How Social Media Has Made Me A Better Mother

"She is always blogging and twittering and doing social media stuff - I wonder what her kids are doing when she's doing all of that."

Have you ever thought that about a mom who blogs? You might get this picture in your head of a mom who is typing away at her computer all day, while she shoos and shushes away her kids to the television.

But that is a far cry from my life...and from the life of many bloggers.

How Social Media Has Made Me A Better Mother 1The truth is that...

MOST of my day is spent playing in the sandbox, making crafts, baking cookies, pretending to sing into a spoon microphone, dancing in the kitchen, and reading illustrated books with character voices.

MOST of the time, I am holding a baby, playing hide-and-seek, and having picnics.

MOST days, we don't watch any television at all.

The truth is that I blog in the in-between moments. I stay up really, really, REALLY late (too late probably...er...early). I sometimes check my my e-mail and tweet in quiet moments when both girls are playing happily together or when my baby is napping. I write when Tim is here...or when my mother-in-law comes over to spend time with the girls.

I'm not saying I have it all figured out (I don't). It's hard to balance everything. I am constantly torn.

How Social Media Has Made Me A Better Mother 2I want to be active, present, and engaged with my girls - listening to their beautiful hearts, being taught by their infinite wisdom. I want to be silly and selfless.

But...I also want to be engaged in the local and global community. I want to write, wielding my words for good. I want to contribute to our family financially. I want my girls to see my ambition, my business savvy, my intellect - because I want them to be strong and skilled too.

I often tell my 3-year-old that I stay up extra late after she goes to bed because I want to change the world.

Are there some blogging moms out there who are on their computers all day long...so distracted by social media that they fail to meet their children's deepest needs? Yes. But there are also moms who watch mindless television or scrub their houses obsessively or whittle their time away at the mall...that miss the hearts of the children. Technology is certainly not the culprit.

How Social Media Has Made Me A Better Mother 3In our case, blogging has been a wonderful thing for my family, for my kids:

  • I take more pictures.
  • I prioritize my time more wisely.
  • I've learned to say no to a lot of things that don't matter and to say yes to my family.
  • I feel more accountable because of my large audience so I spend more time working on my character and my heart.

Now that I think about it, the title of this post isn't quite right. Social media hasn't made me a better mother. That's too passive. What I really mean is that I have intentionally used social media as a tool to improve my life, my family, and my community. There. That's better.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How has blogging, reading blogs, and/or using twitter/facebook improved your life?

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30 comments on “How Social Media Has Made Me A Better Mother”

  1. I don't think I've seen this post before but I love it. Blogging at first started making me a "bad mom" b/c like you mentioned how some moms spend too much time with it... and then I started thinking about what I was doing - how even though I was trying to do something good for my family, I was just using my time poorly in the long run AND short run. So I agree that blogging also helps me sharpen myself. I try to schedule my life better, and DEFINITELY blogging makes me take more photos than I ever would have. I am a very passive photo taker. I need the motivation of a blog post to keep me snapping the shots. And sometimes, snapping the shots, leads me to do a blog post! :)
    I think social media can cut both ways - it's all in how you handle it! :)

  2. I LOVE this post! I take full advantage of nap time and after bed time! I have learned so much about being a better mother, wife, and homemaker from my online interactions. I read informative blogs and bounce ideas back and forth with girlfriends. This is all through email or facebook, and at my own speed. I think it's much better than talking on the phone when you REALLY can't focus on anything but that phone conversation. Thank you for reaffirming why this outlet is good for us as moms!

