When I left work for my first maternity leave it was hard being alone every day. All of my friends were at work while I was at home. Sure, snuggling a cute baby all day is fun, and a stirring conversation with your baby about his feet is all well and good, but I craved adult conversation.
That’s where the Internet came in. I found the #ZombieMoms hashtag on Twitter, and the women who tweeted using it were my saving grace. I think we all found that sharing our daily (and nightly) ups and downs with our new little bundles of non-sleeping joy was the only way we were able to keep sane and feeling as though we were still part of the outside world.
Maternity leave and stress relief
It’s a new reality: Many of us moms are turning to online groups and social media for friendship. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram help women who would otherwise feel lonely and isolated make friends and stay connected to the world outside of midnight feedings, dirty diapers and missed naptimes.
“My online friends helped me through the baby blues, the 3 a.m. feedings, the isolation of my ‘real’ friends being at work while I stayed home and more,” says Caroline Fernandez, a mom of three, the owner of parentclub.ca and one of the #ZombieMoms cofounders.
I may not have very many friends IRL (in real life), but I have hundreds of friends from all over the world who keep me company every day. We tweet each other in the morning to complain about the six feedings we did the previous night, and we Instagram a photo of our finally sleeping baby later in the day.
Moms community on Twitter
“The whole reason I got hooked on Twitter was because of the mom community – because of the immediate connection I could have with other moms in similar situations,” says Patty Sullivan, a mom of two, the host of Kids’ CBC and a #ZombieMoms cofounder. “No matter what time of day or night, if I had a concern or question about my little one there was a mom online who could reply with advice or just support. It’s been a true sanity saver.”
Sample greetings among the mom community include tweets like: “Ugh! Baby decided that 5 a.m. was a good time to start the day. I disagree!” Or: “I’m up, it’s 8 a.m. and the kids are still sleeping! Woohoo!” We tweet stories about how our kids did in the night, we complain about our crazy days and we generally just hang out online.
Online friendships are a lifeline for moms like me who would otherwise feel lonely and isolated as they care for their families all day. Parents of young children might not have time to go out for coffee, dinner or a movie with friends, but thanks to social media we can socialize from home.