By Melissa Chapman
I remember growing up with a mom whose ear was usually tethered to a phone. As she cooked dinner or packed our lunches and the long squiggly cord would traipse behind her, often wrapping itself around her legs, my sisters and I would fashion it into a jump rope. My mother was enamored with that phone — or so I thought at the time. Looking back now, I’ve come to understand that phone was not so much a distraction as a lifeline to other grownups, who could understand and reassure her in a way that four small children could not.
Social media is to me what the telephone or playground was to preceding generations of moms: It’s my lifeline to peer support. This virtual playground enables me to make an immediate connection with other like-minded people who will offer me their honest feedback and help me through those moments of motherhood that can be by turn both frustrating and terrifying.
When I first started using Twitter, I was dealing with a very difficult family situation, and having a virtual community that I could turn to (no, it’s not all lollipops and pixie dust) was incredibly important to me, especially during those sleepless nights and early mornings.
Am I surprised that the percentage of women who use social media far outpaces that of their male counterparts? Absolutely not. I think women have an inherent need to discuss, analyze and share, and social media facilitates that desire seamlessly. And in my case, it’s also an extension of the way I communicate in real life.
Social media is also the great equalizer: The women I follow and interact with online are from different races, religions and ages, but we can still come together to share our experiences as mothers. This online sisterhood runs deep and erases differences that tend to stratify people in the offline world.
Of course, I’m disappointed by the statistics that show women lagging behind men in the technology sector. But I also like to think that it is only a matter of time until women rise to positions of power in Silicon Valley. Case in point: I’ve got a 9-year-old daughter who can code HTML with the best of them. In this ever-changing virtual world of ours, I’m betting that she and her friends will make their bones and establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with. In fact, I’m banking on it!
Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban concrete jungle of New York City. In addition to blogging for WCBSTV.com, she writes for the Staten Island Advance “Kids in the City Column,” and contributes to TimeOut NY Kids, She Knows, and iVillage and writes a blog called “This Mom Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Wearing Mom Jeans.”
Chapman is a Thirteen Kids Club Ambassador.
Related: The blogger-business gender gap