    I love your blog! :)

  3. This is my first time to comment on your blog. I felt compelled to do so however, as I just wanted to jump up on the couch and say "yes, that's exactly it, that's how I feel too!" lol. I dont know, maybe its a guy thing, but my husband doesn't get it, why I love to be socially connected and have some part of my life involve blogging, designing, DIY projects, and similar things. Its not so much that we financially need my contribution, its just that my kids are 3, 2, and baby boy number 3 (the last) will be here in 17 days and we don't really have very many friends and no family living in town. Online life is like, my sanity and sometimes frustration outlet. I can tell him I'm going crazy, but if I blog about feeling like I'm going crazy there are 10 or 12 Moms (at least) who know exactly what I'm talking about...its refreshing to know we're not the only ones. I absolutely love my boys and really enjoy being at home with them, most of the time, but there will always be this creative, inventive, longing inside of me that wants more, that knows I'm more than just the cook and organizational force behind this little house of crazy boys. Yes, there has to be a limit, a schedule, a constant re-assessment of how my time nd their time is spent so that nothing is constantly neglected or none of us run out of steam. But I feel, as you seem to, that it is just as necessary to be who I am, to invent, to design, to create, to dream, as it is to read, play dress up, sing songs, play peekaboo, throw balls, build play do forts, make dinner, sweep the floor, potty train, and all the other things we do as mother's AND women. I, as a mother of boys, simply want them to grow up with a sense of self, knowing they are valued for who they are as individuals, whatever that ends up being as they grow and change. I don't think I could really teach them those lessons if I did not stay true to my own heart and interests in some small way or fashion. Well, I'm rambling now, as I tend to do about something I'm so passionate about, but the point is, I really really agree with this post and thank God there are other women, and female bloggers that totally 'get it' as well. I'd hate to feel I was the only one in this looney social media/blogging bin..... :)

  4. I try really hard to walk away from the computer when my little one is awake and isn't perfectly content playing by herself. Nobody in the entire universe (or blogoverse!) needs me more than she does, right? Right!

  5. What a wonderful post. I just started my blog two months ago, and although keeping up with it is at times not so feasible (2 littles and a newborn in the house), it's been such a perfect outlet for me. I love blogging. I'd been reading and dreaming about starting my own blog for over a year, so I feel lucky to have the space set up now for me to visit, write, share, and grow.

    I definitely think social media can be a great thing...and then, there are of course those times that you are sucked into an abyss and have to look up and shake it off and get back to real life again. Life is like that.

  6. The world of blogging, oh the joys! I started blogging last May and it has been more rewarding then I had ever imagined. I landed a great job as an online customer service manager for a popular baby store because of my blog and social media, not only did I have a resume to show off, but I was able to show off that I could run a website and little did I know those who I was on twitter with gave the owner to my new job the 411 on me, small world!

    I don't make tons of money from blogging, sure it helps with the grocery and gas bills, but it's been more of a rewarding experience in which I can be creative, I can share the experience with my children (we have a teen corner and soon a kids corner) because they too love to be creative and are excited when their articles are read.

    I balance things out, sure some moments the kids would love me to get off the computer, and some moments they have my full attention. I have a full time day job and a part time home job (blogging)... some nights Im just up late or sometimes I write a few articles during the week. Whatever works in the moment. I do set aside time but with six kids I'm not able to set aside a specific time to blog.

    I enjoy it, it's enriching and my family enjoys it as well!

  7. Before having my daughter I felt like I wasn't pulling my weight in our community (I'm a Tucson mama like you). I wasn't acting on my convictions political or otherwise. Then I became a mum and my responses felt more acute, more raw.

    During pregnancy and the fourth tri I explored online communities and I found like-minded folks and became part of a group that is making a difference for families in our communities. The group, http://helpamotherout.org, uses social media to raise awareness about the need for diapers.

    It seems like such a small thing written like that, the need for diapers, not exactly saving the world, but using social media, Twitter, Facebook and blogging, we've helped loads of families who are struggling financially at this time and helped bridge a gap in the social safety net.

    I struggle with finding balance in my online time, I'm mid-organizing a Learn-to-Knit party fundraiser for the Diaper Bank, and then I'm on the computer all day at work, but usually without the time to browse so all my stuff is done after my daughter is asleep. Can I just have another 4 hours a day?

