One of the better pieces of parenting advice I’ve been given so far was to never listen to the mommy forums, for the love of all things holy, STAY AWAY FROM THE MOMMY FORUMS. So of course I totally didn’t and joined as many mommy forums and groups as I could in order to be with my fellow people – the life bringers, makers of tiny beings, ladies aglow with pregnancy or years of parenting wisdom and experience to impart unto me.
The next bit of advice that stuck with me was to listen to all advice but disregard all the bullshit that didn’t make sense to me or my personal values. I didn’t realise how much advice I’d actually be disregarding. And a lot of that disregarding took place in the mommy groups.
At first it started out innocently enough with stocking up on baby things. Some mommy groups had “pre-loved” sections that saved Jon and I thousands when we were buying essentials like baby furniture, clothing, breast pumps, and
totally unnecessary but beautifully made homemade decor pieces other baby essentials. I would spend hours scouring the groups for things mommies were selling to other mommies and then I’d negotiate with myself, my bank balance and Jon on whether I had to have the handmade stitched what-what, or not (the ‘not’ part never really won any arguments if I’m honest. I bought all the things, all the time). Then when the nursery was filled to the brim and I couldn’t physically fit anything more into it completed, I then took an interest in the actual mommy posts, the ones where moms weren’t buying or selling things but seeking and doling out advice, comparing notes, anecdotes, funnies, starting prayer chains for Jesus and/or sick babies and, well, you get the picture.
It didn’t take long before I realised there was a theme to most of the posts, and the mommies posting these posts. And it took even less time for the posts to become so annoying that I sometimes rolled my eyes so hard I saw my brain. And when that happens, as any writer will know, you’ve gotta write about it. So I present to you the ten types of mommies found in every mommy forum:
1. The ‘husband basher’ mommies
These ones are gross. Instead of doing the healthy thing and discussing annoyances with their husbands, these mommies take to the Facebook groups with abandon to slate their husbands. No thought is given to the fact that there are THOUSANDS of local women in these groups, very likely to know the husbands by association, or in person, or — you know what? It doesn’t matter if these members do, could or don’t know the husband. That poor guy. Even the ones who don’t know him feel sorry for him now, no matter how many times you asked him to wash the baby bottles and got ignored, or how often he goes out with his drinking buddies over the weekend and leaves you at home alone. I’d also wanna check out if my partner took to public forums to bitch to internet people about how useless and worthless I am. Zero f*cks are given that Facebook attributes your actual name and therefore, usually, your husband’s name too. Some things should stay private and offline or discussed with your friends in real life, over copious glasses of wine.
2. The ‘my baby is better than your baby’ mommies
I once posted about Aiden’s reflux to find out any tips or tricks I hadn’t yet heard of. While some mommies were wonderful, I heard more from the moms whose babies were perfect and never suffered from reflux or vomited or smelled of vomit or needed any help going to sleep. Obviously, I was told, these babies were blessed by being co-slept with, exclusively breastfed and then when they were old enough, moved onto organic solids (most likely fueled with the blood of unicorns probably). I’d have to then sift through tens of comments reading about their perfect child who slept through the night from week one and OH WHO CARES, LADY, TAKE A NODDY BADGE AND THEN TELL ME HOW TO STOP MY KID PUKING, JEEZ.
3. The ‘breastfeeding is best befok’ mommies
Listen, I don’t want to start a debate here ok, but I’m pretty sure that my baby isn’t going to remember whether he was fed from a boob or a bottle, as long as he gets fed enough in order to retain actual memories when he experiences actual growth. I breastfed exclusively once I brought Aiden home, except not really – I pumped for hours and hours and fed it to him in a bottle. Sometimes. Other times I’d give him boob too. And then when he became super refluxy we moved him onto a thicker AR formula and I stopped breastfeeding completely, which has made the world of difference to my clothes, his clothes, his appetite, the amount of hours he sleeps (one whole whopping hour more at night) and his food retention, most importantly. But, because I’m no longer breastfeeding do you think I’ve damaged my son beyond repair where he is destined to grow up and get covered in tattoos, worship the devil and very definitely divorce his first wife? The breast is best befok mommies do.
