Back in the golden, olden days, neighbourhood moms could share advice over the fence while their kids played in the yard. It sounds kind of quaint to us frenzied mothers of the new millennium -- but really, what a perfect way to get the inside scoop on everything from recipes for fussy eaters, to products to improve family life and even how to rev up your sex life. For lots of women, learning the tricks of the motherhood trade was as easy to access as walking next door.
Fast-forward to 2007 when multi-tasking moms barely know their neighbours' names, let alone have time to chat with them about their family woes. You'd think the women of today wouldn't have a clue how to raise kids if it weren't for an invention that's not only changed society itself, but also how moms swap information on the art of parenting.
No drum roll necessary; we're all well acquainted with the Internet -- but what may come as a surprise is how integral the web has become to the lives of so many mothers in Canada. Apart from googling "earache cures" at 2 a.m., there's also a whole new wave of online resources that have cropped up within the past couple of years specifically targeted at Canadian moms.
There are e-newsletters like SavvyMom.Ca, Babyvibe.ca or Sweetmama.ca, and blogs like Urbanmoms.ca. There are directories for parents like CanadianBabies.ca, and social networking sites such as Mommyclub.ca or Calgarymoms.ca. Even minor celebrities like former VJ Erica Ehm are getting in on the mom-online bandwagon with her website YummyMummyClub.ca.
Most of these businesses -- with their cutesy-pie names -- sell advertising space, but are free to users.
Now moms don't even have to go out the door to get answers to burning parenting questions. Endless information is available at their BlackBerry-poised fingertips. The question is, what's behind this techie trend?
Sarah Morgenstern has some thoughts on this. She's the co-founder and publisher of the Toronto based online e-newsletter SavvyMom.ca that targets moms with kids from newborns to eight years of age.
"Moms have always -- probably back to caveman days -- had that inclination of sharing and getting together with other moms and swapping tips," explains Morgenstern, whose independent newsletter was the first of its kind in Canada and now, after almost two years, has 13,000 subscribers.
For many moms, work got in the way of that sisterhood of sharing, postulates Morgenstern. Now our hectic lives are to blame for the lack of time moms have to swap tips face to face.
"Now, whether you work or not, whether you're at home with a newborn and can't get out of the house, the Internet is allowing that conversation to happen . . . and you can get at it in the middle of the night," says Morgenstern who herself is a mother of three. "That trusted advice from mothers who have been there before is key."
Logo from SavvyMom.ca.