AN: I wrote this way back in 2019, or, the year 1 B.C.- Before Covid. I have not touched the dumpster fire that is Facebook in a while. I’m like 2 months clean at this point. I’m also not seeking internet fame anymore. I’m over it.
But I felt like posting some drafts anyways. And I’m hoping maybe some of my content can actually help someone out there. Even just one person 💕 I’ve gotten a lot of help from stuff like this in the day.
There aren’t any fun pictures in this because I don’t feel like looking at it for all that long. I had meant to find some and insert them but I honestly can’t be bothered anymore
I’m totally “re branding” this whole thing at some point. But I don’t have a lot of spare time these days anyway. I don’t know what I’m saying. Anyway.
I have been saying for the longest time that I’m going to cut back on social media. And for a while, I had been doing okay!
But as with any addiction, there are victories and there are setbacks. And I’ve been having a few setbacks lately.
As I’ve said before, social media is a wonderful tool–but it’s like fire. If you use it in the correct way, things like Facebook and Instagram can help warm you through cold, lonely nights up late nursing or with a fussy baby as you commiserate with other moms.
But if you’re not careful, you can get burned. By comparison, mom-shame/guilt, etc.
Now I have gotten so much great advice from my multiple moms groups on Facebook. I’ve navigated through difficult phases, gotten reassurance for many different worries, and I’ve even had my chance to share my own helpful advice with other Moms in need.
Being a mom, especially a stay-at-home mom, can be lonely and isolating, so it’s great that we have access to hundreds of other moms who are along the same journey. Moms groups can also be a great place to escape when it’s too much.
But not all moms groups are created equally. As great as they are, I’ve recently come to find that there are some aspects of Moms groups that aren’t so uplifting.
If you’ve been feeling down lately and you’re not sure why, it could be your online Mom’s group. Or more specifically, certain types of posts in these Mom’s groups.
Here’s a few I’ve come across in my few years of motherhood in social media (keep in mind this is about no real person in particular, these examples are generalizations and personifications of posts. I’m know irl the Moms behind this content are out there doing their best like the rest of us):
We all love to share our kids’ accomplishments with family and friends. The second it looks like little Henri is about to take his first steps, we’ve got our phones out with our favorite Snapchat filter ready to capture it and send it to the Grandparents.
And who can blame us?? It’s exciting! The bittersweetness that is our babies growing is something that should be shared with everyone we love.
But why stop there? With the power of the internet literally in the palms of our hands, we can now also share these precious moments with extended family, friends, classmates, former co-workers…soon everyone on our feed will know that Jemmy has memorized her colors in French and Spanish and she’s not even 3 yet!
I think you get where I’m going. These are the Moms that feel compelled to brag about their little ones to their Mom’s pages. Because every Mom needs to know that Stacey’s little one is fully potty-trained (day AND night!!!1!1!!) at 11 months.
Don’t get me wrong, like I said before there is nothing wrong with being proud of your baby. And of course we want to celebrate other moms and their victories. I can’t stop anyone from going to share these moments with their groups, nor would I want to, really!
I say all that coming from the perspective of the Mom worrying about their own kids’ meeting or not meeting their milestones. For her, coming across these posts could just take the wind out her sails.
If you’ve been finding yourself in a place where you can’t help but compare apples to oranges, please keep in mind that all of our kids are like suns and moons and stars–they all shine in their own time (totally saw that on Facebook haha but it’s so true).
Let me just tell you, I have seen some stuff in the comments section of a few Moms groups that made it feel like I never left high school.
I can best describe some of the actions of these Moms as straight up cyber-bullying. I’ve seen posts tagging other moms just to drag them through the mud for disagreeing with one or a few of the other Moms, even going so far as to make mean memes using the other moms’ actual profile pictures.
And that’s not all. In some groups, I’ve seen them play “games” where they instruct members to tag a Mom they think is pretty, and another they think is ugly, and ask them to try to figure out who is who.
Personally, I think it’s a horrible thing for anyone to do, especially for moms to do to other moms! Our bodies go through so much to bring our beloved kids into the world. And putting all our focus into these beloved kids can leave us neglecting our overall appearance, so of course many tagged photos of us likely won’t always be very flattering.
Furthermore, we don’t fully know one anothers’ struggles. Someone’s comment in what is supposed to be a light-hearted game could really hurt another Mom, and could even lead to her spiraling into a dangerous state of mind.
With all of that being said, I still feel like these groups are very valuable. As I mentioned, it can get lonely being a SAHM, so these types of groups are great for tough-skinned Moms looking for ways to pass time while making connections with other Moms. They just might not be right for the faint-of-heart.
As a “Scrunchy” Mom, I pride myself on being pretty flexible in my parenting style–not too far into any extreme. Personally, I feel like if you don’t take a little bit of everything, you’re only limiting yourself.
I don’t want to talk too badly about any Mom’s style. To me, as long as your kids are safe and happy, what should it matter what “methods,” or lack thereof you use? Whatever works for you and your kids, works for you and your kids.
So there’s no need to push your style on anyone else, or shame another Mom for deciding not to have her boy circumcised, or for feeding pre-jarred baby food instead of baby-led weaning, etc, etc.
