Social Media Saved My Life
Alexandra Rosas shares how social media helped her through the toughest times of her life as part of the Care.com Interview Series
Been there, done that. Thanks to the internet, the "Empress" Alexandra Rosas herself never feels alone. Blogging since 2010 over at Good Day Regular People, Rosas has found a community through her humorous stories about life in a small town where she tries to go unnoticed. Rosas tells us why she thinks social media could have saved her from PPD, how her non-blogger friends just don't get it sometimes, and how she's helped cure her son's bruised ego with one simple tweet.
Tell us about your family.
I love my family. I can't help but smile when I talk about them. I am the proud mother of three boys, ages 17, 15, and 10 and they are truly my life's dream. I have wanted children since I can remember and am grateful and thankful every day that I am lucky enough to be a mother. My husband and I have been married for 18 years, and have known each other for over 20. It doesn't seem that long.
Tell us about your blog. How and why did you start blogging?
I began my blog in 2010 because I wanted a sense of community that the blogs I visited had. I've met incredibly talented, kind, inspiring men and women, and I count on these people daily to keep me from feeling lost or un-tethered in my life. Sometimes the only time I have to connect socially with someone is at 11 p.m. at night - what a gift that I can log on, visit a blog, send a tweet or email, and talk to someone in minutes.
Has your audience remained the same over the course of your writing?
My audience has changed tremendously and just a handful of original bloggers from when I began still remain, and this includes my original first three followers. Many have closed up their blogs. It's always a little sad to me when this happens, but social media takes up a lot of time, and we can't do it all.
What social media sites do you use? What types of things do you post to your Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter is my everyday happy place. I write humor, and Twitter helps me find out what is trending, what people find funny, and gives me practice in how to keep my jokes and whimsies fast and sharp.
I am this kind of Facebook poster: a bad one. I don't get FB and I know I need to. I try, but it doesn't come naturally to me, and I know it's necessary. I'll work on that. Twitter I would marry if I could.
What's the funniest parenting-related thing you've seen on Facebook or Twitter?
I love the play-by-play tantrums from tweeters' kids that are posted. You can follow along and relate. On the first day of summer vacation this year, I had running tweets all day documenting my not-so-slow descent into madness from having three boys back in the house all day. I spent the day cooking and cleaning toilets. I had enough tweets to make that day into a blog post.
How do you think social media has changed parenting, for better or for worse?
Social media is overlooked and underrated as a mental health tool in helping with feelings of isolation and depression. I am convinced that had I had [social media] seventeen years ago with my first child, I never would have slipped into such depths of Post Partum Depression. I had gone from working full time to being in my 30's and suddenly home with a colicky baby with food allergies and asthma who did not sleep. Those times were a mix of one of the darkest, saddest periods of my life as well as some of the loneliest. Even with the gift of a baby that I had waited my entire adult life to have, the overwhelming loneliness of being without anyone else other than a crying baby almost did me in. If I had been able to log on to twitter or FB and say, "Hey, feeling lonely. Anyone up for a talk?" it would have sent me on an absolutely different New Mom Path. With PPD, support and acceptance through connection are the biggest tools in our arsenal to fight this battle. I'm more grateful than words can ever say, to social media. Social media saves my life daily, by giving me a place in this world and making me visible, and not forgotten in a corner somewhere.
How do you think parenting bloggers are perceived? How has the role of the blogger evolved from when you started?
Bloggers understand the ducking in and ducking out we do during our day. However, in my real life, non-bloggers who don't fully understand how blogging can be done in bits and pieces here and there have said to me, "I don't know how you do it. I guess I'm too busy with my life to understand what you do," or "I can't imagine spending so much time doing something for free." Those comments sting, but I realized the people that say these things don't know the joy that has come into my life from blogging.
Blogging is worth the fewer hours of sleep I get by going to bed later or getting up earlier to blog. The people I've met online have changed my life and given me a presence in this world. I wouldn't change a thing about making the decision to blog. I am not the person I was before I ever went online. Blogging has given me confidence and given me a sense of who I am. Every time I post, I feel I am clarifying to myself who I am. This has made me a stronger parent, a stronger wife, and an active participant in the outcome of my life.
How have social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter helped your parenting strategies?
With my children being older, I have turned to the internet to help [them] by showing them camaraderie and belonging. When my oldest son was crushed at not passing his Driver's Test the first time, I went to Twitter and said, "Need help boosting teen son's bruised ego from Road Test Flunk. Tweet if you flunked." And the responses came flooding in: hilarious stories that my son and I sat reading and within minutes, he was laughing and he said to me, "I didn't know so many people flunked their road tests. I felt like I was the only one." That right there is the beauty and gift of the internet. We no longer feel alone and have to say, "I thought it was only me."
Alexandra Rosas is a humor writer and has been blogging since 2010. Her personal blog, Good Day Regular People, chronicles life in a small town where she finds herself the Empress of her "empire," which includes her husband and three sons. She was named a 2011 BlogHer Voice of the Year for Humor. You can also find Rosas on Facebook and Twitter.
Get more from social media moms in the Care.com Interview Series: Being a Social Media Mom »
Photo used with permission from Alexandra Rosas.