I understand that some mothers have actual humans with whom to compare experiences and off of whom to bounce ideas about parenting. This sounds rustic and earthy and not entirely unlike the sort of I-can-smell-you companionability of our ape cousins as they pick nits off one another's backs in the forest primeval.
No, I have real-life mom friends, and I'd absolutely like more of them, and almost none of them resemble chimpanzees. But the fact is that I have few close friends, of whom very few have kids, and the other mothers I meet in the course of mommish activities don't tend to share many of my experiences or values -- about parenting or the wider world. Combine these sad truths with the fact that we moved from Philadelphia to upstate NY while I was pregnant, and the outcome is pretty lonely.
Or would be, if it weren't for the Interwebs. I could bore you now with a brief history of my participation in online fora from the days when salon dot com was the URL of a hair place, but I won't. Suffice to say, I am a member of two active online communities, and my participation therein, pleasurable and meaningful before I was a parent, has become a kind of lifeline and protective shell surrounding my sanity since.
There are a lot of fora (or forums) out there. Many magazines have some kind of online discussion community, and there are boards for just about every hobby and interest and profession and location, and most of them, if they are active enough, become a place where their participants talk to each other not just about whatever the nominal focus is, but about their lives and other interests. I'm describing this network of networks as if you've never heard of them, and I realize just now that of course most of you are rolling your eyes, and maybe the only one saying "Oh, really?" is my mom.
Anyway. My point is, these communities of people with whom you share interests and values are infuckingvaluable when it comes to hashing out the nitty-gritty of parenting. And if they're not -- if your online communities are not providing you with this kind of rock-solid sounding board -- then you need to find some better communities stat, because they're out there, and life without them is way, way, way harder than it needs to be.