Guest: The Net – The Morse Code
Before I write this I should issue a caveat to explain this is not a review of the well-known 90s film starring Sandra Bullock (don’t tell me you’ve never seen it, saves the world with a floppy disk – well done Sandy), but actually networks, and the networks that we find ourselves in as new mums.
I’d be the first to admit that whilst I love my friends, as one by one over the years they started families the relationships we had with each other also started to change. I wasn’t ready for the commitment of having a child (children in my case, oh the irony) and whilst I always did the coos and “Awws” in the right place when introduced to the latest addition I didn’t experience an ache to start making one of our own. I think a lot of people, our families included as it transpired had just assumed that it wasn’t something we were going to do which fortunately relieved the pressure of ever having to answer the “Is it your turn next?” questions. But then suddenly it was my turn, and with twins it suddenly became obvious how important our relationships and networks really are.
Families and Friendships
In the early first sleep deprived, blurry weeks of having our twin girls I remember these friends, and our family rallying around to help us through the day. I remember quite vividly the first week that my husband went back to work after paternity leave and every day they made sure I had a visitor to make me coffee, hold one of the girls to help feed them, change them and rock them to sleep. I remember feeling so very tired but incredibly grateful that I had these people in my life and feeling bad that I wasn’t there for them in the same way when they became first time mothers. The advice, support and encouragement still continues, because let’s face it; nobody knows what they’re doing when they become a mum. The friendships continue and whilst they are different now because of course, I too am a mum, they are even more important to me as a result.
Then there are the other networks you suddenly build up as a result of being thrust into the “mother” spotlight. I have a great group of friends I met at parenting classes who have babies the same age as my twins and don’t mind if you ask really stupid questions at three in the morning because they’ve been wondering exactly the same thing. They don’t mind if you suggest meeting in random places for a coffee (Ikea is still my firm favourite- wide aisle heaven) because it’s the best place to manoeuvre the buggy, which you have semi-fondly nicknamed “The Truck”. They pick you up at your lowest points and celebrate with you at the highs, and their journey is also part of your journey. I know people who years later still have these friends, and that is nothing to be sniffed at.
But then there are the networks you find in the most unlikely of places. The networks found on social media, where people who seemingly have similar interests to you start “liking” your photos, then leaving comments, and slowly these networks begin to grow. You find more like minded people who build you up, who know what you’re going through and don’t judge your mistakes when you’re honest enough to admit them. If you scratch the surface hard enough, underneath all the glitz and glamour of celebrity and reality stars are a whole array of people searching out other like-minded people. It’s no surprise that the most popular groups/pages/collectives are built around parenting and coming together under that banner to support, encourage and praise each other. Recently I saw a post doing the rounds which described Instagram as “A place where people who barely/don’t know you show you mad love and respect. But the people who really do know you show you no love at all.” That really struck me, firstly because it’s often true and secondly because it says something about how we define what a friendship is in the wake of media platforms. I know from following some accounts on Instagram that they have formed real physical friendships with others who started off as mutual followers, who now meet regularly, talk, text and engage outside of the confines of their photo squares. Cynics would say those aren’t real friendships. I say friendship is however we choose to define it, and those relationships deserve to be celebrated just as much as ones made on a face-to-face basis.
The Power Of Networks
When I started blogging it wasn’t my physical friends I reached out to on where to start but our very own Foxfairy who gave me tips, pointers and encouraged me to go for it. She could have viewed me as the competition, and instead she gave me the push I needed. That’s the power of these networks we find ourselves in. As mothers, women, twin mamas and parents the networks we find ourselves in online are just as valuable, and deserve equal cultivation and celebration.
So I raise a glass to the women, men and parents who continue to grow this net I find myself in. May it lead to more years of support, encouragement and friendship. Cheers!
Fi can be found at: @themorsetwins
Blogging at: The Morse Code