I love Facebook! There, I said it … yeh, yeh, I know it’s pretty much par for the course in my line of work, but I genuinely do enjoy Facebook, how it’s evolved and most of what it entails. The one interesting development that’s really catching my attention lately plays both a negative and a positive role in social media’s ever-changing development, and that is the ‘Mommy Groups’.
There are groups for every type of mom you can imagine! For the moms who want to stay slim and trim; the moms who love to bake and cook; the inked (tattooed) moms; moms of boys – strangely I couldn’t find one for moms of girls – someone let me know if there is one (actually on second thoughts, probably, please don’t!); moms who love wine (quite a few variations of those); and generally just lots of groups of moms who want to be in a group with other moms!
It’s not new or surprising that we gravitate towards those in similar situations to us for support or simply for some innate sense of security (or some herding instinct). But what absolutely fascinates me is that as these clusters have gathered momentum, it seems that many of their members start to adopt somewhat of a pack mentality. Common sense seems to completely fly out of the window as people somehow think it’s obviously much better to ask a group of complete strangers (ok, that’s not strictly true, there are often individuals within any given Facebook group who do actually know each other) for advice on anything from what that nasty rash might be (yes, of course pictures are included!), to what legal proceedings they should implement now that they have photographic evidence that the neighbour’s Pitbull is having illicit relations with their French Poodle (feel free to replace ‘Pitbull’ and ‘French Poodle’ with the names of whoever is appearing in your current soap opera/Mommy group scandal)!
People! I really, really don’t mean to sound judgey here, but why would you ask for medical advice from a group (and some groups number in the thousands) of unqualified women, the majority of whom have never even met you or your child? If you’re confused before you asked your question, imagine how much more confusion the different responses you’ll receive, will cause? Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you do that to your child? If it’s 2.43 am and it does seem, God forbid, to be an emergency, that’s what a hospital emergency room is for. Go there first. Do not head over to Facebook to see what some other sleep-deprived mother might suggest in a moment of insanity!
Ask your friends, your mother, your doula, the cashier at your local Quick-Shop, dare I say, even your mother-in-law. Surely there are people you can approach with your personal issues before launching them into the virtual stratosphere for all too gleefully trample over with their muddy little paws! And believe me, trample they will, with gay abandon! You will be the subject of every type of criticism you can imagine (and some you didn’t). Ladies you are putting yourself out there! I know you’re looking for encouragement, support, love, baby bunnies and puppies with rainbow hearts and flowers to wrap you in pink cotton wool, but the likelihood of that happening is slim. I know that you think you are in a ‘safe place’ and that is what all groups do offer (and that IS the intention of all these groups – they all have rules, and most stipulate that hate speech is not permitted), but always be aware that not everyone has the same agenda as you! Even if you respond kindly to someone else’s dilemma, rest assured, someone out there is waiting to bash your well-meaning words of advice because your opinion is so obviously, ridiculously wrong, wrong, wrong, and how dare you even have the audacity to share it here!?!?
However, before you run screaming for the hills and go deleting your Facebook account altogether … these groups are amazing platforms for sharing resources. They’re a fantastic support and networking system for the many, many new and necessary mommy-businesses that are springing up all the time. And by this I don’t only mean businesses based around mom and babe products, but also every single type of business that I’m seeing start up almost every day by a mom who, for whatever reason, isn’t going back to her pre-mom workplace. There still aren’t many opportunities for moms in the workplace who might want to work flexible hours, especially those with very young kids, and I strongly believe that we need to support the constant strength and ability that women show in going out there and making things happen when those opportunities don’t miraculously appear for us.
To sum up:
- Use your common sense!!
- Does your query require the help of a professional?
- Use your common sense!!!!
- Can you Google it first?
- Use your common sense!!!!!!
- Don’t be a hater!
- Use your common SENSE!!!!!! (You might be recognising a pattern here.)
- Check that your question hasn’t been asked at least 10 times already this week.
- Use your COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!
- Refer to points 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 before posting to the group!
Disclaimer: This is a VERY generalised blog post, and not specifically aimed at ANY group/s that I am currently a member of. Nor is it aimed at any particular individual/s in any group/s that I am currently a member of. I love ALL my mommy groups unreservedly!!!