New moms know well the dearth of downtime in a day (see: feedings/diaper-changing/laundry/repeat), as well as the emotional ups and downs that come with the territory.
So when you get a little time to yourself, here’s some advice: Try blogging. It may make you happier.
That’s the take-away from a recent study that found there’s something about blogging – whether it’s writing your own or just reading and commenting on others’ blogs -- that makes new mothers feel more supported and connected to family and friends, which in turn helps their overall transition to parenthood.
The research, done by Brandon McDaniel, a graduate student at Penn State University, surveyed 157 new moms who spent approximately 3 hours on the Internet each day.
Of the moms, 86 percent reported they blog “to stay in touch with friends and family.” Previous research found that 37 percent of bloggers (not necessarily moms) say they do the same.
McDaniel says the connection and social support moms get from blogging extends even further, creating better marital relations, less depression, and less stress.
“Those feelings of support are snowballing out into their feelings about marital satisfaction and parenting stress,” McDaniel says. “It’s not that they are feeling less stressors. But they are feeling more supported, and less stressed.”
McDaniel knows the isolation and stress that can surround new parents. As an undergrad at Brigham Young University in 2009, he and his wife started a family and also saw friends struggling with parenthood. He witnessed the ways parents were using the Internet to search, research and interact. His own wife started a blog as a creative outlet when she became a stay-at-home mom. This gave McDaniel the idea to research just how blogging and social media were helping them all to adjust.
One surprise finding: While blogs and blogging made moms happier and more connected (see, TODAY Moms really is good for you!), social media (sorry, we’re talking about you Facebook, Twitter) didn’t have the same result.
McDaniel suggests that may be because of the type of personal information conveyed on a blog, compared to the more impersonal daily interactions on social networking sites.
“You may have a lot of friends on Facebook that may not really be close friends,” McDaniel says. “On a personal blog, the people interacting are more likely to be close family and friends.”
McDaniel added that privacy concerns may be a deterrent for using social media for moms. In his research he writes: “If a mother feels that she cannot trust the site, she may be less likely to disclose parenting concerns and calls for support.”
Ultimately the study found that social media doesn’t make moms feel more connected or supported by those important to them, and it doesn’t help them build parenting confidence like blogging does. So, blog away! (But we'd still like you to be our friend on Facebook.)