Friday, May 4, 2012

My Best and Worst Mothering Moments: brought to you by Facebook

The Year: 2008

I walked into the room and saw my little sister tapping away at her laptop.
"What are you doing? We're going to be late!" I screeched. We were heading out for a shopping day. Hubby was going to look after the babies. I was desperate for a latte and I had the Urge to Splurge.
"Just a minute. I'm writing on Nat's wall and we'll go."
"Her 'wall'? What? Are you demented? What is that?"
"It's called Facebook. We write each other messages".
"What messages? Didn't you just get off the phone with her? Why don't you just speak like normal people? What a load of sh........."

Fastward 1 year later.

The Year: 2009

Mamma with a new laptop.
Apple MacBook. Swoon.
Little sister in Barcelona. Husband's family all in Greece.
Husband at work all day. Mamma home alone with three energetic toddlers.
Cut off from civilization.
Need an escape.
Open Facebook account.
My justification is it's a means to communicate with my sister and I could upload and share lots photos of the kidlets for all relatives overseas to delight in.

And so, it begins...

Farmville, Vampire Wars, cyber cocktails, waking up at 6am to harvest cyber cornfields, slaying virtual vampires, winning tokens, reconnecting with primary school/high school/university/work friends (and strangers).

You had me at 'Log In'.

I was hooked. The babies would crawl about my feet, sucking on toys, shoes, remote controls and I'd be tap, tap, tapping. Click, click, clicking. Scroll, scroll, scrolling. Hours of 'refresh feed'. The Wiggles dvd's would be on repeat to entertain my babies. 'Hot Potato' and 'Toot-Toot-Chugga-Chugga Big Red Car' were the soundtrack to my cyber-addiction.

Before my husband would return home late at night, I'd delete the history on my laptop. I didn't want him to see just how much time I was spending on the computer. The fact that the house was always in disarray wasn't a giveaway?

My Worst Mothering Moment.

I was toilet training the twins. They were watching The Wiggles (again) and I was having a 'Gwyneth-Paltrow-in-Sliding-Doors' moment, stalking looking at Facebook photos of an ex-paramour and his new family,and pondering what life may have been like if Fate had taken me in a different direction. (By the way, Fate & Instinct could not have been kinder to me, so grateful for the life and precious family that I have).
"Mummy", called out Twin A, "mummy, wee-wee coming".
"Ok, sweetie. Mummy's coming". Tap, tap. Click, click.
"Mummy. Toilet mummy. Wee-wee".
"Yes, darling. Just a minute. Mummy's coming". Click, scroll, refresh.
"YES!!!! I'M COOOOOOOOMINGGGGG!!!" Click. Click.
I enter the lounge room and find little Twin A watching The Wiggles and standing in a giant puddle of wee.
"Sorry, Mummy. Wee-wee came".
I had never felt so sick or repulsed in all my life. Bad Mother. Worst Mother in the World. Selfish, deluded Mother.
I picked her up and squeezed her.
"Mummy's sorry. Mummy's so very sorry, for everything."
I cleaned her up and scooped up the rest of the girls. I spent the rest of the day hugging and kissing them, reading to them, playing with them, singing to them, inhaling their scent, tickling them just so that I could hear their joyous laugh.

I had hit rock bottom as a mamma but it was the wake up call I needed.

What was the allure of Facebook?

A sense of connection? A sense of friendship and camaraderie? A sense of belonging? Feeling that I hadn't been forgotten? I was so caught up in sharing moments in other people's lives, I was forgetting to create my own.

Best Mothering Moments

Believe it or not, Facebook has helped me become a better mother.
Through blogging and Facebook I have discovered so many wonderful, supportive groups and communities  that have connected me with other fabulous mothers who tread the tricky, yet terrific, yellowbrick road of Motherhood. These life-enhancing sites include Kidspot, Mums Lounge, JustB, Circle of Moms, MamaBake, Mums Helping Mums Network, Lovely Living, The Imperfect Mum, The Organised HousewifeStay At Home Mum and Planning With Kids, just to name a fabulous few.

And don't get me started on all the fabulous Mamma's who blog.
Saved. My. Sanity.

Motherhood can be hard. It can be lonely. Many of us constantly question if we are doing the right things by our kids. Many of us feel isolated. Many of us need help but don't feel comfortable asking for it. These pages and forums are a great way to connect, share, find information and ask questions.

Two ladies that have phenomenally impacted my life as a woman and mother (more than they'll ever know) are Kirri White from Happy Mums at Home and Nathalie Brown from Easy Peasy Kids. Their consistently positive messages have made me a happier woman and a more vibrant, engaging, joyous mother to my kids. I guarantee they have the means of turning your darkest day into sparkling, shimmering brightness.

Although I'm still engaging with social media (blogging/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram anyone?), I look for experiences that enhance my life in a positive way through inspiration, motivation (and a little humour!) ;)

And when my kids call out to me and say "Mummy, you know, we're more important than the computer", they're absolutely right. Time to switch off and turn the Mamma Lovin' up high.

Are you a social media addict? Has the internet impacted your role as a Mother?


Ms Midge said...

I am definately a social media junkie (typed whilst at work whoops). Having children at my feet for the past 13.5 years, and another 18 months to go before the 4th and final one heads to school, fb has given me somewhere I can check in daily with family and friends, and I don't have to find the time to leave the actual house!! My blog has been amazing for me, a couple of weeks ago i posted about "struggling" with everything. The response blew me away. I was on the verge of seeing my gp to get some medication.....turns out since putting my struggles down on paper (keyboard), things have turned around dramatically. Love it xx

Jess WhoaMamma said...

