An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How Ditching All Mommy Facebook Groups Made Me A Happier Mom

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How Ditching All Mommy Facebook Groups Made Me A Happier Mom

Mom groups on Facebook are abundant and an active social scene. But these Facebook mommy groups can also be destructive.


I'm sitting down to write this at 5:25am. I've been up since a quarter past 4am, looked at the clock and immediately began to anticipate my husband's annoying alarm going off at 5:30. If he were gone for business, I'd have had no trouble going back to sleep until 6am, but today, I get the joy of being up at 4am just because of that dang impending alarm. Anyone else like that?! Long way to say, I'm already annoyed. But not nearly as annoyed, not even CLOSE to the level of annoyance, I got from a few Facebook mommy groups. Recently, I clicked "unjoin group" on all of them. Every single one. Sounds extreme, but lo and behold, I became a happier mom after I did it.

"But, um, weren't those groups started to HELP moms?" You're probably {not} asking. Yes, I think so. I don't think anyone says, "Hey, I'mma start this group so that we all have a place to complain and whine and commiserate!" Well, actually, I'm not sure about that one entirely... People are pretty weird. And mommy groups? They're especially weird.

Mommy Facebook groups have become a toxic place to be a mom - ditch yours and watch yourself become happier!


Let me rewind to a few weeks ago, before I joyfully hit "unjoin group" again and again until there were no more mommy Facebook groups to unjoin. I rarely scroll my personal Facebook page. After dealing with my blog's social medial all day, I rarely care to do anything personal on it. I'm over-saturated with the social medias, you know? Anyway, this one day I decided to check things out. Bad move, Paige. This is what I saw:

One mom in one group wrote a 2000 word manifesto on a night she had with her daughter. Her almost two year old still gets up at least once a night to eat (yeah, hold the eff on, what?! Why are you allowing that to happen at nearly 2?!) and this time, she couldn't get her back down. The manifesto went on and on about how she gave her daughter whatever she wanted, including sugary snacks, but she couldn't get her daughter to listen to her. A 2000 word manuscript on the play by play that lasted until normal people are well out of bed and up for the day. And friends, I'm not an early riser... So we're talking almost 9am! Did she end it with, "Help me, this can't go on, what are some tips you have to getting a toddler back in bed in the night?" Nope. She didn't want to hear any of that. She wasn't using the group for what the group was intended for. She hijacked that group's purpose for her own dysfunctional gain.

The comments on her post were many. All were commiserating comments. Other parents who not only have been there, no - moms who deal with the same thing regularly! And wonder why. "My Sarah is the same way. I give her whatever she wants from midnight to 7am, and she still won't go back to sleep! It's a nightly struggle. You're doing a good job mama!" Then there were other, "Stay strong mama, you can do this! You're being a great mom! Coffee, stat!"

Ummm, hold on. Nope. She's NOT doing a good job. Her toddler is an a$$hole and the mom is enabling her. Her daughter isn't listening to her not because she doesn't want to, but because the toddler is smarter than her mom and she knows she doesn't have to. Why is that getting congratulated in a mommy Facebook group? If this mom dealt with that and didn't blast it on social media for all to commiserate with her, THEN she'd be a good mom, because she'd be dealing with the monster she created (both literally and figuratively) and managing it quietly. Not begging for attention or praise or desperately seeking validation on her terrible parenting choices publicly.

Ahhhh, there! I said it. No, not all moms do a good job. I don't always do a good job. But seeking praise for when you air your dirty laundry in a Facebook mommy group is just a bizarre way to behave.

I wanted to respond, "You're wondering why your daughter won't listen to you, but your answer is in your own manuscript. If she's up in the middle of the night, you make it a quick affair - water/Tylenol/whatever the immediate need is gets done quickly. Then it's back to bed. You don't offer her choices and you don't take her downstairs for a snack and you sure as hell don't give her sugar and expect her to go back to bed! She has no boundaries. She doesn't listen to you because she knows she going to get what she wants anyway. How can you not see this?!" But did I say that? No, I know better. This mom, and the other commiserating moms, would have jumped down my throat with that common sense, obvious, smack you upside the head with some truth comment. So I eye rolled, didn't feel even a tad sorry this woman hasn't slept in nearly two years, and scrolled on.

