“Seriously, what are you looking at? Who are you talking to?”
“No one. I’m just on Facebook.”
“Facebook, Instagram. You’re always on there. I don’t see what could possibly be so entertaining.”
It’s true. I’m on my phone quite a bit. And in talking to my other mommy friends, so are they. In fact, I can see that they’re active on Facebook right now, or how long they’ve been inactive. I can tell that they were up with the baby at 4am or that it’s dinner time because social media is radio silence. So why are moms on their phones all the time? What exactly is your wife doing as she stares into that bright screen?
It Takes a Village
There is an old saying that says it takes a village to raise a family. But now a family’s village is spread all over the country and other villagers have their own children to take to soccer practice and ballet. So where do we find our village nowadays? Online.
Now when we need parenting advice we turn to our Facebook friends. Our mommy groups are a one-stop shop of advice, tips, and answers to “What do you think this rash is from?” Even at 2am when we wish we could be snug in our beds we are typing away on our phones, looking for answers as to why our kids never sleep and laughing at memes that remind us that we are not alone on this parenting journey.
So why, do you ask, is your wife always on her phone? Because that’s where she finds her village. A camaraderie of other like-minded moms and wives who are trying to figure out the best way to parent, looking for new recipes to try, and ways to manage their time better. Moms who are looking for ways to remember that they are more than “just mom”- they are women who love fashion, beauty, fitness, and cheesy romantic comedies. They are moms who are trying desperately to connect to other moms. And even in our current world of over-share, over-connected, and over-screened, us moms can feel more disconnected from others than ever.
We crave personal interaction with others. Whether we are staying at home all day with the kids or we are working, we rarely have a break from being a parent. That is a 24/7 gig that doesn’t let up. And we have only been parents for as long as our oldest one has been alive; quite frankly, we are all just winging it. So we turn to the best place we know to get answers from people we trust (or at least strangers that might give us an idea to Google) – online.
To be honest though, is this interaction between wives and mothers all that different than it has been in the past?
A Blast from the Past
You’ve seen it in movies – a mom in the 1970’s on her house phone with a cigarette in hand, talking to Miss Judy down the road. Or maybe a group of moms from the 1950’s with their hair perfectly done playing BUNCO and drinking wine one evening. But modern day mothers are a far cry from what motherhood looked like in past generations.
We live in a society of constant motion. Every minute of our day is, or is expected to be, filled with things to do. Mothers often find themselves shuffling between school drop offs, appointments, errands, school pick-ups, play dates, and homework help. Nowadays mom are always with their kids – if they aren’t at school, we are expected to be with them. No longer can we tell them to go play outside after school until the lights come on in the street. Now they have homework and practice which takes them far into the night. Even on the weekends there are games to attend and errands to run.
In addition to this, the face of motherhood has changed for many families. Many moms are now working moms, giving us even less time to dedicate to ourselves or to making friendships, and we definitely don’t have the time to sit and chat on a regular basis. No matter if you are a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, one thing is true: moms are busy. We are expected to do it all – keep a clean house, make home-cooked meals, shuffle our kids to a thousand activities – all with a smile on our face.
Kids need a lot, and our families are demanding (in a good way). With all of these factors together, when do moms actually get time to interact with other moms? When do we get to develop real friendships where we can show up at their door to have the kids play without creating a Pinterest-worthy play date? Where do moms go to find their village that was once at BUNCO night or on the phone with Miss Judy? We head to our virtual village of forums, chat groups, and mommy blogs.
An easy and efficient way to connect is online. And that’s what we need these days – efficiency. We can ask crazy questions, vent about our kids spilling juice all over the brand new carpet, and ask advice about how to quell slamming doors and teenage hormones. We still need the help and advice that we used to get from family and neighbors, but now our families live thousands of miles away and we don’t know our neighbors. We still need to connect with others. So maybe our village doesn’t look the same as previous generations. But in the end our village is still there; it’s just moved to the little device in our hands.
Despite the changing tides of society’s view of motherhood, one thing has remained the same: we still need our village. It’s become apparent that in this day and age, we no longer have a physical village because it is thought that we don’t need it. We are EXPECTED to do it all without anyone’s help, but most moms will tell you that they need a little help sometimes even if that help comes in the form of a virtual hug or a sweet text from a friend. So next time you’re wondering what your wife is doing on her phone, you’ll know that she’s probably asking how to get her husband to understand why she’s so tired.