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Word to your mother

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, 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

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  • Ann Bissonnette

    It sure ain’t Bill Moyers. Interesting. Not hard hitting. Certainly not delving deeply into the issues of our time. That “humorous” thing at the end about next week’s news was lame and a waste of my time. The other network’s news shows give us 10 minutes of actual news and then try to sweeten the pot with soft stuff–”human interest” stories they used to be called. Now Oprah is more interesting. MUST we get that pablum from PBS too? Friday night used to be out of the ordinary–Washington Week with Gwen Ifel (always good–tight), then NOW–terrific stories, right down to the nitty gritty, then Bill Moyers with guests we might never have heard of who piqued our interest and once they got it they wouldn’t let us go and Bill there all the way asking the probing questions, the questions that even we would not have thought, or would have been afraid, to ask. So NOW is gone and Bill Moyers is gone. We have decended into the pits. I like Jon Meachum and I enjoyed seeing him on Jon Stewart. I KNOW he has a first class brain. I KNOW he can be incisive, ask probing questions and reach for even deeper insights. But I know now why I have largely lost interest in Newsweek also. Newsweek and Need to Know are tasting a lot like pablum. C’mon folks! Give us some GUSTO! Or is that GUTSO?