So I would like to take a virtual raise of hands to see how many of us have googled ‘sore nipples’ or ‘increasing milk supply’ on a random Thursday night at 11pm? What about ‘when will my baby sleep through the night?’
Sure, we are blessed to live in a time when we can go online to find information on anything, yet, how legitimate and correct is this information we stumble upon? If I search ‘sore nipples and breastfeeding’, I get over 327,000 hits… that is INSANE! That many people have written an article about sore nipples?
And the information overload doesn’t end there.
Oh, Facebook….how I love and hate you at the exact same time.
While I love seeing photos of my friends on Facebook, I also find myself feeling in competition with them for who is the BETTER mom. Who plans the best art projects? Who looks like she is the most relaxed? Who always looks like she is enjoying her role as mom? It can sometimes make me feel badly about myself.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think my favorite aspect of the Internet is the way in which we can share our personal stories. Personal stories are incredibly powerful. When I read stories about what other moms are dealing with, it can often put my current situation into perspective. I can relate to someone else, via the Internet, and feel like I actually know this woman, although I have never met her in real life. The connections and support are empowering!
Yet, sometimes I think the Internet is a little too much of a good thing. When my friends and clients are telling me about how they googled ‘reflux’ last night and now have 10 different diagnoses for their baby’s fussiness at the breast, I feel like their stress has elevated, rather than dissipated. Their main questions were never answered. Plus, while there is terrific parenting advice online, there is equally horrible, judgmental, and biased opinions that can really bring a mama down.
So what can an Information-Bombarded mom do to bring back her sanity?
This past week, I spent 4 days with my family, without Facebook and Google Reader. Instead, I hiked, reconnected with my kids and my siblings, cooked nutritious meals, sat and watched my kids go on a scavenger hunt in a garden for an hour, and actually read a REAL book! It was so therapeutic to purposefully ignore what everyone else was doing and what they were presently concerned about. It was all about my family instead.
My favorite ways to actively become more present:
- Turn off my computer and phone…. I can instantly be in the moment.
- Spend more time outside….even writing this article was more relaxing as I sat on my outside couch with my feet up, soaking in the sun and the rustling branches.
- Take photos with a real camera, rather than my phone. This way I can’t be interrupted by calls or emails.
- Bookmark my favorite sources of legitimate Internet information. This way I spend less time weeding out the crappy articles and just read the beneficial ones. For breastfeeding resources, I love Kellymom and Best for Babes.
- Hide my ‘perfect’ friends on FB. It has saved me hours of thinking aggravating thoughts now that I don’t have to read their posts every day.
- Find time to decompress every day. Parenthood, while rewarding, demands nonstop attention, which can really wear one down. Sneaking out to throw the ball to my dog or hiding in the garage while I do my laundry can help quiet my mind and my stress during the times I need it the most.
- Find those few friends who can truly relate to you and will offer non-judgmental advice.... or even better, just listen when you need them to.
- If at all possible, take a small vacation. While I try to decompress on a daily basis, I find that the stress of being a working mom just builds and builds until I explode. This short vacation, spending time in nature and eating great food, with little contact with the outside world, definitely helped me hit my ‘restart’ button.
- Find practitioners in my community that I trust. Rather than googling ‘thrush’ or ‘vaccines’ online, I have someone that I can contact personally and get a straight answer based on my personal situation. I recommend for my friends in other areas to check out ILCA's website for a list of qualified lactation consultants.
How about you? What would you add to this list?