Clearly, these people who accuse mothers of small children of being “at risk for Internet addiction” and who belittle the habit of switching tabs from Twitter to Facebook to blog to email and back until someone responds are not whip-smart blogging mamas. (Okay, yes, I read the article, and yes, she is exactly that. But she’s a quitter, too, because she dropped her four blogs because they were taking time away from her kids. Um, hello, that’s the point.) And the authors and publishers and contributors and promoters have it out for mom blogs. (Forget for a moment the article is written by a mom who spent as many as eight hours online a day while the kids were awake. Lady, do you know how much I could get done if I got to be addicted like that? Why can’t I have that personality instead of the “eighteen projects sitting half done because I can’t bear to ignore my child-rearing job” personality?)
They don’t understand that we have finally, in blogs and twitter and facebook, found forums in which people who understand us and empathize flock to our feet to hear our pearls of wisdom. At home/work we’re ignored. Yelled at. Shat upon, literally. Online there are others like us, feces-covered and chagrined, wishing someone would hear us and tell us we’re worth a shower. Online we all respect each other. Dote on each other. Celebrate each other. I think these people at CNN are mamablogga haters. And we don’t allow the word “hate” at our house, do we mamas?
People who bandy about the term “addiction” do so without acknowledging that it’s a relatively new term (twentieth century) that basically applies to any activity that takes you away from the socially mandated priorities of work and family. If we were a culture who valued laughter above all else, alcoholism would only be applied to nasty drunks. Silly drunks would be contributing members of society. Since we are Puritanical believers in work and family, online activities that take you away from work or family for one, two, or nine hours a day allegedly represent problems. (But somehow, work that takes you away from family for twelve hours isn’t a problem. Oh, right. That’s just for men. Work that takes women away from family for one, two, nine hours gets a big ol’ judgemental eye roll, too. Lady, do you know how much work I could get done…oh, wait, I’ve already pulled that in this post.) If we were just a society that valued Twitter (don’t hold your breath, for that would be an even more despicable society than we have, really), maybe then moms who spend one, two, nine hours online would be contributing members of society. You moms who Tweet every freaking thought, stacking seven posts on top of each other (which, for the record, is a blog, not Twitter, so stop it and compose your thoughts into something longer and more coherent) would be the superstars of our society, overpaid and overappreciated for your prolific online contributions.
So let’s be honest. We use/dabble in/devour facebook and Twitter and blogging and online shoping and email because it’s almost like being a whole person and having friends who can actually make it to the dates you’ve had to cancel three times, mutually, for sick kids or sleepless nights or filthy houses or school projects.
As one of my friends (whom I would not know without the glory of the Internet) said, she takes all the facebook quizzes just in case the results will reveal a deep understanding of herself she had never achieved by other means, and will save her in therapy and life coaching fees.
Being at home with a small child (or more, heaven help you ladies and gents ‘cuz I’m barely making it with just one) can be frustrating and anger-provoking and stifling and unwelcoming. Those of us used to doing eighty things in a day, being respected, being listened to, being creative and logical and articulate and productive have a hard time, since the product of our labor will be unpaid for twenty to thirty years. Not until we see who our children become, what they love and whom they love and how they love will we know if our work was done well. Not until our children send a Mother’s Day card like the one my brother just sent my mom, apologizing for every single hour of sleep he ever cost her, does the job pay decent wages.
So if we spend a few extra hours on our blogs, or spend one third of our otherwise billable Saturdays off scheduling seven blog posts to arrive each morning, just as though we were productive members of society (ah, crap, I just gave away the secret of my prolific blogging), maybe you’ll cut us some slack and not call us addicted. As long as we promised the padooter will only go on when the wee ones sleep, who does it hurt that we’re on facebook at midnight?
Ah, hell, what do I care if they call me diseased? As long as you’re reading my blog, I don’t care what they call either of us. Cheers, readers. Hope something on the padooter makes you feel a little less stressed at whatever issues your day brought.
*for the record, the CNN article is actually pretty gentle, even if it’s groossly sponsored by pediatric fiber tablets and full of links to sunshine and buttercup links about how to enjoy parenting. Treacle. But mocking their gentleness is not as much fun as hyperbolic mamablogga hating.