The Motherhood and Beyond: Finding Your Tribe Online

10 years ago

Emily McKann and Cooper Munroe met 20 years ago. They began blogging together at Been There a few years ago, and recently relaunched The Motherhood, what they call "your neighborhood of friends." The site features member spotlights, "neighborhoods" and "circles", where potentially like-minded moms can connect.  A few already started? Gaming Moms (courtesy of tireless community leader Jenn Satterwhite of MommyNeedsCoffee), Mindful Moms, and Moms for Obama.

Since time began mothers have turned to each other for just about everything.

with The Motherhood, mothers can talk, listen, be there for each other
and get awesome ideas and help, whenever you have the time and from
wherever you are.

Circles, our version of conversation groups, are the heart of The Motherhood.

circling the wagons, coming full circle, circle of friends, inner
circle, circle of life, winners' circle, sewing circles - you get the

Whatever you might need from a circle of mothers - a
laugh, a shoulder, advice, information, understanding - you can find it

True. And if there's one thing that moms have done and done well in the past decade online, it's organize. MOMocrats, Moms Rising, Mothers With Cancer, or just Mommybloggers in general (and I know I'm leaving out a bunch, forgive me,) women who parent have found individual and collective voices and community on Websites the world over. 

But what to do if you're not a mom? 

If you'd like to be a mom but you're not? Or if you don't want to and never did? 

If being a mom used to be a much larger part of your identity than it is, but now it's just part of the program? 

Do you need to be specific? Is the community - whatever it is, related to being related - that important to you? 

For some people, it is. launched earlier this year. The creation of New York City's Melanie Notkin, it's billed as "the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids" 

I'm a cool godmother and favorite aunt of all of my friends' children everywhere (and, it must be stated, a sadly under-participating beta tester - what can I say, except last semester of graduate school?) so when I hop on over to the site, what's the first thing I do? Take a poll. 

Your 8-12 year old niece is dressed up as a Pop Star this
Halloween, but looks more like - well - she looks like a prostitute.
Too much make up, skirt WAY too short, etc. You're taking her Trick or
Treating. What do you do?

 Um, thinking I'm a rule-breaker, I immediately click on "It's Halloween! Get over it!" and find that this answer ties for first place (with "I think she rocks. Whatever she wants to wear is cool with me.") See? Cool. 

Check out the experts who provide content for the rest of the site, though, and Notkin's not kidding around. A speech language pathologist, a kids' party expert, a children's book expert, a few education consultants, certified nutritionist Julie Negrin,  a financial expert - dare I say it, impressive. 

Oh, and she's got bloggers on board too: Kate Olson at This Mommy Gig, Arianne Segerman from To Think is To Create, personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi, Audrey McClelland who writes with her mom and sister Jane at Mom Generations and "favorite uncle" Jeff Cutler at Bowl of Cheese.  (Yay for favorite uncles!) 

The community is key to the site, of course. Who are savvy aunties, what do they know (and want to know) and what can they share about pitching in with the children closest to them? How do they feel about not parenting but being a part of the lives of children? This is a place to discuss it. 

Back over at the Motherhood, the Grandmom Circle launched yesterday, courtesy of Cooper's mom. 

Are there grandmoms out there? Let's talk about our days...stuck in the
office,global souls,nervous about the election,surviving,looking on the
bright side and stunned by how quickly time goes by BUT ALWAYS with a
focus on those kids and kid's kids.
Great site,don't you agree?

 Grandmas can leave a wall post, a photo mosaic, or even an audio message (The Motherhood takes voice mail!). It just launched but grandmas should feel comfortable jumping in when they're ready. Check out a recent post from BlogHer's Virginia DeBolt on "granny blogging" for more resources for grandmas online. 

Who is your community online, if you need one, if you have one? 

Laurie White writes at LaurieWrites.

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