Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Social Networking" for parents...

As I sit and watch Wall*E...literally...for the 245th time...I thank whoever is in charge of this vast universe for my Internet connection. Although I am indeed a Working-Mother...I can also be classified as a Stay-At-Home-Mother...since I do a majority of my hours from my house. I will never complain about this...I never take it for granted and I will be forever grateful to work for an employer that allows this flexibility. does has one drawback...the lack of "normal" adult communication.

Now many Stay-At-Home-Mom's {SAHM's) are in a similiar situation, but it is truly by choice. Mom's who stay at home, work their tails off...but they CAN and SHOULD venture out of the house during their days to socialize themselves and their children. There are countless other SAHM's that they can organize playdates, group play, lunch-dates, walks around the block, etc...with. As a Work-At-Home-Mom (WAHM) it is truly a different scenario. While I have the opportunity to stay with my kids...I am working. I am always tethered to my laptop and blackberry. And while, on occassion, I do "take lunch" at off times to venture around the cul-de-sac or to the's in a hurried and non-social manner. My main means of communication with my co-workers is email and "chat". So 90% of my 'work-day' is spent typing & reading online communication with my adult counterparts, with the sounds of the current Pixar movie playing in the background...along with my kidlets voice while they play out the scenes from their favorite parts...or favorite books.

Once my "work day" is's strictly family-time. Dinner is made and a family-meal is had. Conversation revolves around work & kids. Lots of "tickles & tears" to go around since the kids ages span from 4-14. Then the night ends. The little ones are in bed by 8p...and the grown-ups and the teen settle in for quiet nights. Since I'm a "responsible parent"...rarely do I head out to socialize with other adults after my kids are in bed. So where does my communication come in to play? Yes - occassionaly we have time outside with other families, or a night-out with just me and the hub...but 90% of my life is spent within the confines of my home with my husband being the only other adult I interact with.

Enter Facebook. Something that I've noticed more and more the past few weeks, is people I used to head out for a night on the town settle in for some good old-fashioned banter...but our medium is Facebook. The reason: we all have sleeping children in our houses.

I am a social animal by nature. If I am in your presence I will talk to you. I love to communicate. At this current stage in my communication tool at hand is my laptop or iPhone. I believe that these two "tools" have saved my sanity and kept my mind from being wasted away on one silly TV show after another. Sure I still watch some TV...but the shows are a select few...but without my "online socializing" I would be draining my brain from 8p until bedtime watching mind-numbing shows to kill the time before my next day begins. However, because of Facebook...I have been re-connected with many old friends. I have been introduced to a couple high-quality new friends. I have been exposed to new learning enviornments and opportunities that would have never landed on my lap were it not for online social networking.

Facebook has also allowed for me to be more actively involved in REAL LIFE. It sparks interests, it spurs curiousity and more often than invokes peer pressure to get off your sorry behind and meet that old friend for coffee that you'd never in a million years get to do if it were for Facebook.

I know this is like an advertisement for the Social Networking tool...but it is what it is. Facebook saved me from turning into a hermit. I get my rants and raves out of my system for 100s of 'friends' to see and comment on. I get to have online debates and discussions since most people are more apt to be honest while typing rather than being honest while talking in real life.

There are many who claim us to be "addicts" - but that's not it. "Back in the day" our grandparents wrote letters, our parents spent countless hours on the phone, then it was email, next came texting...and now...we have Facebook. It's all the's a way to connect to and communicate with other humans.

So I lift my mug o'chai to all my "friends" around the world and say "CHEERS!" And I can do it from the comfort of my own home...AND I dont have to spend a dime to do it!! Imagine that...


  1. I like this kate!!!!! I live in Arizona now and making a phone call home to my sisters, brothers, parents and friends is so costly. I find Facebook to work so much easier. It is free and I have come in contact with people from high school that I probalby wouldn't have called on the phone. I dont feel so far away from home when I am on Facebook and I am in contact with people that were important to me in different times of my life. I like finding old friends and catching up.

  2. CHEERS Kate!

    I too, have a similar situation, where I am home alone with my daughter 90% of the week, and the only adult home 80% of our evenings. I am very lucky to have a flexible, very part time online job, and a husband who stepped up to allow me to raise our child instead of having others raise her.
    I don't have regrets or complaints; but I do crave intelligent, witty, adult conversation from time to time. It is the one aspect of working outside my home that I miss. I leave Facebook and AOL up most of my waking hours. It does not mean I am actually viewing it all that time; but it does comfort me to know I can check in throughout the day. I've been told I am addicted; but I love how you put it in perspective. I rarely talk on the phone, simply because we do not have a land line and part of our pinching pennies strategy includes a limited minute plan on my phone. I rarely write letters because let's face it, typing an email is quicker and less expensive.
    In the two years that I have been on Facebook, I have connected with long lost friends and family; kept in touch with people we moved away from when we ventured to Maine; received support and lots of wonderful tips on raising a child, and in turn supported and helped friends I probably would not have contact with on such a frequent basis without this tool.
    I have made trips to see people I lost touch with long ago, and set up new plans with friends I would probably not have met otherwise.

    I laugh when the same people that criticize Facebook and my choice to participate in this community, comment on how active I am with gatherings and trips. It's a great networking tool and just because you participate in it, does not mean you exclude "real life". It's an enhancement to life.....not a replacement for one.