  8. Stephanie, you are awesome! I love this post! Sometimes though, I'm not quite as good as you... I don't prioritize my time well... but I'm working on it! But I catch myself trying to get stuff done while my baby is wanting attention. And in that case... I need to give it to her! Well, I'll just keep working on that!

  9. I work full time and crave and look forward to any and all time I have with my daughter. When she goes to bed I get on and escape to BLOG world!! I also try and check it when I get a break at work. I wish I had a way to stay home and blog would be a lot of fun!! But I do enjoy your blog and what you have to say! I also love to hear what your loyal followers have to say too! Keep up your drive,wisdom and love for your family, it's really inspiring!

  10. blogging has allowed me to be a work at home mom!
    between my blog design business and income from my blog, it has allowed me to stay at home with the kids instead of working part time outside the home. i'm so very thankful that God provided for us in this unexpected way!!

  11. Reading blogs has helped me a lot... ever since I gave birth on Xmas... I have been looking for "answers" on blogs from other mothers... especially when I had to nurse over 10x a day! I have been glued to my iphone (so handy).... today I'm looking into whether I should try the sippy cup at 3.5 months because baby still won't take a bottle....

  12. blogging encourages me to always fill our day with memories. not necessarily "blog worthy" memories but memories that we can grow with and upon.

    it also helps me feel like i am growing- from the things i learn from other women to the things i realized i've learned that i can share. it's a community that i can touch base with at work (multi-tasking through con calls), while i'm waiting in a long line or when i just need a quick escape. i can check my reader and see if anyone has posted anything that might make me laugh and know that i'm not taking time away from my family or my job.

  13. I work 3 to 4 nights out of the week. I usually read my favorite blogs at work or when I get home from work, usually in bed right before I go to sleep for the day.

    I write blog posts usually on my day off during Audrey's nap and when my oldest is at school and husbands at work.

    I do have to set a timer for blog reading and posting, because, there are really good writers out there, that trap me, and I find it hard to let go of the reading or writing if not reminded.

    My afternoons and evenings off are strictly for family. I don't open my laptop from about 4 to 10pm at night. I will usually do a quick log on before bed to read email or catch up on twitter and then straight to sleep ( :

    The blogging and social media is a great way for me to have time for me, without leaving the house! I have met great people!

  14. I am responding more as a blog reader rather than a blogger. I would agree with you on managing your time on the internet - I like how you call it the "in-between" moments. Reading blogs has absolutely helped me become a better mother. When I first had my son, I experienced post-partum depression and felt very overwhelmed and alone with the constant attention my son required. Reading blogs opened my eyes to all the wonderful joys of motherhood and really put things in perspective for me. Having a sense of community has helped me see that mothers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and ideas, but we are all in this together. We all have ups and downs, but there are so many more ups and the motherhood experience is so worth it.

    I work outside the home 3 days/week, and that's when I do my blog reading. When I am home, I am focused on my son. When my husband is home from work and on the weekends, we have a "no computer" rule and we use the time that we are all together as family time. While I realize that that rule may be too stringent for some, it has definitely ensured that we are spending quality time with each other.

  15. I agree with you on the accountability. I have a large amount of facebook friends, ranging from past elementary school friends to past youth group students to current school students to church members, etc. I want to remain a good example in the lives of the students, be a good example of a mom and Christ follower, and represent myself and my Lord well. It makes me think more about what I say and do, and, like you said, keeps me motivated to change the world more actively. I still have to work to make sure it's not taking too much time, though, because it can become an addiction. I don't play games or anything because I know I would get hooked. :)

  16. Not really blogging but moderating on a breastfeeding/parenting board has given me a more open mind about parenting by instinct. It has introduced me to mothers like me that I may never had met in real life.

  17. I don't have a lot of close friends where we live these days so social media has been a great way to stay connected with old friends and meet new ones online.

