As far as dads go I am pretty well plugged into the social media of the world, That is to say I have a website, I have a Facebook account and I have an Instagram account. Yep I am a regular Mark Zuckerberg……. Joking, but you get the idea. When I tell people about my online existence I get reactions of Shock, dismissal and everything in between. There are a lot of dads out there who are online. A quick search of daddy daughter songs on you tube brought up over 10,000 videos of dads singing songs about, for and too their daughters. So I know that I am not alone with my online presence. However, in the world of social media we dads are a mere drop in the ocean. The standard joke is that Facebook is for twenty something’s taking selfies and working out their next pub crawl. A five min stroll through Instagram shows this is far from the truth. SAHM or “Stay at home mums” to those not across online acronyms are the driving force behind social media.
They share war stories, pictures, tales and snippets of advice. Together they are more powerful than any large corporation, and they follow trends faster than One Direction’s fan base. Just on this, I am staying across all the latest boy bands so I will know what the hell my daughters are talking about when they inevitably start following them. If I can follow the lyrics and what they are singing about I’ll have half a chance of understanding my daughter, you know, when she is 6 and is telling me that (insert cool young boy band members name here) is dreamy and she is going to marry him. So back to the SAHM’s, when I hear this acronym I think of SAM’S or Surface to air missiles. Funny enough when you get a bunch of SAHM’s fired up about something and then released on social media the resulting damage is very similar and just as spectacular. The pressure they bring to bear on individuals, governments or businesses is impressive to say the least and if they want Cheetos to be brought back then by damn you better start getting it on the shelf or they will put you out of business faster than you can blink. Ok ok, this is a massive exaggeration but there is some truth to this.
When my daughter was a few weeks old we nearly lost her to reflux (failure to thrive). My wife not having any family to lean on and the hospital system a laughing stock for new mothers, she turned to a familiar place to get advice…… an online Facebook forum for new and second time around mums. A treasure chest of advice. Through the forums we found out about a certain drug that cures reflux but was not available in gel form in WA and only a handful of pharmacies in QLD made it. Through this online Facebook group we were able to get specific details about it and it along with other fantastic bits of advice helped save our daughters life. This was the power of SAHM’s. Now before I get propped up and burned at the stake, yes working mums also use social media, but purely because of the simple access on a mobile phone SAHM’s have a greater ability to post during the day when other SAHM’s are online as well.
This gets me thinking, what did mums do before the internet came about? Well, play groups I am sure would have been a lot more popular. They still do garner some support from SAHM’s as even the most seasoned mum needs a break from little Johnny trying to flush the pet hamster down the toilet for the 4th time this week. Despite Facebook’s appeal, Mums still need to get the young ones out of the house to stop either mum walking off down the street suitcase in hand or the little darlings being left out next to the letter box with a suitcase and a sign that reads “free to a good home”. I have seen a few meme’s on Facebook showing this very scenario. That and SAHM’s drinking wine……at 10am…….straight from the bottle……. The online SAHM forums are almost better than the Mums self-help websites. The forums are full of real life experience, everything from 200 different ways to toilet train your toddler, to how to make cookies that are healthy and your child won’t launch across the dining room. If you’re a mum with a child older than 5 you have life skills, and in the eyes of a mum with a newborn you’re a god. The internet just brings them together easier than the old days of going to play group. One place I noticed very quickly was an online haven, was at night in the SAHM forums. When all the new mums were up doing the 2 am feeds, thousands of mums across Australia were sitting quietly in a darkened room feeding away whilst phone in hand burning up the gigabytes on Facebook. It is almost a secret society.
As a social active online blogging dad, I have had the pleasure of being invited into this online world, though I am sure I have only made it to the waiting room of a massive building with multiple secret rooms with locked doors discussing all things from nipple pads to online bargains to how to get the drowned hamster out of the toilet. But it is an amazing world of endless knowledge that I feel proud a slightly chuffed to be welcomed into. Almost like being invited to sit at the cool table at school. So dads (and guys in general), if you’re going to pick a fight with a SAHM or mum in general online, pick your battles wisely because you will be surrounded and shouted off the computer before you even get a chance to take a breath and let out the next dumb comment. In saying that, if you want honest advice and are looking for people going through the same hell as you. Get online, there are thousands of SAHM’s waiting to take your call…………………………….