A news story today stated that ‘Motherhood turns women into compulsive Facebook followers, according to a study that has found their use of the social networking site increases after childbirth.’
Researchers at Ohio State University in the US said the survey found that almost half (44 per cent) of mothers said they used Facebook more after giving birth than before. Mothers were also more likely to visit the site daily, with 48 per cent doing so, compared with 44 per cent of fathers. Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, associate professor of human development, said: “Given all the stress that new parents are under and everything they have to manage, it wouldn’t have been surprising if we had found a decrease in Facebook usage – but that’s not what we found.”
However, I don’t find these results surprising at all! Yes as mums we are stressed and tired but yes we are also still women and women crave socialisation. In fact in the absence of being able (physically or mentally) to get out of the house in the first weeks and months of motherhood Facebook and other social networking sites can be something of a lifeline. It is sometimes the only way to feel in touch with friends we aren’t able to see and to find out what is going on in everyone else’s world thus giving a healthy perspective on perhaps the tiring or mundane routine of our own as we get to grips with motherhood.
Also in an increasingly isolated society where many women may not have their family close at hand and friends may be at work Facebook and other sites can be an important link to the outside world while on maternity leave in particular.
The fact that Facebook and other such sites are available 24/7 it means we can choose when to socialise – even if it’s during the 2am feed! There will always be someone up somewhere in the world or perhaps a fellow breastfeeding mum. Furthermore, you don’t even have to get out of your pyjamas!!
The success of social network sites such as Mumsnet have proved how mums crave this contact, support and encouragement – not to mention access to advice and sympathy.
Facebook and BabyCentre were a great point of contact and socialisation for me as a new and first time mum and they were one of the few things that helped me still feel sane and still like a ‘woman’ underneath all the baby poo and sick (sorry!)
I really don’t think a survey was need to prove the popularity and validity of Facebook for mums – just ask any mum.
What are some of your favourite social networking sites and why?