Three years ago I was struggling. I had a toddler and a baby. The toddler was knee-deep in the feral phase and the baby was going through the four month regression. I was on my knees physically and emotionally and it was a HUGE struggle. And The Motherload® did not exist.
I was surviving on a few hours of broken sleep each night, feeling jet-lagged all the time, and trying to be fun mum when I felt like zombie mum. Support was in short supply – mum was over a hundred miles away and I posted on my Facebook page for sympathy after my husband told me to stop going on about being tired all the time. He commented on the post that I needed to stop shoe-horning it into EVERY conversation. If you’ve ever gone through several years of broken nights you’ll know that literally all you can think of is sleep. My friend Kate Dyson commented on my post.
Thanks to the miracle that is Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ feature, I can show you that conversation:
A few days later, Kate added me to a very new, very small group she had set up on Facebook, all of us mums, all of us finding it a bit hard actually.
The relief of being able to chat to other mums – even mums I didn’t really know – was amazing. They GOT IT. They gave me the hug I needed and made me laugh. It felt like solidarity and at last there was somewhere I could talk about motherhood with people who weren’t going to be bored rigid by all the baby stuff I was posting on my timeline. I had never been into the online forums like Mumsnet, but this felt like the right place for me. There were only about 16 of us in the group but it soon became my favourite place to hang out on Facebook. That group became The Motherload®.
Today, The Motherload® has more than 66,000 members, and as we celebrate our third birthday I’m reflecting on how much has changed. Nowadays I spend most of my time writing about motherhood and editing articles for the Motherload blogzine, or trying to make people laugh on our amazing Facebook group with the ridiculous things my kids get up to. I also spend a lot of time trying to offer support and advice to our members as Kate and I, and our awesome team of mods discuss and approve hundreds of posts every day.
The friendship and camaraderie that was there when there was just a handful of us is still there and it is shared with so many more women. The children are older now, but still present challenges, and I know I can still seek support if I’m struggling. I’ll always get some useful advice and a virtual hug. It’s still my favourite place on internet.
But The Motherload® has become so much more than a place to chat, to offload and to laugh. Its ethos to be kind, supportive and non-judgmental has made incredible things happen both online and in real life. It’s made so many of us want to reach out to others, share the journey and help each other along the way. Long may that continue.
Help us celebrate The Motherload®’s third birthday by pledging to Love Another Mother – find out more here!
Image credit: Libby Vanderploeg