Thursday, October 25, 2007

Internet Mom

Published October 25, 2007

Pssst...Hey you. Yeah, you...with the disheveled hair, the tired face, and the mouse in your hand. I see you there, on the other side of that computer screen. I see you checking us out. You're thinking, "I should be doing ___________ right now..." And yet, here you are.

And why are you here? Because you, like me, are an Internet Mom. The Internet Mom, much like her counterparts in previous generations (the Quilting Bee Mom, the Tupperware Party Mom, and the much maligned Soccer Mom), is a mom who, craving the company and support of other moms, has found a unique way to connect. Our grandmothers bonded over needle and thread. We bond over broadband.

I've been a mom for the past 11 years and an Internet Mom for about the past 6. After giving birth to my youngest girl, I happened upon a message board for moms while nursing her in the middle of the night. There was a raging debate going about the best way to give birth, and like any self respecting homebirther, I happily joined the fray. Typing one-handed, I proceeded to ruffle feathers all over the United States, and the heady feeling of power was intoxicating. An Internet Mom was born.

I've settled down considerably over those 6 years. I'm much more likely to ruffle feathers with this column than anything else, but an Internet Mom I have remained. The heady feeling is still there, only now it's brought on by having so much knowledge at my fingertips 24 hours a day. You know that feeling you get when you finally remember where you've seen that actor before or you figure out that song lyric you couldn't quite place? Googling at 3 am and finding out for sure so you can actually sleep is way better! But there's more...

I can't get enough of tracking my checking account online, paying bills online, or ordering necessities online. The internet is the world's most perfect store. I can always find what I desperately need. A few months ago, I ordered a book I needed for school. A week ago, it was sheet music for the girls' choir I direct twice a week. Most recently, it was the "Weird Al Is My Homeboy" t-shirt I'm using as part of my Halloween costume (I say that as if I'm not actually wearing the shirt with love and pride as often as I possibly can).

I am also happy to report that there is no feeling quite like the giddy rush of telling a funny story and seeing an online friend respond with a hearty ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing). You don't get that kind of reaction in real life, let me tell you. The fact that said friend is most likely just having a quiet chuckle in her computer chair is beside the point. In that moment, you've just made someone stop, drop, and roll with laughter, even if on a figurative level. It's a beautiful thing.

So, you wonderful fellow Internet Mom, whether you're old hat at this kind of thing or you're a newby looking for direction and friendship, welcome to our corner of the web! We're glad you could make it, and we're looking forward to providing some fun and friendship while you're here. If you happen to ruffle a few feathers, that's okay too.

If you tell a funny story right after, all that rolling on the floor will smooth them right out.