Mom groups can be wonderful. Their members share in-the-field experiences and valuable insights, and don't mind having entire conversations with newbies on how to get a fussy baby back to sleep or how to potty train a toddler.
But the good stuff is often surrounded by the bad. Every now and then, there's a post judging vaccines or a comment suggesting Ethanol as a boy's name. In fact, such content is so frequent, it even gave rise to a subreddit making fun of it.
Talya Stone, a former editor-in-chief turned parenting blogger and the woman behind Motherhood: The Real Deal and 40 Now What told Bored Panda that online mom groups are definitely hit or miss. "A lot of them can be a hotbed for toxicity and riling each other up," she said.
"I think with all social media platforms and forums it's about taking everything with a pinch of salt and not getting sucked in too deep. Some, however, can be great for advice when you have a specific query."
Stone suggests treating mom groups like buying a house: "Go and visit the neighbourhood (group) and get a sense of if you like it. Evaluate if you honestly like the energy and vibe, see what kind of conversations are happening there and if you like it — great! If not, move on to the next neighbourhood and find one you feel more comfortable with."
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At the end of the day, Stone believes that nothing can replace a face-to-face connection and that goes for moms too. "The pandemic has made this really difficult but now is the time to start rebuilding," she said.
"Strike up a conversation at the school gate, park, or coffee shop. We have become so scared of real-life interactions but we need to move on and start forming those connections again — online things can quickly become very distorted."
Vicki Broadbent, a writer, director, broadcaster, and founder of the parenting blog Honest Mum, told Bored Panda that "mom groups, be it Whatsapp groups with the nursery/schools moms or via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can provide critical support for parents."
"I remember the support, friendship, and camaraderie I garnered from Twitter when I had my first child, Oliver, and how that allowed me to connect with like-minded parents easily and usually during unsociable hours when I was nursing in the night too. It was amazing."
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She also reminded that sometimes we simply aren't able to get together in person. "The pandemic has highlighted how important online support can be for parents where face-to-face access has been limited. You can find all sorts of parenting groups on Facebook for all kinds of needs (from breastfeeding groups to fitness, those with specific medical conditions, and more) so I'd recommend searching there, and joining some, feeling your way through different ones in a bid to find your tribe!" Broadbent said, adding that you can also check out some apps whose job is to connect you to nearby parents in your area for online and real-life meet-ups that can be of huge help as well.
"There's no need to feel alone," the mom said.