As a mom, the hardest lesson I’ve learned so far is that Google is not my friend.
I’m of a generation that trusted our teachers and our textbooks to teach us everything. In fact, I only remember questioning the information my teacher presented one time. I was in third grade and I checked out the ‘P’ encyclopedia.
I stumbled upon an entry on Plymouth Colony, and I boldly challenged my teacher's notion that the Pilgrims and Indians were the best of friends. After that, we were never allowed to check out encyclopedias again.
When I used Google for the first time, I was instantly hooked. I loved that you could quickly perform fact checks and challenge everything and everyone. So, admitting that Google is not a good friend for new moms was, and is, terribly hard for me.
In the early days of becoming a new parent, I was home alone on maternity leave, and I would look at my phone for hours.
My daughter would have a weird sounding hiccup and I’d seek medical advice from Google. This always ended in frantic calls to my mom, sister, husband, and sometimes even the pediatrician.
“Do you think it is Radical Yellow Canary Disease or a Western Resting Gumball Intolerance? Because this one kid had the same thing and his mom’s sister’s friend from high school told the author of this post about it.”
I am eternally thankful for family members who are required to love me no matter what.
I didn’t realize how much anxiety this was causing me until one day I was with a group of mom friends who all began to wonder aloud about their own children. Every time a new question or topic arose, someone could relate and would respond with, “Oh yeah! That’s completely normal. My child went through the same phase.”
It was refreshing to me to know that I’m not the only mom who worries, but it was also relieving to know that real people have lived through these things and survived.
Soon, rather than look to Google for the answers, I started to depend on my "Mom Network."
I asked moms in our own community, "What is a 'Mom Network,' and where did you find yours?"
I feel a mom network is a group of folks that you can seek parenting guidance from without the dreaded judgement. I have found mine in my neighborhood.
Megan Harrell, Project Accounting Supervisor, SAIC
I have found my mom network to be a large variety of different people from different places. We attend church and have some sweet moms there. We have made great friends where our kids attend school. I also have friends from my single days who are now moms. We even have a mom group text, and obviously through my job I meet an amazing amount of sweet moms.
Brandy Smith, Senior Vice President, Renasant Bank
My mom network is my big sister and my mother-in-law. Most of my friends do not have children yet.
Toni Eberhart, Executive Director, Urban Engine
To me, a “mom network” is a group of moms you can turn to for judgement-free advice and help. There is so much guilt associated with motherhood, so I think it’s really important to find a strong group of mom friends that can be your safe space when dealing with the emotional complexities of motherhood. It’s nice to have some positive affirmations when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing!
Anna Tincher, Anesthesiology Assistant Student at Emory University School of Medicine
In the beginning, it was mostly Facebook groups. Now my work friends provide the most insight, and just last week I started learning from my Leadership Huntsville Connect friends.