There's a saying that says it takes a village to raise a child. I wholeheartedly agree. My daughter will be a product of everyone she comes in contact with on a regular basis: me and my husband, her grandparents and great-grandparents, her daycare caregivers, and our closest friends. She will be influenced to like and dislike certain things because of them; she will learn about specific things because they are of interest to these people. She will absorb all the love they have for her and grow into a beautiful young woman.
In much the same way, it takes a village to raise a mom. I'm a first-time mom who had very little experience with children. However, six months into motherhood and I feel pretty confident about my skills as a mommy now. My confidence stems from a combination of trusting my own instincts and what I've learned from other moms online.
Motherhood is overwhelming; between information overload and too much advice from well-meaning friends and family, it's easy to get your head spinning. Online mommy communities help me sort through the mess. I used sites like The Nest Baby, Babycenter, and KellyMom to answer questions, vent, and just check to make sure the poops and puke were all normal. The moms I found on these boards and forums were eager to share their experiences with you and connect. Don't get me wrong -- I didn't find everyone's advice helpful. I didn't do everything these ladies told me. But it was always nice to know that I could go somewhere that I wouldn't be judged. These communities are about being supportive and sharing in the experience of motherhood.
Now that I'm past the newborn phase with my daughter, my participation is a bit different. I post fewer questions in the middle of the night. I answer more questions than I ask. In addition, my list of resources has grown to include sites like Work It, Mom! that cater to the working mother. I've used sites like this one to read other women's experiences about returning to the workforce, how they work towards balance, and how they deal with their desire to stay home.
Reading about the success of work-at-home moms on sites like this one inspired me to pursue my own dreams of being a WAHM. I've officially started the process to start my own business. On communities like this one, I'll read member artciles and check out their bios for some inspiration. I'll post questions on boards for insight. There are some amazing and succesful women on Work It, Mom!
I also love to read blogs focused on WAHMs or moms pursuing their work-at-home dreams, like eMoms At Home and Startup Princess. Just like the mom communities, the people at sites like these are genuinely excited to help and support you. They are created by and filled with content from other enterpreneurs who want other people to find professional succes on their own terms.