Another group I was in I had to pay to be in. It was a local group. They had events and elected leadership, thus the fee to join. This group was a real piece of work, because the SAHM scene in Dallas is insane. Competitive, braggy, elitest... some other adjectives come to mind but I'll keep those to myself. Anyway, some women just commented to comment. Like, "Hey, is there still a dry cleaners on Walnut and Skillman? I should know this but with the construction of the new Sprouts and my sleep deprivation, my mind escapes me! Thanks ladies." What, you couldn't pull up Safari on your phone and google that in less than the amount of time it took you to write the post in the group?! Did you comment just to make sure we all knew you were still around, or what? Perhaps you felt the need to participate in a non-offensive way to get your annual membership fees worth?!

Then there were the real intense people who would respond to questions: I remember one woman wanted to know how much a medical procedure would cost for her kid at a local clinic given her insurance company. I used to work in insurance so I commented with general rules about in network/out of network, copays and coinsurance. Then a particular woman (who had commented previously lashing out at a woman for CIO and was a breastfeeding martyr in the Dallas La Leche League too, so you already know I don't like her) comments, "No, that's now how it worked for me and my insurance!" Ok lady. That's YOU and YOUR insurance. Not helpful to the commenter or her question. You piped up just to be an a$$hole. One more piped up that I was wrong too. She had military insurance - not even related to what the original commenter was asking about! But she had to put her two cents in to create controversy.

(If you're wondering how that comment thread ended, I held my tongue on the idiots and told the original commenter to call the number on the back of her insurance card for a specific quote. I tried to exit that scene as quickly as I {mistakenly} entered it.)

Here's the thing: Mommy Facebook groups have become a place to commiserate. To dump all the ways your toddler isn't behaving the way the mom wants, and not get tips on how to correct it - just to bitch about it. I'm sorry, I just don't find motherhood to be that awful! My kids aren't perfect, but they're pretty kicka$$. We have fun together. If my toddler misbehaves, I discipline him. Trust me, not all of my nights as a mom have been good, but when I did have a bad night, I wouldn't put it in a group and expect to be told I was doing a great job! I don't need validation on my parenting from women I don't know.

I left mommy Facebook groups because all the nonstop complaining of their children was exhausting. If anyone attempted to provide some insight or tips, even in the most encouraging way, she was lashed out against by the moms who wanted to keep it a bitch-fest. If you didn't go there to complain about something, you asked a stupid question that was better answered by google. Like I said, I don't spend much personal time on Facebook anymore. I finally got my act together and decided that when I do, I don't want to see these ridiculous groups with their ridiculous comments. If I have a bad day, I'm texting a girlfriend who will say, "Ohhhhh nooooo! I can be over after nap time. Rose or Pinot and one bottle or two?" And while I don't go to dry cleaners anymore, if I didn't know where one was, I'd pull up my phone and have a quick chat with Siri.

Since ditching these groups I'm happier and more confident in my own parenting. I don't have to worry about what overzealous moms think about CIO ("cry it out" if you're wondering) and my feed isn't clogged with other mom's negative experiences with their toddlers. I no longer spend my time rolling my eyes at the moms so desperate for validation from others. I simply do what I think is best given the personalities of my children. Ditching mommy Facebook groups has made my feed (and my general overall mood) so much more positive! If you're sick of the martyrdom, I suggest you do the same. It's freeing!

17 comments:

  1. One thing that really bothers me is this constant belief in those groups moms are just surviving and getting through each day as moms. I love being a mom and I don't feel overwhelmed all the time...oops. But I agree, most those groups are way too much for me to deal with, I have only been in two groups and those are more informational/tip sharing ones(cloth diapering and tandem nursing!).

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  2. Wow, that private SAHM group that you have to PAY FOR sounds like a real group of winners. I'm in a Chicago group that I LOVE - they're so helpful, supportive, fun, funny, and not like other mommy groups because I have seen and know EXACTLY what you're talking about. It's the same reason I stay out of the faculty room at school - people just love to complain. I understand people need to vent, but if you complain day in and day out with no purpose - not trying to find a solution or learn how to fix it- then you're wasting your time, and you're trying to suck my positive energy. Nope, I won't have it. Moms often just want to complain or be validated that the wrong things they're doing are right instead of joining groups in the spirit of learning, helping, and accepting that you don't know everything.

