There’s a lot to be said for the ever-increasing number of online mom groups we have at our disposal now days. It would appear I was a little late to the party having only joined my first one just over a year ago. Since then I have discovered many more, with a combined membership large enough to make up a small country.
And let me tell you it’s been an interesting journey. For the most part, my experience has been amazing, especially with our local South African groups: The Mamahood groups, Moms First and Mommy Mall. These groups have opened my eyes to a wonderful community of moms who are very often just as desperate, tired, scared, frustrated, proud and overwhelmed as I am. I have sought encouragement and advice as well as support from all those who take the time to read my blog! I love that many of you reading this are from the very support groups that offer me encouragement and frequent my news feed throughout my day.
Being late to the party meant I never received the support I so desperately craved during my pregnancies and early days as a new mom. I honestly had no idea such groups existed. This was largely due to the fact that my
phone brick I was using was from the dark ages and was only ever used for Sms’s and the occasional desperate call to my mom or husband. There was no fancy camera, no Apps and definitely no Internet data with things like Facebook available at the click of a button. I know its like I’m so old or something. The reality was that I was a social media virgin and if truth be told I feel a little cheated.
On the flip side, I was taught to rely on my â€˜mom instincts’ and figure things out on my own. I was thrown in the deep end and expected to swim. Some days I felt like I was drowning, treading water, but I never did. I grew stronger and proved to myself that I knew my baby better than anyone else. I became stronger, braver and wiser because of it.
In hindsight though, I really lacked support, the knowing there was a group of woman available to me anytime of the day or night. The comfort knowing they were there if I needed advice. When woman open up and share their experiences, fears and concerns, we begin to realize that we are not alone and we find solace in knowing we are all on the journey of motherhood together. No matter how bumpy the road may get.
While it’s more often than not a wonderful experience for most, it’s important to remember that we all parent differently and have different views on an array of different subjects. When we begin to get judgmental and offer bitchy and snide comments we are not only being hurtful, but also being unhelpful and thus taking away from the true vision of these groups.
It’s a real shame that some woman can’t respect each other enough to refrain from such behavior, instead fueling the drama and tearing each other down. If the Mommy Wars were ever a real thing, it’s this right here. The air of superiority, the hurtful and destructive hate speech, the verbal attacks and the complete and utter disrespect for each other as women. As MOMS! These are the true wars we face, the ones that leave people feeling ridiculed, judged and isolated.
This is one of the many downsides of social media. It becomes so easy to voice our opinions of others when we are not talking directly to their faces. We hide behind our laptops and say things because it’s easy, because we can get away with it. Because there is nobody to hold us accountable. We get all smug and ballsy because we can use it as a platform to vent and get everything out. We get on our high horses and tell people their opinions don’t matter. We tell ourselves Its for their own good or I’m only being honest but we know deep down we are really just being a complete and utter douche bag.
We become bullies and the person on the other side of the computer becomes the victim. We bash each other and walk away with no regret. We, fellow moms, are going against the very thing these groups were designed for. Support. Love. Advice. Community. Respect. Comfort. Hope. Compassion.
Where did we get so lost along the way? How are we going to find our back? How are we going to remember what it feels like to love unconditionally, to bite our tongues and offer the very best of ourselves?
When are we going to lead by example and treat each other with the respect we all deserve?
Because while these groups on the whole offer so much for moms in all phases of their parental journey, they are not going to do us any good if we are constantly going at each other and tearing one another apart with all the trivial nonsense that takes up our news feeds.
I am pleading with all of you to take a step back and ask yourself Am I offering the very best of me? Am I giving people the benefit of the doubt and sharing my experiences and opinions with love? Or have I become superior to others, always thinking I know best and mean in my approach? Have I gotten my head stuck so far up my own arse that I can’t see anybody else’s point of view?
I urge you to reflect on this for a while and begin let go of all the negativity. To soften your heart and find your way back to your kinder self, the person who offers valuable advice, free of criticism and harsh words. Lets remember what these groups were created for and find comfort in knowing we are loving people the way we should.
Lets find freedom in the very thing that weaves us together in the very diverse and beautiful tapestry of motherhood. Let’s embrace one other and all our differences and be an uplifting source of love and support.
Because lets face it, nobody likes a douche bag.