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Internet saddo.

September 24, 2009

My name is ‘deeplyflawedbuttrying’. I am an internet saddo. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference…. (That was a bit of AA humour, in case it went way over your head..).

I read this thing the other month, that said that housewives and mothers were on the internet, more than pretty much any other demographic, and I am holding my hands up, I am one of those women. I use twitter, I manage my life through facebook, and I blog. There, I said it.

I have friends. Friends who I love dearly, friends with children, friends without children. I still retain who I am, and all that malarkey- but there is no getting away from it, if you want something that will mean that for a significant portion of your time, you will be locked away from the world. You have motherhood.

There are times when, as a parent, you can become invisible. This may sound melodramatic-but invisible is the only way to describe it. There is no job to ensure that you are seeing lots of adults, the physical requirements of parenting a young baby, mean that  the diurnal rythms that govern everyone elses life, have no relevance to yours. THere is noone to pop in at 5am when you are up. When you are tied to a chair feeding for hours at a time-nipping to your mates to see someone is really not an option. Any time after 6pm is written off, as its bathtime bedtime.

When you have a partner, you find yourself sucked into a tunnel, where only you, your partner, and your baby exist.  When there is just you, it can be a very lonely tunnel. After bedtime, when everyone elses evening is starting, you are in your house- you can’t leave. Not for the pint of milk you forgot to buy, or for a swift half. The hour or so of housework you need to do, once child is safely deposited in bed, means that actually, visitors arent that helpful- because you wont get chance to actually sit down and talk till 9-9.30. And there certainly isnt anyone about at 3am, when you have still not slept.Generally, if you have young children, many of your friends are in the same position.

Being a single parent is like being the walking embodiment of the age old question, about that tree that fell in the woods. If there are no witnesses to your existence, then do you exist at all?

The shared custody arrangement I have with my ex, means I get a lot of breaks from it, but I still spend a considerable portion of my time in that tunnel. And its a tunnel, where the constraints of actually sitting on the phone to have a conversation, are too demanding. Fuck, even maintaining a conversation on msn is too much commitment. And this, is where my saddo internet habit comes in.

Many of my friends are in exactly the same position as I. They cant sit and talk on the phone- most of them have two or three(some mentalists have 4-5) equivalents of Rachel, tugging on their sleeves. And here is where facebook and twitter, come in.

Facebook and twitter mean that each of us, in our little tunnels, have a link to everyone else.  A link that doesnt require you packing the upteen things that an outing with a child needs, or require you to sit and ignore your child, while you speak to your friends. Through facebook we can talk through the day, stopping to check who is saying what. When I couldn’t get Rachel to take her medicine, a facebook status led to a 37 comment discussion, which resulted in a pharmaceutical sales rep friend of mine, finding out that I couldnt freeze it, but I could set it in Jelly. A facebook status update that I was ill, and having a shit day, resulted in a mate turning up, and taking Rachel out so I could rest.

So for as long as I am a parent, my laptop sits open in the corner of whichever room we are in. I stop what I am doing to check facebook, I scream on twitter- and I occasionally upchuck on this blog.

I am an internet saddo-but without the internet, I might go nuts. So I am an internet saddo and proud. To all those overwritten articles, dissing social networking as self indulgent,  the thing that is killing communication. Fuck off.  Social networking means that all the houses, with me and my friends, at the mercy of young children, in our isolation, have a link. A link that we can use, while continuing to do what needs doing. A link that prevents our invisibility on the days when its just not practical to see another adult.

Cool it may not be, necessary it is. I dont have a telly, but my laptop, and my radio, keep me sane and visible.

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One comment

  1. I got here from your guest post at Feminazery. This is a great post. I don’t have kids but i adore the feeling of connectivity to folks all over the world, and sometimes closer to home, that I have via the internet. I have had brilliant analytical discussions with folks online, and also stupid inane ones. It’s the only place I can discuss and disect my hobbies (comics) with people. I’ve made godo rl friends via the net.

    Online chatting is a bloody boon to modern communications.



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