Social media mom groups. Useful, right? Of course. Until they’re not.
Open groups, closed groups, secret groups… there is an assortment of mom groups available on Facebook. Everyone from crunchy homesteaders to tattooed moms have their dedicated social cluster on Facebook. These groups are support systems and connection points for moms who are often isolated by motherhood. They enable mothers to come together across state and country lines. They provide a place where moms can ask about baby-lead weaning, funky rashes, weird poop colors, postpartum healing, breastmilk storage, formula recommendations, in-law dilemmas, annoying phases, nursing-friendly swimsuits, and pregnancy test results. Perfect, right? Such a sanctuary. Or maybe not.
I originally joined these groups as a source of fellowship and information, as well as to help other moms, especially first-time-moms. As my littlest grew beyond babyhood, I found myself simply there to answer questions. I felt compelled to help these worried moms.
Friends kindly suggested groups so that I could help spread milk-sharing awareness and aid others with pumping and/or breastfeeding queries. I loved it. I got involved and felt rewarded when I helped a formerly unknown mom navigate a troublesome parenting patch. Then things turned.
There were already heated topics that you knew to either avoid entirely or sit back and watch the explosion. Circumcision, infant ear piercing, vaccinations, breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, nursing in public, sleep training, introduction of solid foods, etc. They were time bombs.
Then there was the hoot-and-holler component. “I can’t believe my MIL…”, “I couldn’t believe this parent at the playground…”, “Ugh, my daycare provider…”, “How could anyone…”, “I can’t stand moms who…” If you ever saw a post begin with, “Am I right to be upset about this?” You knew the comments would be rife with hyperbolic reaction. “That’d set me off!” “How dare she!” “I’d throw down if that happened to me!” “You should’ve made a scene!” Based on the comments, you’d think every playdate was like an episode of the Maury Povich Show.
Who were these people? These were my fellow moms???
The venting. The misinformation. The more often than not overly emotional reactions to trivial matters that became commonplace. All of this garbage was clogging my Facebook feed with melodrama instead of my friends’ vacation photos and kid stories.
Eventually, almost every time I opened social media — my window to the outside world during the emotionally isolated stay-at-home-mom days and my source of entertainment while nursing or pumping — I would get a rush of frustration. The same dilemmas, the same complaints, the same drama. Every time. I began to feel isolated and taxed by the very outlet that was supposed to free me from those sensations.
Social media is supposed to be fun… frivolous. I should enjoy logging on and scrolling past posts and photos, memes and videos. Instead, I got agitated. I’d log off more unhappy than I’d felt prior to logging on.
So, I decided to say “F off” to all of the mom groups. I left every mom group in my feed. I immediately felt better, lighter, relieved.
I could’ve simply “unfollowed” them, but why? I didn’t want to be associated with the negativity anymore. I wanted a positive, fun space to dip my mind into occasionally throughout the day. I wanted connection, not agitation.
I took the transition a step further and created the group “Positive Charge.” A tranquil, uplifting group where we share positivity, happiness, and inspiration. From beautiful photos to funny memes, happy experiences to inspirational quotes, we provide positive energy for one another. Or, at least that’s the goal.
It may grow, it may not. It may succeed, it may not. Who knows? All that matters to me is that I took a step to solve the problem, to plug and replenish the social media energy drain.