Why Every Facebook Parenting Group Has Failed Me
In today’s world Facebook is the social norm. Whether we intend to or realize it, we spend hours aimlessly scrolling our feeds. If you don’t then I applaud you, but this article is not for you. I on the other hand, have a much less fulfilling social life. Facebook is basically the only chance I get to speak to someone who isn’t a toddler. It at least feels like socializing even though I’m probably sitting there in my pajamas.
Since my life revolves around my children, it was natural that I wanted to find some Mom friends. Rather than reach out to parents at the playground or my daughter’s school like a sane person should- I turned to Facebook parenting groups. At worst I figured I’d find other parents that I could trade diaper disaster or labor and delivery war stories with. At best I’d find my kindred Mom spirit and maybe even score some play dates or mommy meetups.
I tried out a few parenting groups before but it seemed as if all the members knew each other locally and lived really far away like in Canada. So when a friend added me to a group chock full of local New York moms, I was delighted. I took the bait hook, line, and sinker. I felt at home amongst my tribe of city moms and I was sure we would get along well.
Now this is not to say that there aren’t awesome women in these types of groups because there are. The relationships I’ve formed online with other moms has never really stemmed into anything though. They are acquaintances but pleasant ones at least. We like each other’s posts and chit chat here and there. Mom groups are also a great resource if you are searching for something kid related, or wish to donate. I had a couple of beautiful souls reach out to me. One woman gave me a huge bag of baby clothes and a stroller that I use to this day. Other women have given me maternity pants and even groceries once when I was expecting. The group organizes Secret Santa lists and snail mail events, giveaways, etc.
The way that I’m describing it, Mom groups probably sound like a really nice thing. Like most things online however, it’s fantasy. That’s just how they lure you in. After three years of very active membership I’ve observed a totally different beast. I’ve also had plenty of time to analyze and see what mom groups are really like from the inside.
As you can imagine a group of nearly 4,000 people, ALL FEMALE, can have its downfalls. While every mom group promises to be a no judgment zone, I can promise you that they are judging you. They are judging you hard. In fact these women will not shy away at a chance to pounce on you like a pack of hungry wolves, tear you apart, and shove their judgments down your throat.
That alone should have been my first warning sign. I foolishly thought instead that I could counter their cattiness and pettiness with poise, sarcasm, and grace. Somehow I found myself addicted to this group nonetheless. It was like watching a soap opera play out in real life. I scrolled through my mom group and posted almost daily. Disillusioned by acts of generic kindness, mom humor, and the occasional giveaway. They had me. I got to sit at the cool mom’s table and I was excited.
Once I started to invest actual time into being a member of this group I saw the ugly truth. I’ve noticed a trend amongst the members and the posts in such groups and while not every person fits into a neat little category- most do.
The Perfect Moms
These women have a persona of flawlessness that they portray online. Of their perfect mates, perfect homes, and perfect children. They post about lavish gifts their husband’s bought them or brag about shopping sprees made on their hubby’s dime. They love to show off their constant home remodeling or their kids decked out in designer duds. A lot of women look up to them. Now this may come across as sounding jealous but I call bull. These women and their lives are faker than my daughter’s plastic Barbie doll.
Anyone who is human has a bad day. If your house sparkles and you’ve never once forgotten a school lunch- I don’t trust you. No one is that perfect and we aren’t buying the charade. These posts are usually met with even faker “I’m so happy for you”, when what we all really want to say is “show off”. Every now and then they slip up though and let their reality show. I take a secret pleasure in finding out their homes were purchased by Mom and Dad, or they fight with their spouses a lot. Which is wrong, but that’s the mentality of these types of groups and gossip is a disease easily caught.
The Emotional Poster
These are the people who pour their heart and souls out into a post. They often reveal way too much about their personal lives and ask for advice that they seldom take. These posts usually get the most attention and for all the wrong reasons. The women in mom groups don’t really want to give you solid advice. They only want to chime in their two cents and it’s seldom very friendly.
They prey on your emotional state like vultures and rip your ego to shreds. Do not post your personal business to mom groups unless you are ready to hear everything that is wrong about yourself. You will not find a shoulder to cry on or emotional support. What you will find is a bunch of women happy to gossip about your problems and make snide remarks. You will leave that post feeling even worse about your entire life than before you posted it so it’s best to just not go there.
The Know It Alls
These are the moms who will assure you that they can raise your children better than you. Their own parenting experiences have made them experts in the fields of child psychology, medicine, and parenting. They are not to be argued with either because they know everything. Seriously, don’t argue with them- it’s not worth your time. They are also the moms who will swear you are evil for not breastfeeding. Or that your son won’t use the potty because of the one time you argued in front of him with your husband about mating socks. Clearly you’ve emotionally damaged your child and are an unfit parent.
If you know what is good for you, you will just block these types of parents on sight. Otherwise you might wind up exploding on them when they post about calling CPS on their neighbors for letting their kids watch wrestling. I wish I was exaggerating here.
The Parenting Advice Posters
These posts come in the form of questions about diaper rashes and baby strollers. If you were to actually Google your question instead of post it in a mom group, you probably would get a pretty clear and concise answer. Instead, some of us choose to ask a bunch of other moms. Makes sense since we’re all parents right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.
These women know everything but somehow still seem to give some of the worst advice imaginable. I beg every mom out there- just Google it. Especially when it comes to health questions about your kids. First of all, if your child has a high fever do not stop to post about it on Facebook and wait for a response. Seek a damn doctor and use some common sense. Even if your request is minor however, you will get ninety-seven different replies that are all purely opinion. If you want to be told to run to the ER for a runny nose and to treat a broken bone with essential oils then be my guest. If not, ask the real experts next time.
The Home Business Moms
These moms will not waste an opportunity to sell you their crap. Be it makeup, oils, leggings, or jewelry they will shove it down your throat until you awkwardly tell them you can’t afford it, or wind up buying into some weight loss shake system you really didn’t want. They try to recruit you into also selling the same crap like it’s a cult. Their tactics are relentless and they never stop networking.
While this behavior is banned in most mom groups the home business moms are pretty slick. If you post about a family vacation, they will have knickknack you need to commemorate it by. That new dress you bought and shared with the group would look much better if it were Lularoe leggings instead. There’s always a flash sale and discounts. These moms promise to make you rich if you join their team and glamorous if you buy their products. Welcome to the new generation of telemarketers I guess.
The Real Moms
These are the moms you seldom see or hear from. They hide in the shadows and never post because they know it’s not worth the hassle. When they do come to light it’s like a rare gem. They make funny jokes, call their kids assholes behind their backs, and aren’t afraid to be less than perfect. These moms, like me, delete the post they would have made because they know that no one will be real back with them. They are the moms you hope to find in a mom group but they are far and few in-between.
I went searching for friendship and for people I can relate to. What I found was that some of us never really leave high school. Mom groups should always be entered with caution and never taken seriously. I’m not sure whether I’ve abandoned my mom group or it abandoned me. I do know that falling out of love with these strangers was the best thing that could happen to me. It’s far too easy to get caught up in worrying what others think of us. Parenting is hard enough without having 4,000 women judging your every move. At the end of the day the real parenting advice and companionship doesn’t come from a bunch of strangers online. But from your own common sense, from your family, and from people in your real life.