I'm drinking a root beer float as I write this. I know that in writing those words, it will probably make you want a root beer float too and you will probably think for a second, "damn, that sounds really good. When was the last time I had a root beer float?" I couldn't answer that question either, but when someone mentioned root beer floats on this website that I signed up to review through Mother-Talk, I had to have one.
So a quick break between reviewing and writing to mix together the root beer and ice cream I found in the kitchen (a quick side note: someone once told me that only Americans like root beer and that everyone overseas thinks it's either (1) disgusting or (2) hasn't tried it. Is this true? Are there people actually living on this earth who have never partaken in the great tradition of the root beer float? Are there actually people who--gasp!--don't like root beer? The person who told me this was my camp counselor from Europe and he insisted that there was something about the taste where if you hadn't had it by a certain age, you could never grow to love it. It is just dawning on me that this was perhaps bullshit.)
The website I was on is called Mamasource and in the great tradition of the backyard fence, it is an online fence where you can pick up tips--tips about the hairdressers in town, the best caterers for a party, the moving service that everyone loves to use. Oh--and this is the part I forgot to mention--when you sign up, it asks for your zipcode and then tailors all the information to your area. Of course, the more people sign up and start posting, the closer the information becomes. Right now, it is giving me information for places in Virginia--which is close, but not that close. But if there were more people from Maryland signed up, I have a feeling the Virgina people would get Virginia information and the Marylanders would get Maryland information. And neither group would ever have to cross the river again during rush hour to act on a good haircut tip.
Yes, the name of the website is Mamasource and children/parenting tips are mentioned on the website, but even though the language describing the website on the main page is MOM MOM MOM, I didn't find the website to be actually mother-centric in terms of information. I thought it was definitely overwhelmingly female but not necessarily overwhelmingly maternal even if the owners of the site say that it's "moms helping moms" (I guess moms and childless women sharing tips on hairdressers in the area didn't have the same ring...).
I'm not someone who has ever been bothered about going on parenting sites before I was considered a parent by greater society. For instance, I used the bulletin boards on Babycenter just as often as I used IVFC. I also joined the local parenting listserv when I was undergoing fertility treatments. It's not that I wanted to be tortured daily by parents asking about Ferberizing their kids, but our listserv is well-arranged so that people can skip over messages they don't want to read and instead learn about events in the area and other non-parenting issues. Plus, like Babycenter, tucked into all the parenting talk is the fact that the listserv usually contains a plethora of infertility and loss discussions. And at the end of the day, before I actually became a mother, I considered myself a mother--a mother to children who hadn't been born.
This website is very similar to my local listserv in the fact that one does not need to be a parent to draw a lot of good from reading along as long as you're fine with constant reminders about motherhood. It's just a shame that it's not set-up as simply women helping women rather than mothers helping mothers (since you could still contain the same information if it was women helping women. And you could still call it Mamasource because it could be about hot tips from hot mamas). The localization of the information is still a great idea. Sort of like the backyard fence. Without the backyard. Or the fence.
P.S. Just in case someone is sitting there with their mouth open saying, "Mel drinks root beer floats at 9 in the morning--what the hell is wrong with that woman?", I wrote this last night...