I’ve seen Moms GO OFF on each other for their style of parenting. How they choose to discipline, how they potty train, you name it, there’s a Mom who had something to say, and not a lot of it nice.
I don’t see the harm in sharing whatever data you have that “proves” your way is effective to let Moms decide if it’s for them. But at the end of the day, I still maintain that as long as the kids are fed, sheltered, and loved, that is all that matters.
The Clique-y Moms
Not to be confused with the bullies.
Some groups may have names that attract Moms to join at first, but then they end up being filled with Moms whose philosophies don’t vibe with others’.
You might find after you join a certain Moms group that you’ve become inundated with posts that make you roll your eyes and/or cringe. Soon enough, you might find yourself in a time-suck of reading through comment threads that might be entertaining at first, but then before you know it, you’ve clicked through the whole group and suddenly naptime is almost over and you haven’t gotten anything done other than get annoyed.
Again, as I mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with having a different Mom style. But if you’re part of a group where you don’t agree with other Moms, and might even be tempted to say something not-so-nice, perhaps it’s best to leave.
You might not realize it, but having a presence in that group and therefore being subject to its content may be contributing to a sudden bad mood.
Instagram is a whole other animal and has its own sub-categories:
The Beach Body/MLM Moms
Let me first say I personally have no problem with Moms who have found success with Beach Body or any other MLM. I also have no problem with being approached by Moms for potential business with them. I’m a big believer in nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I welcome any inquiries, and if I can afford it, I MIGHT buy something. But I have done all of my homework, and have decided long ago that MLM just is not for me.
It’s when it becomes spammy or predatory that I have an issue. I’ve read about Moms targeting plus-sized Mamas or Moms who, “Look like they could use some help.” These MLMoms basically make the Moms feel bad about their appearance and convince them to become a part of their team, possibly with them not fully understanding and only joining hoping they might find success.
And that’s not ok, ok?
The Mommy Influencers
I’ve come across a lot of Insta-Moms sharing things called, “Follow Trains.” In these posts, a Mom will tag several other Moms and instruct potential likers to like the “Follow Train” post, go to the listed users’ pages and follow all of them, and THEN like ALL of their “Follow Train” posts AND comment either a certain emoji or answer a question. All of this with the promise that MAYBE they will follow back or MAYBE feature random “inspiring” Moms in their Instagram stories.
These posts appeal to Moms who are trying to “organically” grow their following. I’ll admit, I’ve found myself a passenger on several Follow Trains recently. And it’s honestly led me to some really cool Moms, so I’m glad I did them! But, I’ve noticed them kind of bumming me out more than doing anything for my presence or feeling of self-actualization.
These types of posts can be a real time, energy, and self-esteem suck if you’re not careful. Like I said, they can lead to great connections and even more followers, but you need to know when to stop.
The Mommy Models
Not necessarily actual models or celebrities who are Moms, although how can we not at least subconsciously compare ourselves to these otherworldly beings, even though logically we know they’ve had their pictures most likely airbrushed and photoshopped?
I’m also talking about the Moms you may have added on a whim, or even Moms you know through varying degrees of separation. The ones who’ve always been thin, and who go to Instagram a few weeks postpartum, with their yoga pants and half shirt in a classic Instagram “horse stance (we all do it, I know),” looking the same as they did in High School with the caption “Can’t wait to get my body back!”
Or, the ones who say things like, “All these stretch marks, the loose skin, and the extra pounds are worth it for you!” Even though again, they look like they were just cut out of a magazine…
Are they just fishing for compliments? It’s very likely. Do they actually have body image issues after going through the dramatic transformation that is pregnancy, childbirth, and the fourth trimester? It’s very, very likely.
We don’t know each other’s stories, so we shouldn’t judge. But, it is hard not to feel inadequate when someone so seemingly fabulous is bashing her figure.
But please keep in mind, this is Instagram! It’s literally the grownup version of the Land Of Make Believe! With its filters, editing tools, and even its cohort apps, Beauty Plus and Facetune, most of what you see is brushed up.
Not only that, but you’re only seeing the very best of the best. Even the bad stuff is staged to look cutesy and aesthetic. Unless you step foot into another Mama’s actual world, who’s to say what’s really real?
I know that was a lot. And I’m not saying all this to tell you you have to remove yourself from any groups entirely. Not at all! Because like I said, any and every different type of Moms group has something to offer, for better or worse.
Personally, I have started snoozing or unfollowing the groups that I found to be bringing me down more than lifting me up. That way I’m still a part of them and can visit them from time to time or go to them with a question. But this way I don’t have to constantly see the parts of these groups that bum me out or irritate me.
I’ve also discovered that the groups that include words like “Support,” or, “No-judgement” are the best places to ask a question, as you are less likely to get the less sympathetic or “sancti-mommies” making you feel bad for not knowing something.
And of course, cutting back on social media in general does wonders for mental health. Easier said than done, I know, but just like little Henri, it’s those baby steps that lead to big change!
Have any of you Mamas noticed your online groups bringing you down? How do you handle a social media-induced funk? Let us know in the comments!