By Dresden Engle
“You’re a wonderful mother.”
That was the simple note recently written on my Facebook page from a friend and former co-worker. She was referencing a photo of my 7-year-old daughter watching what was billed as “The World’s Largest Cups Event” at a local amusement park (explanation of “cups” is at the end).
I had “Facebooked” (a new verb) the photo of my daughter in real time. Twas an easy task with a smartphone, posting it within seconds with a quick caption noting where we were and what we were watching.
It was if that friend who called me “wonderful” could see me standing there, the only mom in the crowd of hundreds clutching a shiny black purse and wearing a fancy black, summer dress sweeping the ground. Other moms were in shorts and tank tops or post-waterpark bathing suit covers. Yep, I stuck out like a 9 to 5 thumb, having had dressed for a day full of meetings.
But I was there, by my daughter's request, hitting the park located north of the city, in between summer camp, making dinner and attending a play at 7:30, for which I was now sure to be late.
Alas, my Facebook-posting friend did not have a crystal ball nor was she seeing me via Facetime. She just knew, being a working mom herself.
Moms Sticking Together – Even in Cyberspace
Funny how those four words made me feel good. My daughter’s smile was affirmation enough that this silly jaunt was worth it (and playing Skee Ball afterward with her in the boardwalk-style arcade was icing on the cotton candy).
And then I got to thinking… about how much support we women give each other via social media. One thought I had was of my 30-something bestie who recently ended a 13-year relationship and was devastated by how her fiancé made the break so abruptly. But she is cheered up daily by little pink hearts dotting her Facebook page and friends posting how beautiful and fabulous she is.
Another friend who has a child with a disability writes on Facebook of her daughter’s triumphs (such as a first-ever sleepover being a success) and we are cheering right along with her. And we tell her so… in a few simple words that ultimately mean so much.
Social Calls Made via Tweeting, Liking, and Pinning
Now this gal-pal lovefest does take some effort. When you are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social platforms, and you like a post or a photo, let that friend or colleague know it. You can click “Like” or “Favorite” or make a comment.
I spend about 30 minutes a day on the social side of social media, even if personal life and business life are often meshed. I scroll Twitter mainly for news, since I follow news outlets near and far (along the way stopping to retweet and “favorite” a tweet or two that moves me) and on LinkedIn I endorse business colleagues for various areas of expertise and congratulate them on work milestones. And while Facebook is also a work tool for me — with several platforms to manage since I’m in the PR business — it is also my downtime fun, seeing pix of sorority sisters’ adorable children and hearing about the latest happenings in friends’ and acquaintances’ lives.
Now, try not to think of this social connecting as “work” but rather putting in an effort to engage with others, offering smiles and encouragement and information via your words and actions.
Wow, what a world we live in today. Think about it: in Jane Austen’s day (200 years ago) you had to put in a huge effort to make a social call… enduring several muddy carriage rides and luggage filled with corseted gowns. All we have to do in 2013 is click the on some words and icons and perhaps type a few words — sans corset and possibly pajama clad — to let our friends know we are thinking about them.
One of my goals for today: to tell at least one mom that she’s “wonderful” … for all her online friends and followers to see (and agree).
* By “cups” I mean the trendy hand-eye coordination game done to the song “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” … there are a zillion videos on YouTube if you want to see it in action, as well as hear the original 1937 version of the song.
Dresden Engle is an award-winning communications professional with 25 years experience working in journalism and public relations and with social media. She is also a comedian and has learned that weaving humor into all situations makes communication and life more enjoyable for all involved. She is an adjunct college professor and recently started her own company, Dresden Public Relations Inc., to be a more-present mom for her two first-grade daughters. One is adopted, one has cerebral palsy, both are beautiful and extraordinary, and life at her house is a fabulous adventure. Dresden laughs out loud when friends ask, “So, what do you do at home all day long?” They (and you) can learn more at www.dresdenpr.com.