I think blogging is my therapy too, Melissa! Sometimes just typing and releasing it into cyberspace lifts the burden you were carrying. It's also wonderful to get feedback that many people feel the same way you do. It's amazing how much support and understanding there is out there in the interwebs. x

Lifeasmummymax said...

Love this post. If the kids are happily playing ill come on the mac in the time h is having his nap but if the kids come out for my attention and are sick of playing i give them the attention they need. I love social media it has made me feel like im not alone and connects me to adults and adult conversation even if it is just about kids not going to the potty and cleaning up wee for the 4th time of the day. Definitely have to remember there is a life off the computer and my little people need me more though.

Deb @ Bright and Precious said...

Jess, your worst mamma moment puts my moments (lots of them!) to shame. ;) Social media is so important for modern mothering - because we are so socially isolated. Without a 'clan' around me, the sense of connectedness I have via social media keeps me sane. I totally relate. Yes, there have been many times when I have to consciously switch it off so I can engage with my kids too. It's a hard balance.

Emma said...

I think I agree with the other comments!

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky said...

My social media addiction is at an all time high right now. I've really had to make myself turn off the screen and tune into life again. I'm so sick of hearing this word, but it is all about 'balance'. I try my best to balance a bit of this and a bit of that, with a lot of love and reality.

Grace said...

Oh, Jess ! I love this post !!! I'm such a social media addict. Alongside the FB, tweeting, blogging..there's now the Instagram. HUGE addiction going on there.
And it all took a turn for the worse when I got my new iPhone 4GS. Obsessed with taking photos.
Then, one Sunday, out with the family, Mr Surfer took a photo of the boys, with me in the background - my head down, deeply engrossed in my phone. My stomach churned a little when I saw the photo. So now I'm trying to cut down my time. Sometimes I'm successful. Other times, not so much. But I'm trying...

Veronica @ Two Plus Seven said...

It can get so addictive and I was so where you were talking about. I'm not that bad anymore because I hit my rock bottom as well. I re-evaluated where my priorities lie. Thanks for sharing.

Alex aka WHOA MUMMA! said...

For me, it's been a bit all over the place. I love the accessibility of it, with a few clicks you can 'hang out' with a lot of like minded mums, without interrupting nap times and routines.
So easy especially now I have 5!
I have fun on my fb page and blog but this year have decided to make more of an effort in real life to catch up with friends and blog friends too!

Jen said...

Ahh I think we have all been there! Don't worry, a wee on the floor is not bad at all. We are all guilty of being distracted. But even when I was a kid when there was no such thing as the internet my Mum was guilty of being distracted when she was on the phone all the time.

I think it's human nature to want contact with people. To feel loved, valued and connected. With so many people living away from their family the internet provides an easy and cheap way to stay connected.

I also think the internet is a blessing and a curse. We all have more access to support and information. We are a much more aware society I think but at the same time we have never been more exposed and vulnerable. Instead of being a community that supports and empowers the internet is a place where people feel it is ok to say anything no matter to consequences. So with the support it also goes hand in hand with judgement.

Thanks for the love too :)

kirri @ Happy Mums At Home said...

Darling Jess...Thank you for your sweet words! I had to laugh at your early FB days....Mafia Wars anyone?
Most def I used to be a bit of a social media addict - in Canada with three under three and like you it proved to be both a life saver and a curse!

These days...I actually 'socialize' in time slots - yes, I actually set a timer on my phone and have specified times because I am like a child who needs boundaries! Otherwise I may not get any work done. Is that a shameless confession?!

Nicolasa @ {My}Perspective said...

This post makes me chuckle. I don't have kids (yet) but knowing how much time I spend on Facebook when I should be doing other things... I can relate.

Stopping by from SITS

Laura said...

Fun post. I struggle with issue too. Blogging has encouraged me, challenged me, and sustained me as a mom, but it also sucks my time. Finding the balance is tough.

Kathy V. said...

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I'm trying to make a real effort to blog only during naptimes and after bedtime, but it's really hard to keep from constantly checking FB and blog stats even while the sprog is awake. Things to work on. Stopping by from SITS!

doseofreality said...

Oh my Lord, I love this post! LOVE. Came over from SITS the moment I saw the title! :)
I can so relate!
Great job!

Neenish Arts said...

I guess you could say I am, I do like to check it daily and many times a day when I am at home however it is a good thing that the computer is in my study where my daughter can't really come in so when she is awake I am out there with her and generally doing housework. My worst habit is turning the computer on in the morning to check it when I should be getting ready for work. Surely some time every night should be enough lol. However, when we are away on holiday eg camping or something it doesn't even enter my mind!
Love how you describe your worst moment, I haven't had anything like that happen but have been 'in a minute, coming, yes hang on' when really its still going to be on the screen when you get back!

Kim-Marie said...

I don't think I have a social ,edia addiction - but my husband think I do! ;)

Kim-Marie said...

I don't think I have a social ,edia addiction - but my husband think I do! ;)

Kaz said...

Thank you for sharing this. I think my online time grew when I started Maternity Leave when I was pregnant. I am grateful that my mother's group is on FB. It has definitely been a good thing to have them there when I'm worried about something. I have had to assess the balance at times too. Loved your post.

Learning to play and playing to learn said...

I loved how honest and to the point this blog is. I think this would be a wake up call with out the guilt you have in such detail talked about. Thank you for linking us up with more blog inspiration!

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