35 Times Insane Moms Went Way Too Far And Got Shamed On The “Mumsnet Madness” Twitter Account
If you’re a parent with an internet connection, chances are you’ve been part of an online parenting group at least once or twice. Argue all you want about their controversial nature, but deep down inside, you know there are legions of reasons why people gather in these little communities. Whether to find empathy and support, share experiences, or be shamelessly imperfect, they can be a lifeline to moms and dads trying to navigate this highly challenging and equally rewarding journey.
But there's another explanation why we succumb to the lure of scrolling through these groups — the funny, bizarre, and utterly insane stories that almost make us lose all faith in humanity. So behold! Here’s an entertaining corner on Twitter called 'Mumsnet Madness' dedicated to shaming the painfully funny threads found on the forum. "Digging through Mumsnet so you don’t have to," the creator writes in the description, and we can’t thank them enough.
Our team at Bored Panda scoured the account — horrified by the amount of abbreviations in the posts — and wrapped up an entertaining collection of the craziest stories we found. So buckle up and get ready for a wild ride as you scroll down to decipher them. Keep reading to also find an in-depth interview with a family blogger from Australia, Holly Connors. Then hit upvote on your favorite ones, and don’t forget to share what you think in the comments!
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Ever since 'Mumsnet Madness' graced us with its online presence in 2015, it has been documenting hilariously cringey discussions from the forum’s message boards. With over 60k followers, it has become the perfect outlet to find provocative, controversial, and downright hilarious content posted on the site. The page provides much-needed entertainment and proves that Mumsnet, just like other online parenting groups, is a breeding ground for wild stories.
Justine Roberts, founder and CEO of Mumsnet, started the forum in 2000. The inspiration to create the website came after a disastrous family holiday, aiming to provide a safe space for parents to swap advice on virtually anything. Today, it's the biggest network for moms and dads in the UK, with 7 million unique users per month posting around 22k messages a day.
It’s nice for adults who embark on the parenting journey to know they have a place of refuge to ask questions and share their feelings. But seeing how some parents act online begs the question: why do these controversial groups attract so many crazy people?
To gain more insight on the topic, we reached out to a lifestyle blogger and a working mom of two energetic girls, Holly Connors. After a decade of building her career in psychology, Holly is now the author of the acclaimed site Simplify Create Inspire where she helps families make their lives easier. According to her, there are a few reasons why these groups attract questionable folk.
"First, people are more likely to share their wildest stories online because they can remain relatively anonymous — whether using a different name online or simply because it's a community unknown to them. They don't have to worry about judgment from their friends or family members," Holly told Bored Panda.
The next concerning reason is that people tend to exaggerate their stories when they share them online, she added. "It's easy to make something sound more dramatic when you're not telling it to someone's face."
"Lastly, some people just enjoy stirring up drama and creating chaos in online parenting groups. They get a kick out of seeing other people's reactions and maybe even thrive on the negativity. Whatever the reason, there are times when it's not the most positive environment to be in as a parent," Holly explained.
And she has a point. Any person who has been a part of these groups knows they are a puzzling mix of support, criticism, and blatantly terrible advice. What’s more, they are the perfect pitfall for spreading lies. Recent research by George Washington University found that mainstream parenting communities on Facebook were infiltrated by powerful misinformation machinery from extremist groups shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic began.
The researchers looked into Facebook parent groups boasting about 100 million users in total. Particularly, they examined the health debate that erupted in these communities in late 2020. The results revealed that parenting communities were exposed to misinformation from two different sources.
First is the abundance of alternative health communities which acted as conduits and ensured a flow of misinformation between mainstream parenting communities and "conspiracy theory communities that promote misinformation about climate change, fluoride, chemtrails and 5G." Secondly, they found "an adjacent core of tightly bonded, yet largely under-the-radar, anti-vaccination communities" that consistently supplied false facts to parents online.
"Our results call into question any moderation approaches that focus on the largest and hence seemingly most visible communities, as opposed to the smaller ones that are better embedded," researcher Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at GW, said in a press release. "Clearly, combatting online conspiracy theories and misinformation cannot be achieved without considering these multi-community sources and conduits." So any parent seeking advice online needs to put a thinking cap on and double-check every fact before buying into false information.
But misinformation isn’t the only danger for parents online. These groups also lead to people being misguided and following the wrong advice. "There are a lot of people online who are more than happy to share their (often unqualified) opinions on parenting," Holly told us. "And because we all parent differently, what works for one family might not work for another. So it's important to be cautious about the advice you take and always remember that you know your child best."
Another issue is when parents spend too much time looking for guidance instead of trusting their gut, forming opinions, and coming up with their own solutions to everyday problems. Online parenting groups can crush people’s ability to make their own judgments and even invalidate their parenting instincts.
However, Holly believes everything depends on the parent. "Some people are very confident in their parenting abilities and trust their gut instinct implicitly. Others might be more prone to second-guessing themselves and looking for validation from others — whether that's online or offline."
"There's nothing wrong with seeking advice from others, but I think it's important to be selective about who you take advice from," the blogger added. "Just because someone is a parent doesn't mean they're an expert, and just because someone shares a story online doesn't mean it's true. So always use your best judgment and trust your gut instinct above all else."
But we’re not here to vilify all online parenting groups. After all, for every bizarre, peculiar, and critical post, there’s also a positive one. It’s easy to devour yourself in the craziness and overlook that these communities offer support, and even a lifeline, to strangers during difficult times.
"I definitely think there are positive aspects to online parenting groups as well," Holly noted. "It can be a great way to connect with other parents — especially if you don't have many friends or family members who are in the same season of life as you are right now. You can share your struggles and triumphs, ask for advice, and even just vent about the tough days."
"So while there are definitely some negative aspects to these groups, I think the positive ones outweigh them. And as long as you're selective about who you take advice from and remember that you know yourself and your situation best, they can be a great resource for parents," she said and added they can help you feel less alone and provide support when you need it most.
Choose your online community wisely, Holly advised. "Find communities that are highly moderated and supportive, steering clear of any that leave you feeling drained or negative."
"Of course, it's always helpful to get outside perspectives, but at the end of the day, you should do what you think is best for your child. They're the only ones who truly matter in this equation." Holly concluded by saying that parenting is hard enough without having to worry about judgment from others — "especially internet strangers! So find your tribe and trust your gut instinct. There is no one size fits all for parenting!"