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Why Facebook is Good For Moms

It’s no secret that we have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Many of my friends end up swearing off Facebook for a certain amount of time every year, and I think it’s a good idea. I mean, all of the subtle bragging, the temptation to compare, the political debates, the endless pictures of kids with little “6 months” stickers on their shirts, the BLASTED FARMVILLE INVITATIONS. It’s good to have a little Facebook detox every once in a while. I took a two-year break from Facebook after my miscarriage, and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done in regards to self-care.

And since returning to Facebook, I’ve found some ways to make Facebook work for me so that it’s a tool rather than a temptation. Here are some of the virtues of Facebook, specifically regarding motherhood.

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1. Facebook helps me learn to set boundaries. I don’t hesitate to block someone from my newsfeed if everything they post brings me down. Also, I’ve learned to set boundaries with myself in regards to how much time I spend on it and how much I let it infiltrate my life. For example, I look at Facebook on the computer, but I don’t have the app.

2. The right group can be invaluable. I’ve joined several Facebook groups that are excellent resources. Do I want to know what stroller is best for twins? Do I need to find a good pediatrician in my area? Am I desperate for a natural remedy for clogged milk ducts? Posing those questions to my most trusted Facebook groups is like having a couple thousand moms on speed dial.

People who wouldn’t think to share their struggles with their “real life” support system and reach out for help face-to-face might be much more likely to do so via Facebook.

3. It’s a real way to connect when you don’t have other options. I live in a place that’s brutally cold. And my three kids have been sick pretty much since Christmas. You cannot imagine how many playdates we’ve canceled. But Facebook gives us an opportunity to feel less alone and crazy in the midst of those stuck-in-the-house-with-six ear infections days.

4. It gives me an opportunity to share kindness with others without having to drag my kids along. My husband and I volunteer a bit now, and as much as we’d love to increase those hours, it just doesn’t feel especially realistic in my current stage of life. But I know that I need to do something to support and encourage others. I love sending handwritten notes, but I don’t always have people’s addresses. Facebook gives me a simple way to reach out to others who might be having a hard time.

5. It’s priceless when your child is struggling. I know several moms whose kids are struggling with acute health problems and rare diagnoses. I cannot imagine the loneliness they must experience when no one within a few hundred miles of them knows what it’s like to be on that journey. Facebook, gives parents the opportunity to connect with other parents who have walked difficult roads that the rest of us will never understand. And suddenly, they feel less alone. They have more information. And they can even feel a sense of community around their struggle.

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6. It helps us be brave. The anonymity of the internet can be a very, very dangerous thing. But it can also be kind of cool. People who wouldn’t think to share their struggles with their “real life” support system and reach out for help face-to-face might be much more likely to do so via Facebook. I have received so many Facebook messages from other women struggling with infertility who tell me that they need to reach out and find support but they’re uncomfortable telling their friends and family. They choose me because I am really open about my infertility on the internet, and I feel so honored that I get to be a resource for them, especially when they aren’t feeling that support from anywhere else.

I promise that Facebook isn’t giving me anything for writing this post. Believe me, they’re not exactly desperate for promotion. I just wanted to share how I’ve found the positive in something that so many people see as just a guilty pleasure.

Image via Twenty20/akuyan

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