How Social Media became my third child!
It was when I read in my 5 year old’s English book that ‘My Daddy goes to work in an office and my Mummy does the laundry’ that I realised something had to be done, as I was slowly losing my mind in amongst it.
Pre-children I had a thriving career in Public Relations for one of the world’s biggest brand companies — I travelled, I networked, I lunched and worked pretty hard. It was fun, engaging and challenging and then I swiftly became a trailing spouse and a mother within the space of 18 months, which was fun, engaging and challenging in a whole lot of other ways. Mostly involving removal trucks, lots of cardboard boxes and swiftly followed an international move and baby number 2.
Eventually my laundry pile and I landed back in rural Leicestershire and it was bigger than ever, so I decided that I’d have a trial re-entry into the work place and took a short-term contract. Whilst I loved elements of being back in a busy office, I had a totally incompatible commute, a mostly absent husband and 2 irritable children so went straight back to square one. It was then one day when I went onto the fabulous Selfish Mother blogzine, just to buy a sweatshirt, that I saw an article and instead I started the adoption process for my third child — Social Media Baby!
Social Media Baby was a bit like real life children numbers 1 and 2 — the instruction manual (see Moodle course) offered advice and suggestions but you really have to have a go and work it out for yourself. Frustratingly sometimes it also didn’t do as you planned it to — like a napping schedule gone wrong and others you totally lucked out and it surprised you….bit like that first smile when you’re almost ready to chuck in the whole motherhood thing.
Like a real life newborn, Social Media Baby will mean you get less sleep, sometimes you have to stay up late to finish an assignment, or wake up early to send that funny GIF that so totally fits with the day! You’ll get those moments when you wake up in the pitch black middle of the night with anxiety over why it’s not going as the training suggested it would even though you have it on the Digital Mums Contented Little Social Media Strategy Plan!
You also do need to be careful not to get too isolated at home alone with Social Media Baby, it’s very important to speak to grown ups too. The great thing is that you don’t need to actually get out of your PJs and go to sing nursery rhymes in a drafty old village hall. Oh no, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home with the power of What’s App, Google +, Hangouts and Skype you can have your very own NCT style coffee morning, or more like evening cocktail hour in our case, with your co-hort. Kylie, Marti, Claire, Jess and Beth gave great advice, encouragement and lots of laughter!
Your husband or partner will probably tolerate the new addition stealing away your attention from actually having a conversation with him by sighing, and when you’ve have a really bad day offer a selection of slightly annoying (but well meant) solutions based suggestions when actually all you want is a hug and a glass of wine.
Your children, on the other hand, may despise it for a short time — they’d definitely like to give it a good pinch for taking up so much of Mummy’s time and attention. They also see that this new sibling has it’s benefits, who knew that so many episodes of ‘The Next Step’ had ever been made, that you could reach the international finals of Dream League Soccer on the iPad or that there are so many delicious orange bread crumb coated foods in existence (Mummy is not so proud of these learnings!!).
Like parenting though, when you see your baby achieve things, even those little baby steps, the rewards are amazing. When you get your first retweet, when your key influencer target actually has a conversation with you, when you finally get your head round Facebook insights, all the moments of despair and frustration (Facebook I’m looking at you) are really worth it.
The moment your programme partner gives you the platform sign ons and says off you go (Thank You for trusting me Kit Chong of Freauty.com — The uber for hair and beauty professionals in London) it’s like the moment you stand at the doors to the hospital ward with a baby in the shiny new car seat, a new chapter of life has begun. You muddle through the first few weeks, parenting manual, or in this case Moodle course in hand, and through trial and error it starts to work! At each stage you achieve something and so your confidence builds and then suddenly you have that moment where you’re like ‘I’m in a routine and this is how life is now”.
So things have settled down since the bumpy introduction of Social Media Baby into our family, it has found it’s place and it’s routine, it took a while and it wasn’t easy but we’ve all learnt that it fits into our family life, that mummy is a happier person as a result of using her brain for pondering something more than whether yellow counts as a light or dark wash item (anyone?).
One thing is for sure, there is much potential for Social Media Baby to grow and grow, the first 20 weeks are about survival of the fittest, the weeks, months and years beyond are down to mummy!.