one point or another, their husband has told them to “Get off that damn computer!”. Things have changed. Where my mum, at home, 20 years ago, would have watched a midday movie and chatted on the phone to a friend, trailing 20 feet of phone cable behind her so she could house-work while she chatted; in the year 2010 mums log onto FaceBook, Twitter, forums and blogs while our children are sleeping or playing outside. Loneliness is less of a problem for stay at homes mums in this technological age. We have the blessed advantage of being able to go online and log on to a social life when we can’t leave the house.
It’s an accepted sociological fact that women are communal creatures. Surely, you’ve wondered why women go to the bathroom in pairs…? That’s just how our brains are wired. We like to chat, to gossip, to form friendships, networks and social circles. While we all know this can lead to catty in-fighting by immature people, for the most part, the communal, sharing women of nature brings us strength and solidarity. It’s in the nature of women to share and swap stories, ideas and experiences.
And all of this becomes even more important once we have kids.
A hundred years ago, human beings in the western world were intensely tribal creatures, much more than what we are now. The 21st century has seen most women go back to work, and families move vast distances from one another. While again, this has it advantages (especially the families-at-vast-distances bit), it also means that women are often lacking the family network that once existed. There are no grandmothers at home to help pick up the slack of a mum with a newborn. There isn’t a neighbor next door with small children, who you can laugh with, who’ll reassure you the worst will soon pass.
In this day and age, mums get all that online.
We turn to FaceBook and Twitter to share casual conversations and day to day events with those in the same situation as us. We log on to parenting forums for advice on breastfeeding, discipline and sleeping problems.
We use our blogs to vent our frustrations, to celebrate our triumphs, to engage our adult selves in a place more creative than our lounge rooms. We read the blogs of others to feel enlightened, to gain perspective, to learn, to share and to grow.
These blogs, these online social networks that we form, they serve as our community of like-minded women, as our social circle of writers, mentors and other mothers. The traditional model of women in society has changed, and we are grasping for something to steady ourselves.
The Internet becomes our community. It’s real, it’s powerful. And the bonds we form here can be as strong as those formed In Real Life.
Who reads this stuff, anyway? Other women, other men, other mother, other dads. Other bored, frazzled parents, who are reaching out for something more.