I’ve often said I don’t know how moms did it back in the days before Facebook. The Waco breastfeeding mamas group was a lifeline for me in those early days trying to figure it all out. My main source of entertainment is scrolling groups for getting “in the know” about Waco, laughing with the “women and moms” and “buy/sell/trading” with my fellow Wacoans. I’ve seen transplants go to those groups to announce their plans to move here and ask all the things. And perhaps the most touching and I think most important thing I’ve seen is the new Moms who come to the groups for advice on some of the most intimate and personal things from anxiety about her child’s health to postpartum depression and marriage counseling. We no longer live in the physical village surrounded by our mothers and old wives. We are often isolated in our homes alone with a new baby who didn’t come with an instruction manual. We seek the advice of internet strangers in our digital social village. And we’ve all seen that go 0 to 100 real quick.
So here are a few tips to help you navigate the Facebook Mom group landscape.
May the gifs be ever in your favor.
Don’t say sanctimommy – motherhood is a deeply personal thing. Everyone is trying to figure out what’s right for them and their family. And everyone thinks they’re right. Whether it’s sleep or discipline or birth plans someone has an opinion different from yours. Some things boil down to safety and some moms are legitimate experts offering free support. But words are important and tone is hard to read in text. Assume that the other Mom is going to assume you’re tearing her down. Don’t assume that the mom offering advice or disagreeing is tearing you down. Don’t assume that your way or opinion is the only right way. Assume that we’re all insecure and doing the best we can and choose what we think is the right way, so structure your feedback in a supportive way. And even if you feel like she’s being one, don’t call anyone a sanctimommy.
Call your nurse line first – Google does not give out medical degrees (yet) and no one can diagnose you or your child without looking at them. Even doctors use trial and error when they physically SEE patients. If you’re concerned about a health issue call your nurse line. Seasoned moms can tell you their experiences and help calm your fears, but there is no substitute for medical intervention when needed.
Beware the Facebook echo chamber – the Facebook algorithm is interesting to say the least. We’ve all had the conspiracy theories on how we get an ad for a product we just thought about. Zuck is becoming really good at showing us what we want to see. So we spend our time reacting to content that makes our brains happy and when we see something that deviates we do not “like” it. Literally and emotionally. This can be a problem because it makes us think our personal worldview is right and good and any others are incorrect. We get mad and angry face react and comment quickly without thinking. Slow your scroll and take a second to appreciate the other person’s perspective. We have access to the whole world of experiences and opinions that differ from ours. Try to learn from it rather than shutting it down.
Forget the follow dot – You can save or follow a post by clicking the 3 dots at the top of the post. Also, everybody already knows this so you don’t have to keep telling us. Don’t use the follow dot and don’t tell anyone else not to use the follow dot (or f or comment following)
Use the search bar.
Get out and meet some friends. Facebook is fun and can be an awesome tool. But humans need real social interaction. Find your village in real life.