Wednesday, April 20, 2005
M. Night Shyamalan had "The Village," but we ARE the village, my friends.I think sometimes that if there had been online journals, blogs, when I was raising my children, I might not have made quite as many mistakes.
Often, during those years, I felt very isolated. I was sure that nobody else was feeling the same emotions, having the same problems, trying and failing at so many things, when it came to baby/child care. I felt like I was the only one, struggling with this and that, with the babies, and later with the children. I was embarassed to ask some questions, because I knew that nobody else in the universe could possibly have my same problems.
I used to wish that there was SOME place where I could find a lot of advice and sure-fire plans to help me. I used to wish that there were people who had BEEN there, who could share their successes and failures; word of mouth is still the most believable way of selling anything, and advice has to be sold, you know. We SAY it's 'given,' but if it's not packaged and presented juuuust right, nobody will take it.
Yes, there were relatives who were laden with advice. Friends, who had a lot of advice. Much of it was good, too; and just as much of it was horrible. And, the 'supply' of relatives and friends was limited. So limited, there was no way their experiences could help me with very many of the problems and questions I had. Besides, they were, well, relatives. And friends, however beloved, don't always agree with our own parenting methods or theories.
Now, though, this has changed, and changed drastically. For every question or problem a blogger posts, there are potentially millions of people who have BEEN THERE, and somehow survived, and who therefore have believable and practical advice for a young parent who is wondering, puzzled, or even at the end of his/her rope.
It takes a village to raise a child?
Bloggers, WE are the village!
For someone like me, with grown children and a shipload of experience but no takers, blogging about the past is a cathartic thing, a trip down memory lane, with a lot of the bad memories miraculously erased. But to a young parent, some small thing I mention might make a world of difference! I hope so, anyway.
This applies to many areas, of course; but parenting is the most important job in the world, so it is the one I am thinking about right now.
I tried to care for my first baby by using charts in those free pamphlets the hospital gave me when I checked out. Imagine. With my second baby, I felt confident enough to laugh at myself, but even so I made tons of mistakes. We all do; they're unavoidable. People who tell you that they don't make mistakes are liars or amnesia victims.
Now, when a parent has a problem or a concern, one little mention of it on a blog or a forum, and the whole world wants to help.
And hey. A piece of advice about, say, diaper rash, from a parent who has battled diaper rash and won, is worth a lot more than a pamphlet about a diaper rash product. Even if there's a coupon, and Marsh is tripling coupons that week.
Parents want answers to their questions. They want the latest answers to their questions. Our Moms/Dads may have been perfect, but a perfect answer from 1953 isn't necessarily the perfect answer to the same question in 2005. And then again, sometimes it is. When our peers chime in with solutions that have been proven to work, perhaps it's the solution to try.
I am not downplaying the role of grandparents and friends, in regard to parenting advice. I am merely saying that no matter how old we are, our peers' opinions mean a lot more than we think. Blogging is a big collection of peers, and friends, and parents, and grandparents, and aunts and uncles and cousins and their next-door-neighbor's sister-in-law's beautician's second cousin once removed. It is the biggest pamphlet in the world. It's the biggest forum in the world. It's the biggest therapy couch in the world. It's the biggest sounding board in the world. It's the biggest reference book in the world.
Just as there are kooks at the family reunion, whose opinions you wouldn't touch with a 2x4 and a pair of rubber gloves, there are also kooks online, whose opinions we wouldn't touch with TWO 2x4's and a long knife. At a family reunion, laughing, screaming, mocking, and facial grimaces are not allowed. Online, we don't have to be that polite, because the person can't see us anyway, and we can click away any time we want. Or, if the advice is good, we can comment and thank the blogger, and come again as often as we can because maybe they'll say something equally good or helpful again some time.
On my blogroll are people I wish lived next door to me, or WITH me, because I've come to love them as dearly as though we met for lunch daily. I've also BE'd to some blogs that made me laugh out loud at the pompous stupidity of the blogger, or cringe in horror at the close-minded prejudice, or smile at the picture of a child in front of a birthday cake.
Blogging is conversation. Checking out our blogrolls is seeking conversation with people we like. Sometimes, there isn't time to read as many as we'd like, and we feel as though we should apologize the next time we're able to come by! Well, I do, anyway.
We're all busy. Most of us work and raise children and try to nurture them and a marriage and our friendships at the same time. Many days, something's gotta give. With blogging, the conversations can wait till we can get there. Bloggers are true friends who don't put any kind of time limitation on us. We are here, and we'll be here tomorrow if you can't stop by tonight.
We post about our lives, and if some aspect of one life can touch and help another life, well, that's what friends are for. Enough friends together, make a village.
It takes a village.
And that village, my friends, is us. We are a phenomenon. We are the village.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:40 PM | |