Your Baby Boomer Mom’s Use of Technology Is Incredible, Not Embarrassing

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She has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which she essentially uses as intended by documenting her rad (post-retirement) life. There’s the occasional selfie with her girlfriends, dispatches from vacations and hikes, her favorite funny signs at political rallies. But the majority of her posts are homages to her children — me and my brother. She uses social media both to keep tabs on what we’re up to and to broadcast that information to her network of people. She loves to share my work (with simply the caption “Alana,” no tag) and photos of our family awkwardly squeezed into a restaurant booth and bathed in terrible overhead lighting. She also LOVES to interact with our status updates, as if they are addressed directly to her…

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Rude Daycare Shames Moms for Using Phones During Pick-Up

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According to Mom.me’s Jeanne Sager, the sign was posted at a Texas daycare, where mother Juliana Farris Mazurkewicz spotted it and posted a photo of it to Facebook. Of course, the combination of daycare and phones is like blood in the water for the sanctimony sharks, and the picture is blowing up with more than 380,000 shares so far. A lot of them are cheering on the daycare, because you just know they’ve been waiting their whole lives to talk about this kind of “neglect,” preferably with a lot of exclamation points and pointed comments about how they “never” do that.

Still, many of the comments are defending the hypothetical phone-moms, pointing out that there are a lot of things these people could be forced to take care of at right that moment. (Are you a doctor? A lawyer? Waiting for important medical test results? Maybe you’d better pick up your phone when it rings.)

 

On the Internet, to Be ‘Mom’ Is to Be Queen

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In one particular shot, captured in an elevator and posted to the star’s Instagram (with 2.5 million likes), Beyoncé stares fiercely into the camera, her hand placed protectively on her young daughter’s arm, as her princess dress overtakes the floor.

As you may have expected, the Bey-hive (that’s Beyoncé’s fan base) went nuts: “SLAYYYYYYY,” they commented. The photo was “everything,” they squealed. It was so fierce they were all “dying” — like, literally, physically rolling in their graves.

And then there was this response, from a variety of fans:

“MOMMMMMM.”

 

“Will you be my mom?”

 

“Beyoncé is everyone’s mom.”

Like most things internet, the origin of “mom” — or at least, how most of us learned about it — can be traced to Kim Kardashian West. In 2014, when Ms. Kardashian West posed for a Paper magazine cover with her oiled backside glistening in full force, Lorde, the 20-year-old pop star, tweeted the image with only one word: “mom.”

 

At first, fans wondered whether she was critiquing Ms. Kardashian West. (Was she criticizing the new mom’s decision to pose naked?) Luckily, a fan wrote to Lorde’s Tumblr asking her to explain, for those of us who don’t speak internet, and Lorde set the record straight.

 

“I retweeted kim’s amazing cover and wrote ‘MOM,’ which among the youthz is a compliment,” she wrote. “It basically jokingly means ‘adopt me/be my second mom/i think of you as a mother figure you are so epic.’”

Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children

Illustration by Giselle Potter

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There is a hunger in our culture for true stories from the parenting trenches where life is lived mud-flecked and raw. I’ve written extensively, intimately, damningly, about my children for seven years without once thinking about it from the point of view of their feelings and their privacy. A few months ago I stopped.

I wish I could say that I deeply reflected on the ethics of writing about my children and heroically pivoted myself out of a concern for my character, but here’s what really happened: My father called.

He called me after reading a blog post I had written about my son’s first signs of puberty. It seems an obvious line-crossing that I wrote about such an intimate detail, but I did. At the time I didn’t pause for a split second; I was more than willing to go there. I had been writing and reading extensively about parenting tweens. I knew people might be mildly shocked, but mostly interested.

…I was always the narrator, the main character, even if I was also the storm-tossed heroine, the hot mess in mom jeans who couldn’t get the overalls on her 2-year-old. Or figure out fourth-grade fractions homework. I was working out my issues. My kids were always satellites to the big round-faced moon of me.

I’ve shamed their eating habits in chat rooms. I have Facebooked the things they’ve said. I have skewered them horribly, but also with great interest and affection, as a collector might do to some butterflies.

 

Kids’ Screen Time is a Feminist Issue

google search trends shows increased volume of searches for kids screen time since 2010

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The new poster child for bad parenting is the parent texting their way through dinner, while the kids do the same.

But let’s get real. When we fret about excess screen time as bad parenting, what we’re really talking about is bad mothering. After all, mothers still do more than three times as much routine child care as fathers do, and almost four times as much solo care, according to a 2011 study by Lyn Craig and Killian Mullan.  When we worry that parents are shirking their duties by relying on an electronic babysitter, we’re really worrying that mothers are putting their own needs alongside, or even ahead of, their kids’ needs.

It’s a worry that rears its head any time someone comes up with a technology that makes mothers’ lives easier. As mothers, we’re supposed to embrace—or at least nobly suffer through—all the challenges that parenting throws at us. We’re supposed to accept having little people at our heels while we’re trying to buy the groceries, make dinner, or go to the bathroom. We’re supposed to accept the exhaustion that comes from working a full day at the office and a second shift at home before falling into bed for an inevitably interrupted sleep. We’re supposed to accept the isolation that comes from raising children in a world that regards a crying child as a crime against restaurant patrons or airplane travellers.

The mother who hands her child a smartphone is taking the easy way out of these challenges. But since so much of parenting consists of situations in which there is no easy way out, I’m deeply grateful when somebody offers me a cheat. I love being able to hand my kid an iPhone in a restaurant so we can go out for dinner on a night when nobody feels like cooking or cleaning up. I love knowing I can get a few quiet minutes for a business call — if I let the kids watch Netflix. I love being able to have an actual conversation with a friend while my kids enjoy their Minecraft time. Steve Jobs may have banned iPhones and iPads for his own kids, but I bet he would have rethought that position if he’d actually spent every day at home with them, instead of off running Apple.

 

Surprise! Online Mom Culture Might Be Helping Moms Feel More Confident

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There’s been a long held assumption that competition and insecurity, rather than camaraderie and support, are the driving force behind the rise of online mom culture. A new report from Pew Research Center suggests otherwise.

In short: Millennial moms are more assured in their parenting and most likely to seek advice online. This suggests that the digital-mom universe is not the cesspool of judgment it is often made out to be. Those long Facebook threads about breast vs. bottle or co-sleeping vs. sleep-training, the endless think pieces on work/life balance, the viral personal essays—they’re all part of a vast and growing ecosystem. Too often labeled as “mommy wars,” those conversations seem to be doing more to make women confident of the mothers they are, rather than demoralized by the mothers they are not.

 

 

You Already Knew Parents Post on Facebook More Than Others. Now Find Out How Much

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Some of the more interesting findings came from its U.S.-based study. For instance, new American moms post 2.5 times more status updates, 3.5 times more photos and 4.2 times more videos than nonparents, per Facebook’s internal stats. And hey, the updates work: New parents’ posts (those from moms or dads) about their babies get 37 percent more interactions from family members and 47 percent more interactions from friends than their general posts.

“Parenting has become a digitally shared experience… Technology enables parents to share the joys, challenges and questions inherent in raising a child with their family and friends both near and far on a regular basis. Instead of mailing holiday cards or school pictures, they’re sharing their child’s milestones through photos and video online.”