I've had Facebook since the early days - 2004 to be precise - but for years I spent most of my time on Twitter. That all changed when I got pregnant, as I started to join FB groups for pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood. After I had #BabyPi, and I spent hours nursing my little human, I started spending a lot of time on FB, reading and posting in mommy groups. Sometimes I was looking for answers, like why my baby hadn't pooped in 5 days (seriously, the stuff you worry about as a new mama is insane, but that's a post for a different day). Most of the time though, I'm just reading and scrolling, posting when the mood strikes me.
I have this love-hate relationship with most of the groups I've joined. I initially joined to gain information, and I find them to be valuable resources of information. But they also drive me nuts with a level of insanity I've never seen before. Why do these groups drive me crazy?
THE SAME QUESTIONS ARE REPEATED OVER AND OVER - This is by far the biggest pet peeve I have with FB mommy groups. It's like these women have never heard of a search function! In my breastfeeding group, everyday there's a new post asking if you can drink alcohol or coffee, or how to boost supply, or how to fix a latch. I get it - mamas need help. I was the same way when Phi first came home. But I (wisely) searched the group before I asked questions, because I was pretty sure my question had already been asked and answered. Why other moms I don't do this, I will never understand, but I wish they would start.
THEY GET AN ATTITUDE WHEN THEY DON'T LIKE THE ANSWERS THEY RECEIVE - ever dealt with a kid who asked for something, and then pouted when the answer was "no"? I see that behavior from grown ass women every single day. I don't understand the logic behind asking for advice, and then getting mad when you don't like the advice you receive, but whatevs. If you have all the answers, why are you asking a group of strangers?
THEY LOVE TO TRY TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER - I absolutely detest the posts that are solely to brag on their baby. Listen, I think my kid is a genius, and she probably is given that I'm a chemist/former rocket scientist & her dad is a mathematician. However I do not post daily about how my kid was rolling over at 6 weeks old or walking to school by herself at nine months. The other day a mom made a post about how her 3 month old is sitting up unassisted and all I could do was roll my eyes. Great for you lady, but 1-I don't believe you and 2-who cares?
VACCINE DISCUSSIONS ARE ALWAYS A HOT MESS - nothing gets me riled up like the topic of vaccines. They ALWAYS dissolve into an argument between sane people who believe in vaccines and the nutjobs who still believe in fake science. As a scientist, I feel strongly that vaccine save lives. My kid is getting her vaccines on schedule. We plan to keep her away from kids who are intentionally not vaccinated. We live in an area that's being dealing with a measles outbreak for months and it drives me nuts that children are suffering from measles for no good reason. To me, not vaccinating is child abuse and I have little tolerance for it. I recognize that not every child can be vaccinated but I have no patience or sympathy for people who intentionally do not vaccinate their kid because they believe in junk science. Also, I'm really tired of people trying to justify their anti-vaccine stance by posting links to random websites - THAT'S NOT RESEARCH!
ALL THE ARGUMENTS AND JUDGMENTAL COMMENTS - No matter how innocuous the topic, there's the potential that it will dissolve into an argument, complete with name-calling and judgments of parenting skill. Some particularly bad threads end with mamas leaving the group - always after making a post stating that the group is full of drama so they're leaving - and/or deleting their posts. I have snarky thoughts about posts I see about 8000 times a day, but I keep them to myself or share them with Twitter, cause that's just polite (ha!).
Despite the downsides to Facebook mama groups, I still find them valuable - I've learned a lot and I try to pass on the knowledge and experiences that I've had. Above all else, they are extremely entertaining and always guaranteed to give me a good laugh when I need it. And when I've needed support or a question answered, I've found mama groups to be helpful in that regard. Now if we only we could get these broads to start using the search feature....