Everyone has heard the saying “It takes a village.” Moms talk about the need for a social support network when raising a child. We usually consider the village to be made up of family, friends, neighbors, teachers, day care workers, and churches.
What role, if any, does social media have in the village? Well, let’s look at what a village does for us. It provides us with help and support in times of need, such as when recovering from childbirth or dealing with schedules for multiple children. Members of our village bring us food and help take care of children after a baby is born and mom is recovering. They may drive a 3rd or 4th child to an appointment or ball game when parents are doing the same for the 1st and 2nd child. They call and check in, provide emotional support, and give advice.
Except when they don’t. Many, many women don’t have the type of village described. They may be far from family or not have help from them. They may also have friends and neighbors who do not offer to come by, or bring food, or help out. People are busier than ever, and many may be struggling in some way.
In comes social media. Unlike phone calls, cards, or texts, social media reaches many people at one time. Family far away can view pictures, hear updates, and communicate with parents on many levels. It is useful, but is it helpful? Is it supportive? Perhaps. Often but not always. But does social media have a place in our village? Perhaps not. It depends on how it is used, but often it can be a stressor that takes up time rather than a support in time of need. That being said, there ARE some useful mom groups, neighborhood groups, and other types of groups in which parents can find information and support.
Who is in your village?