  18. I have actually put so much thought into this, and have a half-written post on this same topic. We are having some mind-meld. :) In my experience, it is easy to FEEL like other moms are always online. Twitter kinda seems like a big party; like everyone else is always there, even when you aren't. Like a crowded room you peek into. In reality, we are all only on there for a minute here and there, most of us "peeking" on mobile devices rather than sitting in front of a computer. I use only my iPod touch here and there until my kids are asleep for the night. Then I can read blogs and comment and maybe even write something myself. I love processing all the talking-to-myself thoughts that I have during the day at night, when my babies are asleep. It DOES help me to get them all out, and to share with other people and connect.

  19. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. It's about how you use it, how you manage your time, and where your heart is.

  20. Well, facebook is mostly just a time-suck, but blogging has definitely made me more intentional about taking pictures and keeping a record of our life. I love it because then when I go to scrapbook I have an easy reference! And it's made it a lot better to keep in touch with family who live far away. They can feel like they are part of our lives and when we talk on the phone then it's easier to connect.

  21. I think there are Mother's who take it to the extreme and are always online and obsessing about online things, but most of us aren't that Mother.

    I can honestly say I spend less than 1-2 hours per day online now. And before giving up my personal blog, on average it was less than 3-4 hours per day. In a 24 hour period, that isn't much time at all.

    I love my kids and being home with them. Being connected to others online is the icing on my life cake and I'm grateful for it but God and my family are always number one!

    Janelle

  22. I have had people comment to me that you must be on your computer all day! Far from the truth! Unless my girls are napping, I don't get on my computer except maybe a quick check on my email in the morning during breakfast. Like you instead, I stay up way, way, way late and get my work done! :)

  23. Blogging and Facebook keep me sane and organized.

    I work full-time so when I get home and our baby is still awake I leave the computer in my school-bag and we play, play, play, take baths, eat, laugh and go for walks.

    But when I am at work (like now) and I have 5 minutes to myself and to take a breath, I check facebook and I update my blog. I need that break from my workday.

    It has also forced me to keep my pictures organized which I love and my extended family hopefully appreciates.

    I, too, want my daughter to see that I work to contribute and to make a difference and that she should strive to do the same.

    Thanks for the great post!

  24. Definitely! Reading other blogs and communicating with other like minded (and sometimes not so like minded) mothers has been a definite plus in my life. I blog while my little one is sleeping or on occasion playing happily. I don't feel like it gets in the way of me being a mom. On the contrary, it makes me more mindful of how precious this life and this mothering gig are. Blogging has me in the habit of taking more photos and documenting as much happiness as I can...on and off the blog. I think the time I spend focusing on the good stuff actually makes more good stuff happen.

  25. I certainly agree with you. Being a full time engineer and a mom blogger has really helped me prioritize. And I love my family above anything else but as mothers we have to realize that we show love even by being on that laptop, engaging with the global community and learning as we go how we can improve ourselves, husband and children. My daughter is one and she started holding her pen and writing jargons on paper at 9 months. People say she is used to seeing me write a lot. And I am glad she picked on that.

  26. I really loved being an integral part in a company when I worked outside the home before I had children. A place to use my education, talents and a place to be creative.

    Then I had my first child and knew that the best place for me to be was at home with him.

    BUT...for me to be a better mother I needed an outlet and that's when I turned to blogging. It feeds and nourishes me.

    Sometimes I go many days without blogging because my kids need me more. But when I start to feel myself become a mother I don't like, I find a quiet moment and turn to my blog. It's like coming up for a breath of fresh air.

    Then I can go back to being the parent I want and know I can be.

    Great post!

  27. I don't have an answer to the question really - I just wanted to say that you are such an inspiration! I love reading your blog and you've encouraged me (prior to today) to really set goals for my writing this year. I'm a writer at heart, but professionally I meddle in many things. I want to launch my freelance career so that by the time my 18-month-old starts kindergarden I can have the flexibility to be more present. Keep up the good work mama.

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