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August 12, 2008

We Web 2.0 Moms Have It Easy

Buyingonline A few nights ago, I was up late watching the Olympics and reading through email. I checked the latest digest of emails from my neighborhood listserv, and came across a posting from a mom looking for neighborhood kids to join her son’s soccer team (we’re talking 4-5 year olds, so I use the word “team” loosely) on Wednesdays this fall.

Score! I’ve been wanting to sign my girls up for soccer, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. I emailed the woman who posted, she wrote me back about 10 minutes later (yes, this was 11:45 on a Saturday night), and by midnight the deal was done. All I have to do now is send the check.

My generation of moms has it easy. Think about it: we can do all sorts of things, at all sorts of hours, that our mothers couldn’t. Whether they worked outside the home or not – or whether we work outside the home or not – technology has made our lives a lot easier, and, I suspect, less isolated. Need fall clothes for the kids? Our moms had to squeeze in trips to the store, with squirming kids in tow, whenever their schedule permitted. Me? I go online to Old Navy at all hours of the night when the sales come along, and stock up on whatever we need. Signing kids up for activities? No waiting in line or calling on the phone – I go online to get the girls into gymnastics or ballet classes.

Think about this too – I stay in touch with my friends, those with and without kids – any number of ways, no matter where I am – via cell phone, email, texting, blogging, and occasionally in person. My Blackberry – for good or for bad – makes me instantly reachable to anyone looking for me. I bet my mom had to wait until after we were in bed so she could call her friends or take care of other personal stuff.

The list goes on… Plane tickets? Can you imagine spending your days calling the airlines and comparing fares, instead of just going to Orbitz? Sharing photos with the grandparents by going back to the drugstore and painstakingly filling out those reprint forms? And how about the connectivity that Web 2.0 gives us? When my twins were about 7 months old, I panicked – I just couldn’t figure out how to bathe these two squirmy creatures at the same time without endangering their lives. Off I went to my local Parents of Multiples Club message board, and I had 5 suggestions from veteran twin moms by the morning. (Angelina – if you need some advice, I’m here for you.) For me, my laptop has taking some of the guesswork, the insecurity, and the loneliness out of mothering.

On balance, I feel very lucky to be mothering right now. Of course, my daughters may look back at their childhoods someday and wonder how I managed under these circumstances. But I guess that’s how it always is.

Gayle blogs about books at Everyday I Write The Book.

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