Flickr photo by GraceFamilyEarlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that “according to comScore, 35.65 million females with children were unique visitors to Facebook in the US in February -- about 32 percent of the site’s US total.” That's a lot of moms on Facebook.
Some will have you believe moms on Facebook are just wasting time and searching for restaurant coupons, spying on their kids, or talking about the color of their kids' poo. Well, I'm here to set the record straight.
Facebook makes this busy mom's life better, smarter, and happier ... every day. Here's how Facebook can work wonders in your life too.
Once you get the Privacy and photo settings correct (it's not as hard as the media portrays it), then you're set to have some good, smart, life-altering fun on Facebook.
- Keep up with news and politics: Everyone has a Facebook page these days from the President to every news and political entity on the planet. Choose to "Like" any of these pages and you'll get regular updates in your News Feed. You'll stay up to date on your time. Some of my favorites include: President Barack Obama and Moms Rising.
- Keep up with good reading: On Facebook, I can get updates in my News Feed from some of my favorite publications in real time -- again, easily perused on my time. Some of my favorite online reads include: Slate, Salon.com, Brain, Child, BlogHer, and, of course, The Stir.
- Get trusted information: Facebook has become my go-to source when I need good information fast. Why? Because my Facebook is full of people I love and trust. When my dryer broke, I put a request for a repairman recommendation on Facebook and got a phone number immediately. Dryer fixed in 24 hours. I can also also count on my friends for fast information on restaurants, local events, TV shows and movies (and find out if it's too scary for kids), what to do with a turnip, you name it ...
- Stay connected and share photos with people you adore: Remember, you choose your friends on Facebook (you really don't have to friend your ex ... really ... you don't), and I've chosen to friend people with whom I want to stay connected and from whom I want to hear the intimate and wonderful details of their lovely lives. When you and many of your friends hit the motherhood years, it can get a little busy and sometimes lonely, but that doesn't mean you don't still want to connect and stay up to date with all your beloved friends and family out there. Facebook helps close the gap caused by distance or even a busy T-ball season.
- Nurture a support system: Motherhood is sometimes about poop, sure, but mostly it's about so many bigger and more amazing things from survival and intense love to defining your new ever-changing role as a mom and holding on to the cherished aspects of your old self. Facebook has been a great reminder of this for me and for many of the moms in my friend group. They are a constant support system in parenting. In fact, one of my Facebook mom friends, Phoebe, said it best, "Reading other people's posts about the delights and challenges in raising their kids is a reassuring reminder that the reason I'm having a hard time is that child-rearing is challenging -- as well as delightful."
- Play games: Last but not least, there are loads of popular games like Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook, and moms, believe it or not, are big gamers. Because moms like to waste time? No, because moms need a break sometimes and this is a fun way to use your brain and challenge yourself -- sans children. I stick to the basics and regularly challenge my Facebook friends to games of Scrabble. I take my turn when time allows and vice versa. "Mommy brain" is a real condition, folks, and sometimes it feels good to just bend the mind over a little vocabulary again.
Facebook can be a very positive place for a busy mom if that's what you make of it. My experience on Facebook has been a positive one. I can get the information and reads I want, when I want them. I can stay in better touch with friends and see photos of family far away. Plus, I get at least one or two really good belly laughs a day -- because my Facebook friends are dang witty! I love them.
But most important to me, I can share about all aspects of parenting -- the struggles and the joys -- and often get an immediate response of support, encouragement, or "been there." For me, this makes the daily grind of homework and potty training and tearful family dinners easier. And sometimes I can even laugh at it. And hey, if that's not smart, I don't know what is!
What are some smart ways you use Facebook? Not a Facebook user yet? Why not?