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Several weeks ago, while standing in the kitchen with my smartphone in hand, I searched for solutions to my younger daughter's stomach issues. My mom sat at the dining room table and watched while I verbally processed what I was reading. I explained to her how one site linked dairy to her symptoms, while a mom in a Facebook group had something to say about nightshades and another suggested $30 probiotics.
"I am so glad the Internet wasn't a part of most households when I was a young mom," my mom said, "Don't you get overwhelmed with the amount of information available?"
I was struck by what she said. Motherhood is so vastly different for us than it was for our mothers. My mom simply did what felt right. When it came time to make a decision, maybe she asked a pediatrician, girlfriend or even her pastor for advice, but by and large she went with her gut.
I can point out a huge list of differences between the way I parent and the way she raised me, but the common thread I see in these differences is how heavily influenced I am by the information available to me online. Simply the fact that I am a millennial mom makes me different from her. Watching myself and my friends become mothers, there seem to be a few undeniable truths about becoming a mom in a modern world. If you have experienced these eight modern mommy rites of passage, you are a card-carrying member of the modern moms club.
1. Live-Tweeting Childbirth
Now, I didn't create a hashtag, give a play-by-play or accept a Dreft sponsorship of my delivery like a certain Jonas Brother did, but I did use my social media accounts to update close friends and family on the status of my labor and delivery.
2. Posting Baby's First Picture
Sharing the very first smartphone picture of a new baby has become almost ceremonial. And when aunt or grandma commit the faux pas of sharing birth details on Facebook before the parents? You better believe they're going to hear about it.
3. There's an App for That
Pre-kids, you couldn't catch me talking poop or breastfeeding. Now? Not only do I talk about them regularly, but also during the newborn months I track them in extreme detail using an app I downloaded on my smartphone. Digital records of shape, color and consistency? You betcha.
4. Mommy and Me Yoga
No time for your practice since becoming a mom? No worries, modern moms are bringing Baby along. Mommy and Me Yoga is a newer fitness trend allowing moms to raise little yogis of their own.
5. Doctor Mom
Thanks to WebMD, Mayo Clinic and BabycareAdvice.com, "expert" opinions on snot colors, fevers and sleeping habits are a quick Google search away. Of course, level-headed moms know when the time comes to call the doctor—but maybe a quick visit with Dr. WebMD first won't hurt.
6. Getting a Second Opinion ... Digitally
When a thorough Google search isn't enough to diagnose your baby's mysterious rash, a second opinion is only a click away. Moms are turning to their online communities and Facebook groups for a second opinion.
7. Being Publicly Shamed
OK, no one ever thinks it will happen to them, but with the amount of time we spend sharing our lives online, it seems unavoidable. One day, you post a picture and you've accidentally buckled a car seat wrong or your child is chowing down on a little Red #40 and sanctimommy is armed and ready to give you what for.
Moms are seeking out like-minded people who will affirm and guide their parenting decisions and they are using the Internet to find them. Don't get me wrong, I totally trust my gu. I just want to check with my local attachment parenting/breastfeeding/babywearing/cloth-diapering private Facebook group first.