Mom Group (noun); a place for superior parents to offer their unsolicited opinions on everything you’re doing wrong.
It’s a relatively new concept, a cyber collective sharing child related information. A forum for mothers to learn, grow, inquire and encourage. Except for when it’s not.
When I became pregnant a friend of mine approached me like, “I’ll have to add you to the local mom group on Facebook!” And I thought, “Sure, why not?” Better than sharing my random (and sometimes embarrassing) pregnancy concerns with the rest of my ‘friends’, half of whom are old high school acquaintances I haven’t seen or spoken to in the 10 years since graduation.
It started off harmless enough, a DIY morning sickness remedy here, a teething question there.. But it didn’t take long for me to realize just how many holier-than-thou mothers there are in this world. It’s actually pretty terrifying. Like, am I really going to have to interact with these people once Ava is of school-going age? The thought alone is unsettling enough to consider homeschooling..
I mean, honestly, what’s the point of labelling something a “safe space” if you just end up berated and insulted? Call me crazy, but I have a firm belief that as women it is our duty to uplift each other instead of tear each other down. Our responsibility to support each other without judgement. Society does enough of that for us already, we should be standing united, giving it a metaphorical, and literal middle finger.
So what if Jennifer is venting about her husband who every Sunday, sits around in his pjs watching Duck Dynasty instead of helping her clean? Jennifer has a right to do so. And frankly, Jennifer’s husband needs to get his ass in gear and DVR that shit.
She doesn’t need you chiming in, referencing your “perfect marriage” and how you would “never publicly shame your husband behind his back”
Because News Flash, Debbie.. Whether you choose to believe it or not, your husband has almost certainly complained about you at some point. However trivial that complaint may be. Like maybe it’s because you’re always using up the hot water whenever you shave your legs in the shower. Or maybe it’s because you accidentally shrunk his lucky shorts right before his big intramural basketball tournament.
It’s just what spouses do sometimes. It doesn’t mean their relationship is somehow inferior or dysfunctional.
The moral of the story here, Deb, is that Jennifer just wanted a safe space to vent her frustrations before she was driven to inflict bodily harm on her spouse. All she wanted to hear was a sympathetic “I hear you, girl. Hang in there” and not a “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DISRESPECTING YOUR HUSBAND LIKE THAT. HOW SHAMEFUL”
And so what if Allison wants to co-sleep? She doesn’t need you citing the 5 different articles you found on Google that talk about how detrimental she’s being to her child’s health and safety. She’s doing what she feels is best for her child and her family. She’s not asking to come over and snuggle your child to sleep every night.
And SO WHAT if Nancy decided to formula feed instead of breast? I’m pretty sure Nancy knows that “breast is best” and doesn’t need you making her feel like less of a mother for her decision. As long as her child is getting the nourishment it needs, who are you to dictate how that should be accomplished?
I’ve seen a lot during my year as a “mom group member”. Everything from fun new baby products, cute videos, and one too many a Buzzfeed article, to anti-vax debates, in-law drama, and questions that should definitely be left for medical professionals.
And what I’ve learned is that when it comes to children, there are a boatload of “hot button” topics where you’re going to encounter very strong opinions on both ends of the spectrum. But we’re supposed to be reasonable, mature adults here. Don’t we teach our children that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical of us?
Unless your child is directly affecting or endangering my own, who am I to tell you how to parent them? And who are you to tell me that your approach to parenting is in any way superior to mine?
The truth is that none of us have a single clue what we’re doing. We just dive into this experience head first with good intentions and the highest hopes that our children will grow up to be the best versions of themselves. And that’s actually a really scary concept when you think about it. We’re just out here creating the next generation and crossing our fingers that we’re doing a good job.
“It takes a village”, or so they say. So let’s do our part to keep that village a happy place. Somewhere you wouldn’t want to move far away from because its residents are a bunch of assholes.