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  3. Kudos to you! I'm far too forward and blunt to be a part of any of that nonsense. I've never joined a mom group but I have several mom friends who participate in them and it always seems like their bitching about what's being posted and what's going on. DRAMA. No thanks. Ain't nobody got time for that!

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  4. Love this! I'm part of some mommy groups but never actually go to them bc I just don't have the time. So I should really just leave them. Sometimes I wonder if the moms that placate the complaining moms actually think those moms are insane but are trying to be nice. Unfortunately they are making the situation worse by not giving any advice, but people don't always want advice I suppose. They just want to vent.

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  5. I've made a rule to only join Facebook mommy groups that I request. The two I'm in (one for toddler and one for babies) are both really helpful, because they are women looking for answers. But one my friend invited me to was like the situations you've described. I don't want to hear about how your husband is lazy and doesn't do anything right. Talk to him. Be his partner. Don't air your dirty laundry all over the internet for anyone to read!

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  6. There's some really awful mommy Facebook groups out there. I really need to follow your lead and unjoin. Good for you!

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  7. No to Mommy Groups. Just no. IRL and online. Just no.

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  8. Girl, you are my spirit animal. I'm in a few of them... but I hit Unfollow on the posts so they don't show up in my feed. That way I can go search for things if I need to, but I don't have to deal with the drama in my everyday life. And seriously, how did that woman not realize she's enabling her kid in the middle of the night? Crazy people.

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  9. Oh my goodness you are fierce! I love it! My issue with mommy groups was the help forums....haha. I suffer anxiety and when I had my first baby, I went bonkers with worry. I'd always check the forums to see what was wrong and how I could fix it and it just got me more and more upset. Then, getting in the midst of the mommy wars, Holy cow. I'm on my second pregnancy right now and haven't even looked at a "what to expect"...I haven't gone on a mommy board for how to help my son with issues or milestones for months! If I have a questions...which I have a million on how to transition from 1 to 2 kids, I ask my friends who have been there, done that and my mom, aunts, and older cousins--people I trust and who actually care about me and my children and know us.

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  10. I feel like facebook groups can be really enlightening (in almost a scary way) into how other people act and deal with their lives! I'm in some (non-Mom) groups, married people groups, that are the same way. It makes me thankful that my marriage isn't a struggle, but also makes me wonder why people complain about some of the stuff that they do!

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  11. I never joined mommy facebook groups and I'm glad I never did. I don't understand it. I really don't. I can't stand when moms think they're better than others. So annoying.

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  12. I have anxiety just reading this post hahahahaha those groups sound like another way for women to be catty and competitive. No thanks!

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  13. HAHA! I'm with Amanda. Reading this stresses me out like F! I can't believe there's a whole different space to be catty over children :(

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  14. i'm with amanda and supal lol. this post gave me anxiety, let alone being in the actual groups. i unfollowed/unjoined a bunch of groups, things, whatever on facebook and deleted a bunch of people a couple of years ago and i've never been happier. not a mother, but still. i don't know what it is about facebook that makes people complain and talk shit to people. calm down peeps.

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  15. Amen! I had a moment earlier this year when I was getting really frazzled over something and realized I was starting to compare my home to what I refer to as Pinterest Mommies and that's when I realized it's time to unplug more. Comparison can be toxic along with groups that do not empower such as those you've described. I love the idea of mommy groups but it's about empowerment, supporting one another and less about venting or showcasing the perfect facade. Loved your post....SO refreshing and I absolutely agree!

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  16. I don't have kids but I could definitely see where those groups would be tough to be a part of fast!

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  17. Paige, this is such a good post! Yes, I am part of one and am thinking about leaving if because softball the nut jobs! That and it is just people whining, asking the same questions, and just seeking validation for their sometimes bad choices. Listen, my kids are pretty bad sleepers but we work on it! The last thing I would EVER do is give them choices in the middle of the night! And that much sugar yikes no wonder her daughter can't sleep!

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