Ever since I joined the newlyweds@work group, I’ve been constantly barraged with a variety of tips and whatnots regarding pregnancy, child care for a whole range of kids, marriage, household issues and the like. I always look forward to when I get to check my emails and find all of the threads for the day. It’s very different from the weddings@work group which I previously belong to, having been a giddy bride-to-be as I geared up for my wedding.
As a new mom, I absorb the info I get from n@w like a sponge, and always want to try out the things that I stumble upon in the course of the discussions. I glory in the mommy and wifey talks as I want to hear the experiences of those going or have gone through this path but who are more or less near my age. Feeling like a mom of the century, I didn’t want to arm myself with facts and figures that were spun of old wives’ tales (read: no scientific basis and based on superstition). Not that I follow everything I read, I still sift through the information I get, and apply only those I personally believe in after careful thought and much weighing. You meet different kinds of people in this online community, and they come from all walks of life. With these, they also view the world with through different eyes. Some are very wise moms indeed, many are neophytes in the field of mommyhood and wifehood, quite a few are downright shallow, but most are just eager to lend a hand to give tips on anything and everything under the sun. they bring about the best and worst mom in me. Their views make me think (twice, thrice, etc.), crack up, want to slap my head in exasperation or frustration, smile, empathize, nod in agreement, even cry, or just plain muse about stuff. it’s up to me to sort through everything, and worry only about things that matter. If you’re the kind of anxious person who gets easily agitated or icky, then maybe this is not for you. If you’re the type who want to gag at the silliest ideas, then maybe this is not for you. I also get to read mommy blogs, and have lotsa links for other mommy sites which have really become my lifeline in the past five months.
Reading posts can make or break even your staunch beliefs, or may make you rethink about how you do things. For example, I wanted to buy a whole new line of feeding bottles and consequent accessories for Mischa ever since I found out about the effects of BPA (but have calmed down since then when I think about all the BPA that were in MY bottles yet I turned out fine), and want to go organic when it comes to diapers and infant food (really want to try earth’s best now). And really, really want to dab my hand at being a SAHM or a WAHM if only we can afford a single income household.
On the other hand, I sometimes feel really defensive when the topic of breastfeeding sometimes comes up because of the way formula-feeding mothers are quietly portrayed as “antagonists”. Yeah of course I know breastfeeding is still best for babies, but I had problems with it. I tried my damnedest after I gave birth only to have my breasts bleed after I overdid trying to pump them to no avail. At first I felt really insecure that I couldn’t do it even if I did arm myself with how to’s and bought myself an Avent manual. I managed to mix-feed for a month. I guess it’s not just for everybody, and I’ve learned soon enough that giving formula doesn’t make me a bad mother. I should get an A for effort. But I know deep in my heart that I make up for it through other things, and I thank the heavens everyday that Mischa is as healthy as can be. I even think she’s healthier than most breastfed babies who have experienced jaundice, low weight, sepsis, etc.
On the whole, I really appreciate having this kind of network for when in the world would you find a hundred or thousand virtual friends who actually think what you’re thinking, and understand your weird or valid quirks? It’s very rare that you can share even your littlest problems, such as household helps (this seem to be quite a regular topic), kids’ illnesses, achievements and even peculiar in-law behaviors. I like my virtual friends because they are there and are often non-committal or non-judgmental (or so I think, or at least online). side comments are very rare.