The Happy New Mom's Dirty Little Secret

mother onlineIt's hard out there for a new mom. You're bored. You're overwhelmed. You're exhausted. And now for the good news. The research gods have given us a safe and easy fix for the new mom blues!

The thing you're doing right now, sitting in front of a computer screen, reading something on the Internet? Pat yourself on the back, Mom, this is exactly what you should be doing now. Then schedule yourself some Facebook time. You deserve it. And don't let anyone tell you different m'kay?!

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The over-sharing loons you read about over at STFU Parents and mean mommies online give "mom on the Internet" a bad name. And the horror stories of parents who were too busy playing a game or gambling online to take care of their own kids don't help.

But for all of those jerks, there are hundreds, no, thousands more normal folks willing to throw you a lifeline.

The new research out of Penn State and Brigham Young universities points to a feeling of being "less alone" among moms who are part of online communities (like CafeMom!). At least 76 percent of the moms said they read blogs, and more than half maintain one of their own. About 44 percent of them reported a spike in their use of Facebook since they gave birth too, as they posted photos of their new babies and reached out to other moms for support.

Now this was a teeny tiny study -- just 157 participants -- and it doesn't account for the darker sides of the Internet (you know, like fretting over all the embarrassing things your kids will one day do online!). I'm sure people are going to run all over it with their reasons why this doesn't work.

Allow me to tell them where to stuff it. In the past week alone, I've seen two moms I know write desperate "HELP ME" statuses on Facebook asking for help with their new babies' problems. One breastfeeding mom couldn't seem to get her son to accept breast milk in a bottle from her husband so she could take a few minutes to shower or make dinner. Another breastfeeding mom was struggling with her son's reflux.

And little by little, the responses came in. There were ideas to try. There were remembrances of personal struggles to let these moms know they weren't alone. There was a stream of support for women who didn't have to leave their houses to get it. Heck, they didn't even have to change out of their PJs, and they were given a leg up.

How has the Internet changed your parenting? Has it made you a better mom?

 

Image via Anastassia/Flickr

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