I am a mom of a five-year-old little girl… I would consider myself a reasonably knowledgeable parent but for some reason when my child gets sick, all rational thinking goes out the window… I find myself in a panic that she has some rare disease that popped up when I googled her symptoms. For the past five days, I have had one sick girl on my hands, high fever, aching body, sore throat, cough, stuffed up, vomiting…you name it, she has it. My little lady is quite a high strung child, so when she is sleeping all day, it is pretty worrisome. This is the first time she has had a fever that stuck and around for longer than a day so where did I find myself looking for answers on what I should do to ease her discomfort? My mom? My Doctor? Google? Nope! I found myself turning to Social Media for answers…particularly a Facebook “Mommy Group.”
This particular Facebook group is called “Everything Mom and Baby.” It’s based in North Bay and it was a group I joined soon after I had my daughter. I don’t even live in North Bay anymore (and haven’t in almost three years) and she is now five and not really a “baby” anymore but for some reason I cannot seem to unfollow the group. This got me thinking about why I have such an attachment to this group and why Mommy Groups in general are such a phenomenon. This particular group has over 3,000 members and is a combined information and buy and sell group for baby/kids items only. Now that I live in the Ottawa area there are plenty of other Mom Groups I could have joined but for some reason, I really like this one.
I often hear that Mom Groups are full of drama and catty women and absolutely; that’s true to some extent but at the same time, how lucky are we to live in a time when we can get answers to questions and find support instantly? We all know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” in this day and age living in bigger cities where people generally keep to themselves, with both parents working full time and with extended families spread all over the world, sometimes you can feel really alone in your parenting journey and a resource like a Facebook Mom Group can be that village you use to help raise your child.
Before Social Media really took off, there were online forums you could join and participate in, what pregnant mom-to-be wasn’t part of the Baby Centre birth month clubs? But, I never found myself joining in and asking questions. People were MEAN on those forums and I would often see them attacking each other. I think there is something a little more personal about Facebook groups, because generally people are using their real name and profile and in my opinion are less likely to be a total a** without that barrier of anonymity.
So for new moms or moms who aren’t part of a Mom Group here are my top seven reasons to join a Facebook Mommy Group:
- It puts you in contact with tons of people who have gone through all of the things your experiencing emotionally.
- You can get reviews on literally everything from which foods to feed first, to which daycares, gymnastics or dance academies are recommended!
- You can find great deals on items you might not want to spend full price on buying brand new.
- Support! Seriously whether your kid isn’t sleeping through the night, you need breast feeding support or encouragement, you want to know which name brand formula is the same as which store brand formula, what you should do about your crazy sister-in-law…there is always someone to answer your questions and give you advice!
- Friends/Social Connection- I met some really great friends via the Mom site. We started by meeting up for a walk with our babies and ended up becoming really close. This was awesome when I was a new, young mom with no family or friends with kids close by. Sometimes, when I couldn’t make it out of the house because I was too tired or overwhelmed or the baby was napping, just knowing I could log on to Facebook and connect with some other people like me made me feel better.
- An ego boost! Seriously, when you post a craft you did or share an experience, getting tons of comments and likes makes us feel good. It makes us feel connected which can be key for someone who is at home and feeling isolated from their pre-baby life.
- You will learn to be more accepting of others. I don’t know about you, but before I was a parent I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to breast feed and baby wear and co-sleep. My kid was never going to talk back and throw tantrums because I would teach her manners and respect! LOL …. well then reality hit and I realized I had no clue what I was doing and that there were people out there who knew more than me who could help. I read through many people’s opinions and solutions for what worked for them and I realized that none of us really have it totally figured out and that everyone is generally doing the best they can.
So back to my original question, why am I still part of Everything Mom and Baby? I think it is because of the connection I feel to these women who have been answering my questions and whose questions I’ve been answering for the last five years. They have truly become part of my social network, this Facebook mom group is the equivalent of my “village,” I probably wouldn’t have gotten through these last five years as easily without the help and support of these ladies. What about you? Is there a group on Social Media that you wouldn’t want to live without?