Shout Out to My Mom Groups!

We’ve all seen the jokes/memes that float around Instagram and Facebook about mom groups, making fun of the idea of talking to strangers online about parenting and life advice, sharing pictures of our kids, commiserating about the terrible twos while toasting with a glass of wine from across the globe.

We all just want to connect. Being a new mom is HARD. It can be lonely, scary, frustrating, and sometimes just so ridiculous you need to share your story with anyone who will listen (like when your baby boy shoots pee straight up, spraying you and his entire room while you’re changing his diaper). Mom groups provide that connection with a few clicks on a phone while sitting on a couch or bed with a baby attached to your boob.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture where there’s a lot of support for expecting mothers that tends to fade quickly after the baby is born. Sure, grandma may come and help for a week after the baby is born, dad might be fortunate enough to take a few weeks off, but then what? We’re left somewhat alone to struggle with this life we’re supposed to take care of and we wonder if there’s anyone out there that could possibly be going through the same thing.

I’ve been in several different online mom groups. I was in a birth month group when my first son was born, and have stayed connected with several of those moms even now that our kids are 6 1/2 years old. I’ve been in breastfeeding support groups, local moms groups, working moms groups, you name it. I have a complicated relationship with them.

I love the camaraderie that I share with these other parents. I love the sincere suggestions when my kid has some weird rash that isn’t clearing up, or when my husband is being a turd and I just need to vent, even if the suggestion isn’t something I actually follow through with. I loved the “likes” and comments when I share a picture of my kids’ milestones. I loved and needed the “virtual hugs” when my baby was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and I was sobbing in a hospital room. I also loved when I was able to return the love to other moms. I get so excited to see my friends’ babies growing and the amazing things they’re doing. I love when I’m able to give some advice back to others and feel like I’m helping the way they’ve helped me.

The other side of the mom group love is the drama that sometimes comes up. It makes me so sad when moms attack each other. Parenting does not come with a One-Size-Fits-All Manual. We are all just trying to navigate through this thing the best way we can, hoping that we can keep the tiny humans alive for at least one more day. We do not need to be bringing each other down. We should be lifting each other up, and laughing at our missteps and adventures along the way.

Most recently I was irritated to see another mom attacked on a post she made about scalloped potatoes. POTATOES. Thankfully she and most of the other members of the group were able to stay light-hearted about the whole thing and brush the nasty comment off as just someone being ridiculous about a situation so innately funny.

My point of this post is just to remind us (even myself, because, hey, I’m human too) to BE KIND. Remember when your parents and teachers used to tell you “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Let’s try to be there for one another and make parenting a little less lonely and terrifying, deal? Life is hard enough without an internet stranger beating you down over some scalloped potatoes.

So long-live internet mom groups! I toast to you with my mommy-sized sippy cup of wine! But please don’t invite me to any more LuLaRoe parties. My wallet and closet thank you.

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