A year ago, during the third day of my unimaginably long labor, I wondered whether I would survive to see this day: my daughter’s first birthday.
As the nurse finally wrapped that tiny, helpless newborn in a blanket and handed her to us, we watched the nurse walk away as we worried about how we were going to help this little creature transition into a moving, exploring person. As if the nurse had read my mind, she turned around to say, “Don’t worry, motherhood is natural. You will figure it out. Human beings have been doing this since the cave ages.”
Yes, true — but didn’t cave people have family around to help? And could we really assume that human beings had been parenting correctly for millions of years? Wouldn’t bad parenting explain a lot of evil behavior in the world? What if we fail in disciplining our child, what if we are not able to serve as good role models, and, worst of all, what if we cannot get this whole breastfeeding thing right and she starves or we manage to overfeed her via the bottle? What if we drop her during her bath? What if…
Before releasing us from the hospital, my OB/GYN stopped by to stress the importance of having my mother around to help when I arrived home. When I told her this was not possible, she replied, “Then find a support system somewhere,” wrote down the names of support groups, and handed the paper to me. I looked down and saw a bunch of parenting groups that were mostly hosted on Yahoo! Groups. Then it hit me — my husband and I had access to a resource previous generations did not have access to: online resources like Yahoo! Groups, which facilitated parenting communities both offline and online.
For more than a decade we have benefited from a number of online tools. It began in 1978 with bulletin board systems (BBSs) that had dial-up modems and flashing lights; evolved into Usenet newsgroups and all of the alt.* discussion forums; then into Majordomo mailing lists; and finally into user-friendly online communities such as Yahoo! Answers and Yahoo! Groups, which are full of fun, rich features.
Community development has prevailed on the otherwise “bad reputation” Internet, and we have been able to tap into the kindness of our fellow parents’ knowledge. You can post your questions and receive immediate guidance, support, and, most of all, benevolence.
Did you know that currently there are more than 81854 groups formed around parenting on Yahoo! Groups? There is a group to meet virtually any type of need. If you are a single parent, you no longer have to feel alone — there are groups such as Single Parents.
If you are having a difficult time becoming a parent and are considering adoption, there are groups such as adoption parenting.
If you are in a mixed marriage and considering raising your children bilingual, you can find answers to your questions on groups such as Multilingual Munchkin.
I would like to take a moment to thank all those parents that have participated on the numerous parenting-related Yahoo! Groups and shared their wisdom and support.
What was the most useful piece of parenting advice you ever received, and would you give that same advice to future parents? Have you formed or belonged to a Yahoo! Group that has made a positive impact on your life? Don’t be shy — share your story with us. You can either leave a comment or be our next Guest Blogger.