by Trung Hieu-Lan Chi
Though being a mother has never been easy, the internet era is posing both new challenges and opportunities in this arena.
"Hello Mum. I should be getting a delivery today. Can you post it on Facebook for me to sell?"
"Ok, I'll remember..."
It's become part of daily life for Thanh Hoa, a 65-year-old retired woman from Ha Noi.
Looking at how quickly the old woman handles her computer and logs in to Facebook surprises many youngsters.
Hoa had no experience of using computers or surfing the internet, and few expected her to be able to master modern technology so quickly.
Hoa says her daughter used to work for a State company, but the low salary made her look for other forms of income, so she started selling clothes online.
Initially, she dedicated the evenings to her new sideline, taking photos, writing desriptions and posting them online. Hoa saw how hard her daughter was working, and decided to help out.
"At first I found it difficult, but I persevered and now I am used to it."
Now, Hoa looks after deliveries and posts new stock online.
Even the way she advertises the goods is aimed at teenagers, using modern slang and colloquial phrases. Many customers think they are buying clothes from a 20-year-old, and are surprised when they meet the aging woman with grey hair.
In the past, Vietnamese often said that parents should follow their children every step of the way.
Now, during the internet era, a mother needs to follow their first steps and supervise them tightly, says Mai Anh, a woman from Gia Lam District, with a smile.
Her daughter has been studying in Europe for two years. At first Anh felt sad, and often waited at home for her daughter to call her.
A friend told her that there are many kinds of communication such as chat and Skype which help people connect with each other, so she started to learn computer skills.
Now, the mother and her daughter chat almost every night.
"Since I've learnt how to chat, it almost feels like she's at home again. I feel no distance. I can even find out what she's had for dinner, or what she has done that day."
Many mothers are becoming more technology savvy during this internet age. They want to keep up with the changing times to stay in touch with their children.
Hoang Mai is an accountant on the verge of retirement, but she blogs and uses Facebook as fluently as young people.
One day, she accidentally saw a blog that her daughter had posted on the internet. She wondered: "Why don't I set up a blog to keep in touch with my daughter?"
She managed to set her own blog and connected with her daughter, and often posts family photos.
From a feeling of initial astonishment, her daughter felt endeared that her mother had done something so cute, and it brought them closer together.
Reading her daughter's blog, Mai always knows when her daughter is sad, happy or just met a young guy – things that a girl may not always talk about face to face with her mother.
Many mothers now are regular visitors to websites and forums where they can find information about raising children.
After surfing foreign parenting websites, Ngoc Nga became worried about only feeding her baby daughter rice porridge with meat and vegetables.
She has been hunting around Ha Noi for grains commonly used in European and American countries such as barley, oats and brown rice to supplement her baby's diet.
There are only a few places that sell them, so the cost of imported cereals is quite expensive compared to domestic prices, Nga says.
"However, my child is my priority, so I don't mind paying extra because I know it's good for her."
More and more modern day mothers are looking at alternatives to update their ways of raising children, while at the same time, becoming better aquainted with technology and the internet.
This new-found access to a vast range of information is proving a mixed blessing for mothers, with some embracing it and others preferring to stick to traditional parenting methods.
But one thing is always true: a mothers' love for her children will never change. — VNS