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Too Much of a Good Thing Does Exist When It Comes To Parenting via the Internet

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When it comes to being a mom I love technology! I love having answers to questions and information right at my fingertips.

The baby had colic, I could look up remedies to bring comfort and relief to my little peanut.

I was struggling with breastfeeding, internet to the rescue! Resources galore, communities of moms just like me, and endless support.

How do you break your baby from the paci? How do you start potty training? Is this normal? Is that supposed to happen? All my burning questions had corresponding answers.

Thanks to the internet I was introduced to so many inspiring moms, I can reconnect with friends, and stay connected with family.

It really is a glorious and wonderful thing… until, it isn’t.  

At times I find myself relying too heavily on the internet instead of letting my maternal instincts take over. Half of the time I bet I could answer my own questions by trusting my intuition instead of jumping online to see what the “experts” have to say.

Ah, the “experts.” You’ve got a blog? You have an opinion? BAM! You are now an expert! Now I know most bloggers and people with a presence on the internet have proper disclaimers in place stating that they are just sharing their opinions or experiences and to take their information for what it’s worth. But if I’m frantically looking something up at 2am with an infant screaming in agony in my arms trying to find something to soothe her, am I really going to take the time to look at disclaimers?!?

Then there are the feelings you can get from the internet. Yup! The internet is not only a purveyor of helpful information but it is also a one-way ticket to guilt-town.  As you click “load more pins,” or as you see your Facebook friend’s perfect life strewn across your screen, as you see the flawless photos all the “photographers” on Instagram post, are you genuinely saying to yourself “good for them!” C’mon… you can tell me. You’re secretly saying I want, I wish, if only… 

AmIright?!?

Then there is the other kind of guilt. The guilt you feel after reading an article in a magazine that XYZ is bad for your kid. What do you do next? You GOOGLE it. You now have link after link of information to the tune of “blah, blah, blah, like feeding poison to your baby, blah, blah, blah.” Your eyes increase in size and there’s steam blowing out your ears.

You realize you’ve been giving you child said “poison” for months and you’re now frantically on the phone with your husband and you are both saying how awful you feel that you didn’t know! Cue frantic call to the pediatrician who has no idea what you are talking about and who takes the time to calm you down and explain everything rationally to you and after you hang up with them you finally realize you aren’t the world’s worst parent after all.

My point is, too much of a good thing turns out to be not so good. There is too much information out there for parents these days. A lot of it is good, but a lot of it is nonsense, non-reputable, and can lead you down a stressful and unfulfilling path.

So how should you navigate the internet as a mom? Here are my tips! (Disclaimer: I am not an expert.)

  1. First of all, calm down. Ask yourself if what you are about to frantically look up online is really necessary or if you could just take a second to think through this issue on your own. If you can, pat yourself on the back. If you truly can’t, continue on…
  2. If you search for something medical online pay careful attention to the source. If you find yourself getting information from a blog, did they do their research? Are there links to sites where they gathered their information? Are the sites reputable? Or is it just a diatribe with no concrete evidence?
  3. Don’t fall for the facades. Don’t let yourself ever feel “less than” from all the social sites on the internet. When it comes to social sites we are all guilty of putting our best selves on display. We only post photos taken from the right angles during our happiest day ever, having the most fun ever because we want to show the world how lovely and happy we are. We all do it. Enjoy it, have fun with it, but remember… it is nothing more than a façade.
  4. Talk to people. Yeah! Real human beings have information too! Ask other moms questions, call your Pediatrician or make an appointment with a specialist if you need to. The internet is great but it can never replace the power of human connection.

How do you handle the abundance of information you find on the great wide web? What tips do you have for moms navigating through it all?

 Kendra is a full-time working mom to a precocious three year old boy, a head-strong one year old girl and wife to her long-time sweetheart. At “My Full-Thyme Life (http://myfullthymelife.blogspot.com) she writes about how she attempts to balance her cherished roles and all the fun (and chaos) along the way. 

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