Hands up, I’m on Facebook a LOT. And yes, I do have to look at it for work purposes but I love looking at it in my own time, too.
And I’ve been noticing lately – as you might have too – all these mum bloggers and journalists saying they’ve given up Facebook and it’s, like, totally the best thing they ever did as a parent.
They say your real friends will take time to see you in real life, so you won’t need Facebook. Or that being glued to Facebook all the time means you ignore your kids. Or that seeing other mums’ picture-perfect Facebook versions of family life will destroy your confidence and make you depressed.
And I get all that. To a point. But you know what? There are reasons it’s hard to see some of your real mates – or family, for that matter. And I couldn’t ignore my daughter if I tried. And, tbh, none of my friends has a life that’s so picture-perfect, I’d actually feel sad when her name pops up in my feed.
So, I’m sticking with Facebook. And, actually, I think it makes me a better mum in many ways. Here’s why:
1. It keeps my family connected
Guess what? I do have real friends and family but they don’t all live a stone’s throw away. In fact, 2 of my siblings live in LA, and all of my husband’s family live in Ireland.
They’re definitely real friends but we simply don’t get to see them and their kids very often. End of.
But Facebook allows my daughter to see what her 8 cousins all over the world are up to on a day-by day-basis; how they’re growing and the different things they’re into. And for that reason alone, I LOVE it.
2. It makes me happy
Ever get a day when it all goes wrong? A sleepless night followed by a mum-hair morning and a day from hell either at home with the baby or out at work before a chaotic bedtime.
Place to go? Facebook, where, before you know it, you’ll find a cat dressed as a shark on a Hoover or a toddler putting his dad on the naughty step. Suddenly, the day moves up a happiness gear.
And happy mums are better mums, surely?
3. I realise I’m not ACTUALLY a crap mum
Facebook is a brilliant leveller. We mums are actually a pretty honest bunch. So when you see a post from a mum who says she’s on her phone most of the time her child’s in the soft-play centre, or another who’s snapped a pic of her kids having (shock horror!) fast food, I’m like, yes! Other people do that, too!
And it stops me dwelling on all the things I think I’m doing wrong as a mum. Let’s face it, neither me nor my daughter need that, right?
4. It helps me remember stuff
Facebook is a great way of making sure you’re know what’s happening in the world – and in the school world, in particular.
There’s NO WAY I’m going to miss World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day or the fact it’s half-term in x amount of weeks because, as soon as they’re about to come up, I hear all about them on my news feeds non-stop. And that’s GREAT for scatter-brain mums like me.
5. I get – and share – great safety tips
Very often, I find that mum mates have shared important bits of safety info which are really good reminders for me – or, sometimes, I’ll find out stuff I didn’t even know anything about in the first place. Facebook is great place for parents to get safety tips, I reckon.
6. It’s something I do with my daughter
Yes, I go to the park with her, take her to ride her bike, read with her, swim with her, dance with her and cook with her. But, sometimes, I sit on the sofa with her and scroll through Facebook.
I’ll show her a funny video someone’s posted, or the latest photos of her cousins. It often starts a conversation about family: what they do, what they’re up to and when we’re going to see them next. And I think that’s pretty cool.
7. It inspires me to plan cool family stuff
I love seeing what friends are up to on days out with their children. They share pics of parks or other places they’ve gone to (often places that I wouldn’t have thought about), or they post about books they’re reading or crafts they’ve done – rarely anything fancy, but do-able and fun looking.
For example, a friend shared photos of her little one’s festival-themed birthday party and I loved the idea so much, I went and did it for my girl, too (after all, imitation is the best form of flattery, right?).
8. It’s an online diary of things we’ve done together
We do print out the odd picture and put it on the wall, but what I really like about Facebook is that it acts as a diary I can look through when I want to remember all those things we’ve done as as family over the last few months and, eventually, years.
It’s the modern photo album – except that it’s much less time-consuming, and I have it with me at all times to look at or share with friends when I’m out.
9. It gives me a platform to share proud moments
Yes, I’m a mum and, yes, like most mums out there, I LOVE sharing when my child does stuff I’m proud of.
The first time she ate baby rice, it went on Facebook, as did her first trip to Ikea, her first day at school and the first time she won her class superstar trophy. Why not? And I love seeing my friends pics like this, too.
10. It makes me grateful
For all the lovely parenting stories that get shared on social media, there are some real heartbreakers, too.
Parents sharing stories of how their children have become ill, or even died, or women bearing all about their long, hard struggle to conceive or carry a baby to full-term: all of these make me want to grab my little girl and hug her like mad. Yes, Facebook reminds me every day to be thankful for every minute I have as a mum.