Online networking sites have changed the landscape of friendship. I belong to a tribe, no mother I have not moved to Africa and not informed you. By some stroke of luck in my first few befuddled Twitter days I was enticed onto the lovely Katie’s @Tutumummy website by one of her numerous scrumptious recipes…because I love the cake. There I saw her add for a tribal support network…I automatically thought, cool do we get spears!?
That was just over 3 weeks ago.
I have never met these women (or potentially very empathetic 40 year old men living in their mum’s basements) but regularly I share with them my innermost feelings, struggles, successes and take joy in theirs. Their compassionate responses and support are unforced, without motive and given with no promise of reward. When children are sick at 2 am and you feel like you are the only one awake in the world, suddenly, you are not. You can see your own hardships reflected in your tribesters and only want to offer comfort and words of reassurance. There is a regular abundance of witticisms about wine and cake. They are just like me; parents who are battling through the parenting jungle that are exhausted, with keen humours and are knee deep in poo and nursery rhymes.
In a conversation the other day someone asked me if I thought online friendships are real friendships? Of course they can be. I considered what does the term ‘friend’ mean to me and found the quote below impeccably defined my thoughts.
‘Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them… your smile, your hope, and your courage.’ -Doe Zantamata
The social media world can terrify you as a parent, with countless beautiful images of idyllic looking children and celebratory posts of achievement and success, all with a romanticised pink filter. They remind me parenting can be amazing, an adventure, as long as I do not start with the comparisons. Comparisons are the enemy of sanity. Do not panic, or deem yourself a ‘sodding awful mother’. There are also snaps of kids cutting up curtains, messages from mums sitting on the toilet hiding from their little ones and lots of accounts of parenting mishaps that you can nod and say yup I do that all the time. THANK GOD.
With the internet, like in the real world, you can be disappointed or misled and social media can contribute to feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. I am also not saying you should replace all human contact with WhatsApp. What I am saying is you can find community, unity, and friendship as real as any you have in the offline world.
I am so lucky to have many amazing friends to support me in the non-digital world too, that I can access without a laptop or my I phone. But for those mums who are feeling lost and isolated, who may not have people they can reach out to. Get online and find us, we all have profile pictures of small beings and have airbrushed our eye bags. A tribe of baby wearing, Lego building, parenting warriors.
Check out my lovely parenting buddies profile pages here!
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