4. The ‘omg how dare you circumsize your baby’ mommies
Wow. My friend Kate made the mistake one time of asking how much circumcision cost in Joburg. She was called a brutal sadist, told she was going to subject her son to genital mutilation, sent links to circumcisions gone wrong showing images of bleeding baby penises, for days. And then she still didn’t know how much the op cost. Rude, at least provide the requested info before trolling, I always say. PS: thanks for taking the beatings Kate, so I didn’t have to when it was my turn to find out all the info six weeks later, I just had to ask you 🙂
5. The ‘please fix my marriage’ mommies
Even though these mommies usually send their message in anonymously for the admins to post, I still can’t wrap my head around the posts. “My husband and I don’t make love anymore, how do I fix it?”, “Do you guys ever feel like you’re not enough for your man?”, “I want to run away with my husband’s brother, what do you guys think?”, or my personal favourite: “my husband has gone distant and cold, do you think he’s cheating on me?”. I didn’t know that by joining these mommy groups one had to be a qualified psychologist and/or psychic.
6. The ‘I don’t have money for medical so will ask unqualified mommies for medical guidance’ mommies
Look, I’m not talking about the standard, non life-threatening “is this xyz rash [insert pic]” posts, that’s what mommy groups are for imho. But I have seen some posts talking about temperatures over 40 degrees on day 3, shivering and fitting children with odd symptoms, and these moms take to the forums to ask for a diagnosis instead of going to a doctor because they’ve run out of medical savings or the practice is contracted out of medical aid. GET YOUR KID TO A HOSPITAL, CHEAP SKATE.
7. The ‘not so subtle beggar’ mommies
I understand that we don’t all have jobs or enough money to make ends meet, I really do. So this one requires a bit of tact, I agree. But I don’t know how you guys would feel, I personally still don’t appreciate the “Oh no, mommies, I don’t have money for rent or food for my children this month, whatever will I do mommies?” posts. Inevitably there’ll be one or two good samaritans wanting to help, and that’s great and all. But then there’s the rest of us hardened souls sitting on the sidelines drinking alcohol and waiting for the scam to show itself.
8. The ‘I will rip your face off if you disagree with my opinion’ mommies
Every group has them. They generally leave you with feelings along the lines of: You’re going to hell if you don’t blend your own organic veggies instead of feeding your child Purity. Your kid will definitely have all the issues if you aren’t co-sleeping. A parent is not a parent if they don’t do skin-to-skin contact. If you don’t home school your kids you’ll never give them the best education they can get. If you do home school your kids you’re depriving them of friends and a life and socialising and they’ll probably become the very next Jeffrey Dahmer. Basically, unless you agree with every notion, opinion, belief and action, you’re a terrible mom and how dare you procreate without their blessing. They can shove their blessing, tbh.
9. The ‘shove my religion down your throat’ mommies
These moms are the ones who attribute every blessing or sickness to God. I once saw a mommy tell another mommy the reason her son had nightmares was because she obviously wasn’t praying hard enough and if she just prayed a bit more often her baby would be blessed with peaceful sleep. This one also goes for the athiest moms who troll the ones who post about religion. Not cool, guys. Let’s let everyone have their own beliefs without feeling the need to get stabby and insulting.
10. The ‘please don’t’ mommies (this one is my worst)
It’s one thing to impart one’s wisdom on a subject, it’s another thing to reply to a completely irrelevant post with a “please don’t do XYZ” as if you have some claim or form of investment into the upbringing of that child. I cannot handle these ill-intended “please don’t” replies to mom’s desperately asking for help on something. Just yesterday a mom posted that she’d selected not to co-sleep with her baby because of XYZ but did anyone have any other advice on how to get the baby to go back to sleep after night feeds that didn’t take more than two hours every time. Someone in the threads immediately replied with something along the lines of ‘please don’t let her cry it out it’s so mean and evil and cruel and here’s a poem I wrote about a baby being left alone in the crib’.
So which mommy have you encountered, or better yet, which mommy are you? Be honest?
PS: A high five to the cool moms who don’t do any of the above, you guys make it worthwhile staying a member of these forums and groups. And a huuuuuuuuuge glass of wine goes to all the admins, always. Wouldntwannabeya.
PPS: As much as the above would lead you to believing I hate the mommy groups, I don’t. These forums have helped me immensely. I’ve sat at 1am with other moms going through a rough period and felt part of a tribe, part of something unique and special and have felt so grateful to have found a place where I belong, where I’m one of the girls, etc. I don’t hate mommy groups, promise. But like all things in life, there’s a bit of sour in between all the sweet.