Wednesday, March 01, 2006

WEB: The Dot-Mom Revolution

Before I say anything else, I first want to announce a new feature over at the Bored Housewives Network: "Ask a Bored Housewife".

If you've been sitting on any burning questions about pregnancy or motherhood, scoot on over and ask, and the collective font of estrogen-fuelled wisdom that is BHN will endeavour to answer. (
Living, loving and learning: that's the BHN credo.) We've already received our first letter, about this zany "family bed" thing that all the kids are into these days, so hurry and get yours in the queue.

Moving right along (and staying relatively on topic, even)... in case you can't tell, I'm kind of newly fixated on my mom status. Maybe it's because Sam is lurching toward toddlerhood and my mothering duties have had to change to accommodate this. Maybe it's because my one year of paid maternity leave is ending in seven weeks and I'm reeling at how quickly this year has gone by. Maybe it's all the media kerfuffle around the fact that lawyer/author/dumbass Linda Hirshman recently wrote that educated stay-at-home moms are making a big mistake and doing themselves and society a disservice. Or maybe it's just hormones.

Be that as it may, I've been thinking about what being a mom is like for me, and you know what? Despite what books like The Mommy Myth (which I attempted to read while pregnant but only got about 15 pages into, not because it was too depressing or boring, but because I just couldn't relate to it) want to tell me, for me being a mom is pretty great. And -- should I even say what I'm about to say? Am I begging for the wrath of the gods? Or if not of the gods, then of other moms? -- it's pretty easy.

Now, I don't take much credit for this. All I bring to motherhood is a somewhat laissez-faire attitude toward, oh, say, housework and cooking, an attitude that has probably saved my sanity on numerous occasions. (Don't get the idea that we live in a squalid knee-deep mess of old Taco Bell and McDonald's wrappers. We get by. We eat simply and well. Our home is clean... enough.)

No, I give much of the credit to technology. Without the internet, without wireless modems, without laptop computational devices, I would be completely lost. Which leaves me to wonder: how the fuck did our mothers get by without any of these things? What did they DO?

To start with, how did they arrange their social lives? I, for one, am terrified of phoning any of the other moms I know during the day. Our babies all seem to have capricious nap schedules, and just the thought that I could cause a telephone to ring, which would in turn wake up a sleeping baby... well, let me say without hyperbole that the thought makes my blood run cold. So we all email each other after the first coffee of the day has taken effect, and we lay out our best guesses as to our schedules for the day, and how best to fit in some baby play time (read: mommy social time).

Speaking of reaching out and touching someone, how did our moms manage to nag our dads without the benefit of instant messaging? Oh, sure, you can always call your significant other at work... even several times a day if need be. But with instant messaging you can send your lover-man sweet little notes such as "Remember to pick up baby wipes on your way home" and "Why must you persist in hiding loosely wrapped blocks of cheese in the furthest corners of the bottommost drawers in the fridge?" and "The dog just farted. Call 911!" and "Check out this site. This naked lady is wearing a balloon-animal hat!" and you can do it ALL DAY LONG. The internet: the most important invention since Gutenberg's printing press? Yay or nay? Do we even have to debate this?

And how did our moms stay on top of kid-related events? At my fingertips, I have links to community centre classes, the pool schedule, the programs for the aquarium AND Science World (we have family memberships at both), and a newsgroup populated by dozens and dozens of local parents who are all dauntingly on top of neighbourhood goings-on. I'm not saying I actually go to any of these places or events. My inertia, coupled with Sam's aggressive nap schedule, make for a potent lazy-mom cocktail. But it's nice to know that I could go to them if I could bestir myself.

Did someone mention cooking? Making dinner is something I like to dabble in, usually on a lark. When the mood strikes me for something like, say, quesadillas (last night's dinner), I do what I always do when seized by a cooking whim: I go to Google and type in "world's best [insert name of food] recipe." Trust me, this ALWAYS works. As a result of this technique, I also know how to make the world's best sangria and the world's best chocolate chip cookies. Come on over sometime and I'll make both for you.

And mommy blogging! Why didn't someone tell me about the joys of mommy blogs sooner? I would've gotten myself knocked up five years ago if I'd known I could've BLOGGED about it. Fortunately, I'm making up for lost time, along with the other supercalifragilistexpialidociously cool moms over at the Bored Housewives Network. Finally, the general populace gets to hear my opinions about topics like poop and sleep deprivation. You can stop holding your breath, world!

I could go on and on about the myriad ways I've combined motherhood with geekhood, but this is already starting to get embarrassing, so I'll stop now.

All this access to technology does have its dark side, however. Like, every so often -- and for some perverse reason that remains a dark mystery to me -- I like to randomly find some scary article about infant nutrition or some aspect of baby development, then proceed to freak the shit out of myself, and then spend hours researching other articles that reassuringly contradict the first article. What was I saying about

And get this. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I have so much time on my hands that I've even had time to coin a spankin' new term for mothers like me: dot-moms. How do you like them apples?

(Please don't tell me you've already heard this term used elsewhere. It's all I have.)


landismom said...

Sometimes, I am amazed by the other mothers I know (through the PTA, not so much through work) who spend almost no time at all on the internet. I was talking to another mom a week or so ago about how I hardly ever go to the mall, because I do almost all of my shopping online, and she looked at me as if I had a second head. (And it was relevant to the conversation. Really! I swear! We were talking about shopping!)

I can't imagine what she would have thought if I started to talk about the beauty of mommy blogging.

And sorry to burst your bubble, but

Tammy said...

Dang! I said NOT to tell me.

Sheesh, and it looks like they've been around since 2003. Somehow that makes me extra depressed. I seem to be doomed to lag three years behind the zeitgeist.

Anonymous said...

one year of paid maternity leave

Wow. That's awesome. I'm moving to Canada.

Veronica said...

Being that I'm at the point in my life when I'm still like, "The baby comes out where? No...that can't be right," I know nothing about motherhood. But what I do know about is a great site for recipes: try All Recipes. Tons of great recipes for anything you can think of.

Nicole Steeves said...

Hooray, dot-moms. Be soothed: I had never heard the term before, and given that I have one hand on the baby and one on the keyboard all day long, that is saying something. Sorry about your paid maternity leave ending. Perhaps the only benefit of the nonexistent maternity leave for me was being forced to find a way to work from home online - which I do, about 12 hours per week, and the pay is not shabby. Dot-mom, indeed.

Paul said...

I think we (my kids are 34 and 35) did it the same way you do - with a good sense of humor and tolerance for our shortcomings.

Life was so much simpler then, but the world was so much smaller!

I envy you your mom-blogs. I never fit in with all the other moms nearby but I'm sure I would have found some like minded moms if blogs had been around back then.

Anonymous said...

I plan on having kids someday, but here's my biggest parenting worry:

What if my kids resemble the Family Circus? What will I do?

Will the Bored Housewives answer that?

Tammy said...

Thanks for the link, Exxie! I'll definitely check that site out.

And Nicole? I want to be just like you when I grow up!

Cap'n, the Bored Housewives will answer anything you throw at them. No question too trivial or too stupid.

kdmacken said...

Don't worry DG, I was totally impressed by your coining of To me, you'll always be the, and my role model once I start spawning. (Funny, no matter how old I am, I always think.. oh... about 5 more years til kids... I thought that when I was 25, and now that I'm 30, I still think 5 more years... I hope it start to narrow at some point before I am 72..or 31...) I truly hope I can be somewhat like you once I pop 'em out.
ps. I totally use all too.