I belong to a few online mom groups. When I found out I was pregnant with the Twincesses, I was overjoyed … aaaand overwhelmed.
I had a million questions and none of the answers. Google scared the crap out of me each and every time I tried to research symptoms or foods to eat during pregnancy. So before I poisoned my unborn babies with mercury, or contracted listeria or salmonella; I turned to an online community of moms and moms-to-be, for support and guidance through the daunting process.
Fast forward to a year later, and I now belong to a total of FIVE mommy groups, all existing on the wonderfully social world of Facebook.
Online mom groups CAN be a great place to ask questions and get valid, honest answers. But it’s extremely important to choose your group well, and take what you read with a grain of salt and a very thick skin.
There’s one group I’ve hung out with since the minute my pregnancy was confirmed. The ladies are AWESOME. I can be 100% myself without fear of judgment, and everyone’s diverse opinions are accepted and respected. There are moms who I can rely on for a much needed pick-me-up when I feel like I’m doing everything wrong, and others who tell me like it is when I need to hear the truth. I feel like part of a family and even though we’ve never really met in real life, these moms feel like my BFFs.
Then there’s the other groups. The ones where ‘Sanctimommies’ rule, and judgement and assumptions run rampant.
It’s a cesspool of know-it-alls who are under the firm belief that THEIR methods of parenting are superior to anyone else’s. They all wear Doctor Google hats and throw their ‘knowledge’ around as if they’ve accumulated degrees and diplomas on parenting.
It’s the groups filled with Anti-vaxxers who spew misguided ‘science’ and tear down the newbie mom who dared to ask a vaccine-related question.
It consists of (very) vocal opponents to ‘Sleep Training’ (said in hushed tones, because Sanctimommy hears everything) even when it doesn’t involve prolonged cry-it-out. Because of course, their babies have never, ever, cried. Sanctimommy pre-empts any wailing and picks her baby up precisely 30 seconds before that first squeal ever leaves her cherub’s lips, just as Google recommends.
It’s where mom-shamers congregate like sharks around fresh meat, to pounce on the mother who uses baby formula, who forward-faced her car seat or started solids before 6 months.
They’re filled with competitive attention seekers who just had to let everyone know that little Andy started walking at 4 months. Yep, ‘my little angel didn’t even crawl, he just stood up one day and was walking around like the champion he is’. Little Andy was also reading at 6 months and did a backflip before he turned one. Good for you and good for little Andy. Will we be seeing him on Ellen next week?
Which brings me to the next point…its overrun with liars. So many pants-on-fire mommies, you’d need a fire extinguisher attached at the hip. Whether it be their children’s milestones or their grades, these mommies lie like it’s a rite of passage. They lie about how clean their house is, and how adoring their husbands are. They lie about their cooking skills and their craft ability. Why? I’ll never understand.
Don’t get me started on trolls who join precisely for the joy of tearing other mothers down. Doesn’t matter the topic of discussion, the troll knows you’re doing it wrong. Worryingly, many of these trolls aren’t even moms themselves.
There’s nothing like online mommy groups to make you feel like you’re 5 years old again, back on the playground, dealing with the school bully.
So why are these groups so popular then?
I think it’s due to the fact that most moms are seeking interaction on days that seem to blend together, endlessly in piles of laundry, vomit and poop. Moms are reaching out to hear how others are coping and to find a friendly face (or avatar) in the midst of the numerous struggles motherhood presents.
And if you’re able to sift through the bullshit of the various types above, you’re bound to find some real, caring mothers, who actually do offer good advice. You’re guaranteed to find at least one mom who tells you you’re doing a good job no matter how badly you think you messed up.
If you can block out the Sanctimommies and the trolls, the liars and the shamers, you may even be lucky enough to find your soulmate-mom … that one mom with whom you just click and feel like you’ve been friends with your whole life.
I’m lucky I’ve found about ten of them. And before you ask: no, you can’t join my group!