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Rhymes With Frogger

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It seems that there’s been a lot of controversy lately about moms and their internet usage; moms being criticized for violating their children’s privacy, mom’s being warned against ignoring their children in favor of their iPhone; ‘mommy bloggers’ inadvertently setting their kids up to be the targets of bullies.

My response to those claims is twofold:

  1. Everything in moderation, and
  2. Maybe there’s a reason for some of the things they do, one that we don’t truly understand.

Could I cut back my iPhone use? Sure, but I don’t need to cut it out entirely. My kids won’t question my love for them because I take my eyes off of them for a few seconds. I show them in a million different ways every day. The hours are spent caring for my kids; the moments I take for myself will not traumatize them.

So, what am I doing when you see me on my iPhone? Probably reading someone’s blog, or writing a post of my own. But even with all of the criticism and furor, I won’t feel guilty about it. Here’s why: I’ve taken a long, hard look at my motives; trying to understand, from a larger perspective, what need in my life am I trying to satisfy? And I’ve come to the following conclusions…

First things first. I started blogging not too long ago because, let’s face it, kids do funny stuff. Not just my kids, they just happen to be the ones I have access to in terms of blog-fodder. How can I not share this stuff? Who wouldn’t want to know that when AJ discovered bellybuttons at the age of one and a half, he loved nothing more than to locate one and give it a good poke? And he didn’t discriminate. Any available bellybutton was fair game. Then he discovered the dog’s bellybutton. You know, the one hidden under his tail. (The dog’s gotten a lot quicker since then…)

Second, I am trying to prevent my brain from melting. Not the overheated, full capacity, “She can’t take much more of this, Captain” kind of melting. More like the flaccid from disuse, left out of the freezer, sitting out in the sun too long kind of melting.

Would you believe I used to be a techie for a living? I used to get paid for it. Hardware and software troubleshooting; problem-solving, solution-finding, network-organizing kind of stuff – that was my forte. So, the transition from ‘multitasking, computer problem-solver’ to ‘breast-feeding, diaper-changer’ was a bit of a culture shock. And I’m not complaining; I’m happy with my decision to be a stay at home mom, and lucky that I even have the option to be with my kids full time. I love them more than insert clichéd comparison here, but I won’t pretend it wasn’t a major adjustment. Writing gives me an intellectual outlet to help with that adjustment.

Third, and I think this one is most important, is that it fulfills a sociological function. You know that expression, “It takes a village to raise a child?” I believe the reason there are so many “mommy bloggers” is because the ‘villages’ are gone. There aren’t any. At least not where I live in Suburbia, USA. Our society has become decentralized.

Unless you live on a Kibbutz or in a commune, chances are your young children are either in daycare or at home with a single adult – a parent, grandparent, or nanny. In days past, mothers would gather every day to care for children, wash the laundry, trade recipes, craft goods and mend garments. But it’s no longer a shared task to watch the children and attend to the chores. The forum where mothers once passed child-rearing advice to daughters, where pointers were exchanged ‘sister to sister’ or ‘neighbor to neighbor,’ hardly exists in that form anymore. Not where I live. Proximity – or lack of it – has changed our relationships and interactions.

And that’s fine. Things change, they evolve. So, we find new ways to connect with people. We form our own communities; we make our own ‘villages.’ I joined a Moms’ club. It gives me access to playgroups; lists weekly activities to keep the kids socialized and educated; and provides a Facebook page to ask parenting questions. I’ve also joined town email groups to hear about local events, stay up to date on local issues, or just ask if anyone knows a good plumber. The Moms’ club, the online forums – they are part of my ‘village’ now.

And so I blog because it keeps me connected to my village. It allows me to be part of a community, both virtual and real. I am one of many spread across the planet, and all with at least one thing in common: we have something we want to share. Blogging allows us to talk to people; to share our thoughts; to ask questions and (hopefully) get responses.

Bloggers are residents of my village. Blog readers are residents of my village. See that mom on her iPhone? She may be a resident of my village, too.

What are your reasons for reading and/or writing a blog?

Arielle is a stay-at-home-mom maintaining her identity (and her sanity) by sharing her take on the humorous, the ridiculous and the absurd she encounters in the course of raising a family. She lives in Suburbia, USA, with her husband, two boys, and Max the black lab. Please visit her blog, Their World We Live In.

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