Stressed From the Support of it All
I have been cuddled up with some new data this evening. Thank you HANS VILLARICA for the great company. I have been turning over and again numbers reported in today’s Atlantic which considers how much time new parents spend on line. The sample size was relatively small 154 mothers and 150 fathers. The data attempted to make sense of how the time spent on-line, and in specific on Facebook, impacted their self-described success as new parents. According to the article - New moms increase their use of Facebook after giving birth, and their online activity may influence how well they adjust to parenthood.
Yes, new parents seek out communities (old school, tribal nurture and care if you will) on line. This is true. But here is the bit of the data that needs more focus — the more time these women actually spend on line the less happy they report feeling. So what is this fine line between stress and support — or really, where is it? Is there a magic number of hours spent on line? Is it about passive exposure versus active information seeking? It is about the composition of the community or the quantity of it? Is it some hard to compute formula of internal and external factors – the equation of which is still nebulous?
Hint: there is no right answer.
One could argue that we need to help women back away from their digital parenting a bit — perhaps take a break from getting it right and focus on getting to just get enough insight and connection to feel fed, seen and successful. We could encourage some delayed start program to the Mommy Wars (how though, this predates the birth and the bump) or a delay in game? But that is likely not on the horizon. In fact, I would predict just the opposite - and in short order.
Leaving us where?
Responsible (to a degree).
Forty Weeks wisdom goes something like this (if you are a client, forgive me, you’ve heard this mantra before): The building of on-line communities that feel supportive, nurturing accepting, open, honest and easy to access are the responsibility of the brand. Setting the tone, holding the line and raising the bar – also the responsibility of the brand. Be the brand a publisher or a manufacturer – the onus is the same. And while the shiny attraction of being the hub of a new mother’s life is alluring, for sure, the abuse of that that privilege will never go unnoticed (did I mention how savvy new mothers on line are?).
And so while we know that if you build it, they will come. I urge that you please pay careful attention to the larger impact of these communities and please proceed to build with care. Consider it your investment in the next generation of Moms.