Heather Medeiros uses Facebook to better the life of her children.
Sounds crazy, right?
In an age when most kids have their faces glued to iPhone and Nintendo DS screens for hours on end, the thought of using the world’s largest social networking site for anything other than mindless stimulation seems far-fetched at best.
But the Portland native, who serves as an administrator of a Facebook mom’s club – Manteca Moms and Munchkins – that claims more than 200 members, says that she has used it to build a network with other mothers that would have otherwise been impossible.
Things can get crazy at times. Schedules don’t always line-up and the opinions of 200 people can make things tense. In the end, however, it’s always about the kids.
“It’s awesome to be able to connect with other local moms and chat online about anything from baby questions to party tips,” she said. “I’ve been a part of this group for four years now and I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends that I otherwise would not have known because I’m from another state.”
As a stay-at-home mom, Medeiros gets to spend a prolonged amount of time with her children.
She sees them when they wake up. She sees them when they go to bed. She sees them – 4-year-old Lucas and 5-year-old Adriana – when they refuse to take a nap in the middle of the day.
And amidst all of that time, Medeiros said that somehow they were able to spring up from tiny babies into walkers and into kindergarten graduates, all right before the watchful eyes that were rarely cast off.
It’s a realization, she says, that puts the idea of Mother’s Day into sharper focus.
“Mother’s Day is about appreciating mom for what she does on a day-to-day basis,” Medeiros said. “It’s just showing that you love and you care and you’re grateful for the things that your mom does. Being in a different state than my own mother makes Mother’s Day a little sad but now that I have my own kids I’m really trying to teach them to appreciate me for all that I do, even if they don’t agree with things now.
“Just knowing that I’m here to watch my kids grow up and experience new things makes all of the struggles worth it. If I was working a full-time job I would likely miss these things.”
But doing what she does takes planning. It takes execution.
You know that person that inputs things into a calendar on their phone or takes notes or makes a list so that they make sure not to miss something? That’s Medeiros, working to maintain a schedule that’s beneficial to her and her kids.
Her relationship with her mother might be historically complicated – Medeiros said she was raised predominantly by her father – but being able to share her children with both of her parents, she said, is a joy.
“As long as you know growing up that you have a loving parent there for you whenever you need it, that’s all you need,” she said. “What you don’t have growing up only makes you a better mom. Thank God my mom is wonderful now and a great grandmother to my kids.”