A Community of Women by Cyma Shapiro
I was struck by a conversation I recently had with an acquaintance about her extraordinarily large women’s group. She explained that while this metropolitan group has approximately 700 members, only 100 or so women are considered “active.” Of those, the numbers decline as the ‘camps’ become set – that is, women over or under 35 or 40; women who work; women who are stay-at-home mothers; women with special needs children – the list is endless. For her, the end result is a core group of six to seven like-minded women with whom she has bonded. The conversation resonated with me; I’ve also just found my community – Midlife Mothers – in fact, I’d even say it’s “All Mothers,” and I’ve found many of them with or on the Internet. I would like to share my thoughts about this –
According to Wikipedia:
In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing a populated environment. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.
In sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term. There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s. Traditionally a “community” has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household.
The word “community” is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (cum, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), a broad term for fellowship or organized society.
Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.
This brings me to my second thought – the Web. On first glance, the first dozen Mommy-related sites read like this: workitmoms; mothersclick, connectedmoms, mothersnature, nurturemoms, nourishedmother, mommythink, wholemotheringcenter. Other sites like Pjmommy, mothersbeheard, MotherhoodLaterThanSooner, cafemom, and Christian-mommies.com further specialize in their arenas. Add it up and you get a whopping hundreds, perhaps thousands of Mommy and women-related sites.
A writer once penned, “Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the Internet is a BFF (Best Friend Forever) to women navigating motherhood for the first time.” I believe this is true. While our foremothers were isolated in their endeavors and relegated to their families or local communities, women with computers can find unlimited ways to connect with other women, all from the security and comfort of their own homes.
Now, any woman can find solace and support with innumerable numbers of sites offering advice, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. And it’s all for free. Seeking a new playgroup? You can easily find it online. Need items for sale or support groups, it’s now one click away. The end result is a breathtaking array of available options. But, let’s not forget our topic: the community of women.
Today, given this colossal beast – the Internet – no one need ever feel alone or isolated – there’s something and someone for everyone. And, I think that’s what I’m really feeling: I, too, am no longer isolated – as a mom, as a midlife mom, as a woman, and, yes, as a partner in a marriage. Today, I truly feel my place, my purpose and my desires. And, I owe some of it to my time on the Internet. So, to those of you still feeling out of sorts, we say, “Join us here at Motherhood Later,” or anywhere else that suits you. We can be found in every conceivable community across the world, and we’re waiting for you.