I thought I had this baby thing figured out. I just had a baby 16 months ago, so the hours of research I did for Rocco should hold water, right? Then, this week, beautiful baby Giada makes her early appearance, and I’m back to scouring the interwebs. This time, I’m in search of information about preemies.
Parenting advice for new moms has definitely evolved. Notice I didn’t say I called my mother, grandmother, sister or any other family member for advice. I don’t live near my family and most of my friends who live near me don’t have kids.
Just recently, I realized that the friends and family advice I’ve been looking for has been replaced with internet searches, mommy blogs and online chat forums. The clichéd village that is supposedly necessary to raise a child is now comprised of nameless, faceless search results and mom-centric internet forums.
During my first pregnancy and the first year of my son’s life, I would call up my sister and mom to ask for advice. Many of the questions started with “is this normal?”. Sometimes they’d give me great advice, other times, they’d say it has been too long to remember and then give me second-hand information about one of their friend’s children or grandchildren. Even my mom got in the act of searching the internet to help me figure out some of my baby milestone questions.
I joined a few mommy meetup groups in the hopes of meeting local moms for friendships, play dates and to have the conversations about child development that I wasn’t able to get anywhere else. I’ve met some great women through a working moms group, but I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, so I’m still left with questions not easily answered through phone calls to my family or the occasional email chat with a long-distance mommy friend.
So I’m left with the only other easily accessible resource, the internet, to answer questions about my children’s development. The other night, the question was ‘why do toddlers scream and how can you stop it’? Or something like that. In an instant, I read numerous forum conversations and articles about why toddlers scream.
Although I do wish I had family and friends nearby to offer sound advice and I crave the interaction with other moms who are experiencing the same sorts of things as new parents, I can’t help but be grateful for the plethora of resources around us on the internet. Even though I have tried my best to avoid the need for reassurance that my children’s development ‘is normal’, I can’t help but feel reassured when I read an article, mommy blog or online forum that confirms I have nothing to fear.
From where do you get your parenting advice?