mommy groups

The Problem with Mommy Groups

I think I spent my entire pregnancy in denial – under a false illusion that once baby was here I would know exactly what to do, and that everything would magically fall into place. Except, it didn’t. Suddenly, I had this brand new, pink, squeaking, frog-like human in my arms and panic set in. How will I know when to change its nappy. What size nappy? What brand of nappy? When does it eat? How does it eat? How much does it eat? OhMyGodWhenAmIEverGoingToEatAgain?!

And so, I sought advice from the experts. Other moms. 

Facebook, with all its faults, does offer us one great thing – mommy groups. And if there’s one thing a mommy loves, it’s a mommy group on Facebook. Before my baby was barely more than some drying wee on a dipstick, I had been added to more Faceook groups than I could remember. Breastfeeding groups, gentle parent groups, Joburg groups, groups about groups, groups abut those groups who group together. You get the point. 

My newsfeed was filled daily with panic stricken moms asking for consultations on their baby’s rash, moms asking for reliable family photographers and moms looking to sell little Johnnys ‘barely used’ burp cloth.

At first, I loved it, I sucked in the parenting advice like an alcoholic on relapse. Everything fascinated me! No ‘is this poo even normal’ question was too much for my insatiable appetite, no requests for ‘it’s little Julie’s birthday in 7 minutes and I need one hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes’ could scare me away. Oh no, I was mommy group befok. 

Until I started asking my own questions.

They started off innocently enough. One day I asked if anyone could recommend a good book to read during maternity leave (and we laughed and laughed). I also posed on the group the day before my son was born, and the love poured in. Then, I had the absolute gall, the CHEEK, to post about something that required a point of view. Circumcision. Words like ‘baby massacre’ and ‘genital mutilation’ spring to mind. My post elicited hundreds of responses where women, who I have never met and who have never met me unleashed their verbal abuse. 

I’m not alone. I have seen hundreds of moms torn to shreds for even mentioning the word ‘bottle fed’ or (gasp!) ‘C Section’. Questions around how many ml’s a baby should be drinking were met with very angry women lambasting anything that didn’t come out of the boob. Cute pics of ‘baby’s nursery linen’ were followed with Internet links to cot deaths and SIDS stats.

Eventually, I started to unfollow most of the groups, and retreated into the corner like a scolded school child. From there, I observed, and watched more innocent ladies fall to the merciless hands of the know-it-all-parent.

I have chosen to remain on two Facebook groups, where abuse is met with a quick removal by the page admin, but having been burnt a few times I am hesitant to post anything more than an innocuous update about something that can’t offend anyone. (puppies running through tulips, and that sort of thing)

Motherhood is fucking tough. We all have our days where we have no idea what we’re doing. I’m still so grateful to the few groups I remain on and the 99% of moms out there who are genuine and helpful, and don’t mind a difference of opinion.

To those moms, the invisible personas behind the profile pictures, I thank you. We may have never met, but you have helped me in more ways than you know.

mommy groups

PS – I still can’t help anyone with a hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes. Sorry.

Authors Bio

Kate Kearney

Kate Kearney

When not busy with her day job as a Digital Account Manager, Kate writes for her lifestyle and parenting blog “Rupert Approves” trains (often unsuccessfully) for triathlons, drinks wine, is new mom to son Carter James (born May 2015) and fur-kids Rupert to Bella, bores her husband Barry with her tireless jokes and dabbles in photography.

Kate believes that love is in the details, that no sarcasm should ever be faked and that making things found on Pinterest should be an allowable profession.

You can find Kate on TwitterInstagram and on her blog Rupert Approves.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Silvana 30th July 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I sooo relate!! Same happened to me with ear piercing my little daughter!! WOW, never thought a mom could actually say my little one looked like a tramp at 6weeks because I pierced her ears!
    I laugh and look back to those first days where I checked those groups 24/7, now, I know better… Actually the Search tool makes it so much easier.

    Nice pic BTW!

    • Reply mammas 30th July 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Wow Silvana! You can do nothing but laugh really! We’ve just got to take it all with a pinch of salt. Xx

  • Reply Lauren Kinghorn 20th June 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Bwahahaha! I loved your post Kate. And to think I was about to join facebook just for the Mommies groups. If I ever do I’ll get back to you on which one’s are kosher (excuse the pun).

    • Reply mammas 20th June 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Lol. Thanks Lauren! Xx

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