by Lela Demeter
Tonight my son sleeps for the first time in his big boy bed. Obviously pictures were taken, grandma was called, and parents looked at each other in dismay as this evening shuffled in a brave new world in bedtime parenting. And finally, as my son slept, I updated my status in Facebook -
“My toddler is officially without borders. The crib is now a toddler bed. I will be making the sweep of his room in an hour to see where he finally curled up to go to sleep. Hopefully it will be in his bed.”
I used to be the person who hoped that when I had children I would sagely inscribe every moment, every milestone in a beautiful album that my son would lovingly reflect on when he is in his elder years, after his father and I are gone. I thought I would be the mom like my mom is – who saved seemingly every shred of paper, every picture and most of the trophies from my childhood, even after a house fire gutted the family home (everything save my ACT scores and the diary I kept when I met my husband). My mom has saved my wedding invitations and my son’s baby announcements. I assumed, just like with most parenting things, I would be just like my mom.
But, my mom also didn’t get to have a personal trainer standing ready at all hours in her living room (my Nintendo Wii and EA Sports) and she didn’t have an iPod to play symphonic rock songs to her infant either. And she definitely didn’t have Facebook.
Now Facebook has come under fire from the public, mostly in regards to privacy. But, as a mom I have found it invaluable. I joined when my son was six months old. And while I suffered from a short addition to Farmville and Mafia Wars, I found solace in the company that social networking brings. The irony of feeling like part of a community while sitting alone at a computer is apparent.
The reality of my Facebook experience is that whenever my darling boy ever had an issue, whether it be teething or sneezing or any other interesting malady I felt too ashamed to call my pediatrician with (I didn’t want to be THAT mom) I would post it on Facebook. Nothing too TMI, but just something like, “Where do I go for cheap family pictures?” or “What can I give him for a stuffy nose?” and within seconds my knowledge base, comprised of high school friends, work friends, and extended family would chime in with support and good advice.
Sharing my son’s life is also easier with Facebook. To date I have 20 albums and three videos posted. I try to keep the albums short and try not to put anything way too weird or personal in them, and I do exclude people who are friends but may not be interested in my little darling’s attempt to turn off the kitchen lights. But, to be able to share photos and videos with everyone all at once makes my son’s life something I can share with more people than just a few Polaroids at Christmas can do.
I try to keep up with his baby book. I really do. But maybe one day, my son will post a video of me with my grandkids and my far flung friends can be a part of their lives too.