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.
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.
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
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
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.