I wrote this to help process my thoughts about my failed attempt to circumvent drama and subsequent ousting from an online “Mom and Tot Group”.
Facebook is really frustrating. I actually deleted my account while I was pregnant, because I needed to remove the people in my life who merely liked me – as in, clicked ‘like’ on my posts and photos. I was entering a new phase of my life, with motherhood, and I needed to know who my real friends were. It worked, to a point; but I needed more.
I needed friends with babies that were the same age as mine to hang out with…people that both my son and I got along with. I needed to establish a sense of community in the new community I had moved to. I needed to feel connection and to be able to be reminded that my kid was normal. Kids are so weird, you need to see others to validate your owns’ behaviour.
Enter Facebook Mom Groups.
I found my first (and favourite) Mom Group based on my neighbourhood. My second, that I was ousted from yesterday, was referred to me from a friend. The third, which I removed myself from shortly after joining, was linked in a post of the second one. There are rules to join and rules to follow once you join these things.
Meeting moms in Mom Groups feels a lot like online dating. You post an intro about yourself, hoping some mom, who shares your interests, likes your post, comments or slides into your DMs. You attend mix and mingles, with your dependent infant child as your social barrier/plus one. Sometimes, you attend events without your child, as an attempt to reveal different sides of yourself or hope for real connections with other moms.
You connect over coffee, kids, and complaints.
But how do you get to the next level? You can participate in all of these online threads, attend numerous meetups and still feel like you are alone in Mom world and will forever be your kid’s best friend.
Being introverted makes this so much more difficult. The way I navigate my introversion is by hosting. Attending someone else’s meetup means I have to deal with my social anxiety as an attendee, but when I host, the event is happening because of me – and then I always have a job. Make the post, find the spot, greet the arrivals, take pics, connect over coffee, kids and complaints.
Another great thing about hosting is that when no one knows you, less people show up to your meetups – which means there will be less mingling and more actual talk. Sitting at a table with 4 women brings me significantly less stress than 12.
How the hell do you make small talk with a momline friend?
When dating, I valued a comfortable silence, because I suuuuuuuck at small talk. But with baby, you want to ask a question of another mom while ensuring you aren’t revealing some self-perceived horrible habit you have, or that you aren’t coming across as judgmental of a certain parenting style, or that your life pre-mom wasn’t too stupid and immature. And you can’t talk about your exes (friends you had before you became a mom that didn’t stick around) or most of the other things that shaped your being before becoming a mom.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks these things. None of us first time moms know what the hell we are doing. So we’re freaking out internally about another mom finding out our kid drinks juice at IKEA or still uses a pacifier or already has a mobile device obsession. But at the same time, we need to know that other kids do these things, so we aren’t constantly shaming ourselves or fearing shame from others or feeling hurt that you got ousted from a Mom Group that you didn’t really like in the first place because the Admin rubbed you the wrong way with how they worded most of their posts.
The person who ousted me – I’ve known for months that we would not be friends, so I suppose this end was inevitable. It started with a question about my husband attending a meetup, as I was recovering from surgery. The meetup was for the kids, and I wanted my kid to go, but it wasn’t okay for someone else – a man – to bring him. At this point, when I attended a meetup, I was never more than arms length from my kid; I certainly wasn’t connecting with moms over coffee, kids and complaints…so I didn’t think it made a difference if dad went. She implied that if he went, he wouldn’t be welcomed by some of the other moms because he was a man. Fifty shades of fucked up. The implication got to me the most. I stand a direct person.
So I cringed every time she called her group ‘inclusive’ after that exchange.
I also stopped inviting that group to things I was organizing in my other mom group.
I also took over a month off of commenting or attending any of the events from that group. The admin didn’t notice of course.
There were other posts – religious in nature – that didn’t sit well with me. Mom groups are not a place to recruit for your church events.
Then there was a number of venting posts about feeling annoyed about having to carry out the duties of a group Admin. Why can’t moms follow rules, why do I have to keep deleting posts, why do I have to keep explaining how the group works over and over again.
Then she accused someone of bullying her. I suspected someone sent her some truth bombs about one or more of the things that i was thinking about her online behavior and she took it as bullying. Maybe that person was really direct and she felt hurt and therefore bullied by her. Moms of the group rallied around her via comments and likes and loves. I told her that she was great to take a pause. She clearly needed to take a fucking break, spend some time away from this group that had her all distraught and ranty. Spend some time offline connecting over coffee, kids and complaints.
Then – and I don’t know what really happened, this is just my perception, it could be completely wrong- she seemingly hijacked an event that another mom was planning. She must have felt entitled to, because the event was posted in her group, for her groups’ members. She chimed in for every comment/question about the event and clearly didn’t have the same vision as the actual organizer. Drama! I decided to not go to the event after being lectured on the necessity of sterilizing jewelry being brought to a swap. Dude, I’ve never sterilized a piece of jewelry in my life, besides lighting a match to the pin I occasionally shoved through my narrowed ear hole. And if that makes me a savage, well then congrats mom, you’ve learned something new about me.
Then – she chimed in with agreeance when someone was trying to poopoo on an event I was planning in my preferred Mom Group. (Day after the dirty jewelry lecture bs). Like, dude, you already know you pissed me off last night…stay dafuq away from my post. You aren’t even coming! It don’t concern you!
Then she encouraged someone to cross invite people in her group less than two hours before we were set to meetup. My eyes are about to roll out of my head and onto the floor at this point. Common sense is not common. Then she started lecturing me denying that men are not always welcome at her group’s events. All of this is online, though. So what I call a lecture is merely a series of passive aggressive comments that end with “thank you”.
Words on a page receive their tone from the recipient. Her tone screamed loco!
I DM her telling her that I need a break from her online and could we please not comment on each other’s posts for awhile because I don’t like how every comment she is making lately makes me feel.
Her response was to remove me from her group and unfollow me on Instagram.
Guess that means we won’t be seeing each other again? Funny because I really should have ended us in January. I stayed in a toxic relationship for 4 months longer than I should have because I genuinely like some of the moms I have met.
I have a feeling this isn’t over yet. But we’ll see. I won’t click share on this once published. I’ll just hope that I can move on from momline dating and focus on the few real potential friends I’ve met. I’ve also learned that if someone makes me feel gross inside, I will walk away sooner, quieter. Bye