“She was up every two hours.” “He’s getting his days and nights mixed up.” Sound familiar? If you’re a mom with a baby, you may have said this yourself. You may also have wondered when you’ll ever get a full night’s sleep.
Join the club and call yourself a #zombiemom. They may sometimes feel semi-comatose, and get their own days and nights mixed up, but #zombiemoms are alive, hungry for adult company, and meeting regularly in the netherworld of Twitter.
These sleep-deprived mothers, usually of babies, are putting the online social network to good use around the clock by using the #zombiemom hashtag.
For those who don’t know, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the number sign. It identifies a topic on Twitter and helps people connect with others interested in the same thing. The #zombiemom hashtag is used all the time. Try it and soon you’ll be chatting about teething and middle-of-the-night feedings.
Ottawa’s Sara Cooper, mom to a six-year-old son and a 15-month-old daughter, started using the hashtag after her daughter was born. “She, unlike my son, had a very hard time sleeping and I really did feel like a zombie most days.” On Twitter she discovered she was in good company. “When I started using the hashtag I found a community of moms who were in the same boat as me and we were able to provide support to each other.” In the virtual #zombiemoms neighbourhood, she found sympathetic ears, camaraderie and ample opportunities to see the lighter side of the situation. Sara says #zombiemoms is about “moms supporting each other through advice, comfort and humor during what can be a very frustrating time of motherhood – sleepless nights.”
Nolie, another local mom, agrees. She has two boys and the youngest just celebrated his first birthday. “I was introduced to the #zombiemoms hashtag within days of my youngest being born.” Since there are four years between her children’s ages, she says she’d forgotten about the challenges of having a new baby. “With #zombiemoms there is always someone there, if not with an answer at least with an ear and to let you know you are not alone.”
The connection can reach beyond the screen too. Here in Ottawa, #zombiemoms gathered in person a few months ago at an event, a “tweetup,” organized by Sara Cooper. Twenty or so moms and their children showed up. “It was a great morning,” Srah says, with moms finally meeting “IRL” (in real life).
Sara mentions Twitter is a great spot for new moms to find out about play dates, events and workshops, as well as to take a little time to socialize and keep on top of current events. Nolie offers another bit of helpful advice: “My number one tip for #zombiemoms, and Twitter in general, is don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation already going on. If it was a private conversation, it would not be happening on Twitter. “