An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Mom Group Advice

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Mom Group Advice

The trends I've noticed about mom group questions and advice


I've posted about the proverbial "mom groups" before. A bunch of women grouped together, the only thing in common is that we're trying to raise little humans. We have different education levels, income levels, different parenting methods, different jobs or careers, different relationship statuses, and live in different cities and even different countries. Just a massive hodgepodge of women! Some are grouped based on your child's gender, some on the age of your children, some on the location of your home, some on your parenting philosophy, like extended breastfeeding or attachment parenting. Moms can join discussions, ask or answer questions, post funny memes. Sounds like a great way to forge an online community, right? Ha! Mom groups are a funny breed. Things get heated quickly. Tone can't be read on the internet and moms get offended at the slightest thing. The oddest thing is when a mom asks for advice. That's when mom groups get plain weird.

Do you seek advice in mom group? It's kinda like playing Russian roulette... You never know what you're gonna get!

What do I mean, you ask? Let's say a mom asks a question on her 8 month's old sleep habits. She's wondering if her baby waking up every two hours is normal, or if she can start to "sleep train" her baby. Oh Lordy, hold on to your seats, because things are about to get heated and weird! Mom number one pipes in and says yes, it's normal but that by 8 months, if her pediatrician gives the ok and the mom is comfortable with it, she can start to sleep train in whatever method works for mom and baby (this, BTW, would be the response I'd personally give. It's accurate information and also respectful to the mother and her parenting style, whatever that may be. Or, at least, that's my intent!)

Mom number 2 comes through to comment. "Good grief, why have you waited so long to sleep train?! It might not even work now. Good luck with that, your baby already has bad habits!" Not exactly helpful mom two, but whatever. Mom 3: "Is your baby breastfed? Breastfed babies wake up because they need comfort too, not just because he's hungry. If he cries and you don't go to him, you're emotionally damaging him! Don't even think about night weaning him until 18 months to two years of age or he'll resent you!" Ummmmm... This post wasn't about breastfeeding mom 3, but that's cool. Mom 4: "CIO (cry it out) is borderline child abuse. Just so you know." Ooookkkurrrr mom 4, not a helpful or true statement. Mom 5: "I don't know, but my perfect baby has slept through the night since the day we brought her home from the hospital." Thanks for letting us all know how great your baby is mom 5! Also? Everyone eye rolled pretty hard at you and how perfect your child is... Just so you know.

It gets better and better (aka weirder and weirder) the more comments that get dropped. Everyone has their two cents that cover the gamete of parenting scopes and perspectives. Eventually, the conversation devolves to something like this: Mom 56, "Y'all are a bunch of judgmental jerks! This mom didn't ask for your opinions, she asked if she could sleep train. Keep your opinions to yourself and keep scrolling next time!" Well... it's true that some people may have left some judgmental comments, but the original poster ABSOLUTELY asked for peoples opinions. That's why she left a question, soliciting people's responses.
A helpful response (jokes!) to an... Interesting question

The best is when the original question-asking mom swoops back in and starts yelling at all the people who commented on her post (you know... After she asked for people to comment or respond to her question) "Why are you all such a$$holes!? I never said I was going to let my baby cry, I just wanted to know if him waking up every two hours was normal! Jeez, y'all are opinionated. Go judge yourselves!" Look mom, I get what you're saying but the fact is you asked a mom group for their opinions... And you got them. So, you know, you got what you asked for.

I myself have been called a know-it-all in a mom group. I find this hilarious! I try to take all my personal opinion or personal parenting style out of any response I have and just make it about facts. So, for example, if a mom asks, "what's the best way to ensure breastfeeding success for me and my baby?" I'd reply, "feed on demand and latch the baby to your breast as much as possible. Drink tons of water and eat well!" I guess that matter of fact tone doesn't sit well with everyone, and it comes off as a know it all. Ok... but if I'm the one with the knowledge and you're the one with the question, what's the problem with that?

That's the internet for you though. Try to just leave a helpful response, and people will still be crazy about what you have to say. Don't position it just right and they're offended. Don't cushion it correctly, and you're a jerk. Or a know it all. Heaven forbid you may actually KNOW the answer to a question that's asked.
Oh boy. Please give your child more juice...

The funny thing about mom groups is that this is, from my experience, unique to mom groups. I'm in some blogging groups, and nobody reacts the way moms do in mom groups. People ask questions and are genuinely thankful for any and all advice and perspectives. I'm in a photography group and even the nastiest replies are met with, "wow, I never thought of it that way, that's great info to consider!" But mom groups? Nah, these women don't consider other perspectives or ways of parenting. They ask a question and proceed to get as hurt and offended by the people replying as they possibly can. It's so bizarre.

That's what I don't understand about mom groups. It seems like a question gets asked from a fellow mom seeking out mom group advice, but she's not really ready for the answer. She doesn't want anyone else's opinion - in fact, she's often offended or hurt by them. Even when people respond with the best of intentions, the online conversations often go awry. I'm not saying that all the respondents reply with good intentions, because they don't! Some comment just to bash the mom, which is another thing I don't get. The whole dynamic of participating in mom groups is pretty wild. But, motherhood in and of itself is pretty wild, so I guess the mom group advice columns are fitting after all.

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