When I realized I was pregnant, my initial feeling about joining an online moms’ group wasn’t positive, so I wasn’t all that interested.
Then when I found out I was having twins — a big mental adjustment, to be sure — I heard the same advice over and over again: You’ll need support. You should join a moms of multiples group.
Yet I still felt hesitant about it, despite everyone’s claims that this digital community would be a wonderful resource.
So I decided to explore this apprehension and figure out where it was coming from. And that place was the media.
Between TV shows and jokes on social media, everything I’d seen about mom groups had been negative: They were portrayed as places moms went to be judged by other moms, places where only competition and belittlement happened.
However, if this were truly the case, what reason would any mother have for joining a moms’ group?
So I joined a moms of multiples group on Facebook soon after my twins were born. This group exists almost entirely on Facebook, although I know some moms meet out in the real world.
And now? I really can’t say enough good things about it — and the many smaller subgroups that I know exist because of it. There’s certainly the occasional judgmental comment or two, but for every one of those, there are probably at least 100 comments of support.
For anyone who is belittled, there is someone to show empathy. And, from what I’ve found, there’s no competition, only camaraderie.
It’s a place where one can get advice on any number of topics, kid-related or not. You can express fear or frustration without apprehension. I’m now a part of seven moms’ groups and my experiences are pretty much all the same.
So, contrary to what the media would have you believe, I believe this supportive environment is the rule for moms’ groups, not the exception.
If you’re experiencing apprehension about joining a moms’ group, you don’t have to. Take the leap. It’s possible that you could accidentally join a toxic moms’ group, but you could leave that one and find a new one. The right moms’ group is worth your time and energy. The added support and peace of mind you receive is worth the effort.
Here are my top three reasons to join a moms’ group:
- A non-judgmental place to vent: There’s venting of every kind in a moms’ group, including topics such as mom stress, oblivious husbands, difficult family members and annoying school teachers. If you just need to hear someone say, “Oh, I get it,” a moms’ group is a great place to go.
- Support for specific issues: If you have a new baby (or babies) and are lost, trying to find your way, there’s nothing like thousands of newly experienced, just-did-that moms to help — or other brand-new moms to commiserate with, too. If your child gets a lot of ear infections, or is unusually tall, or is advanced in gymnastics, or loves doing homemade science experiments, or needs a specialist, or stained your favorite sweater or needs a new nanny — all of these challenges and more can be solved by a good moms’ group.
- New friends (for you and your kid): A moms’ group is an ideal place to find some new mom friends and set up play dates for your child. Your kid can get some same-age social interaction and you can find some in-person support.
For these reasons, and so many more, if you’re thinking about joining a moms’ group, do it. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Maya Mason is a juvenile corrections officer, diversity trainer and writer. She is a parent of toddler twins and lives in the Twin Cities.