Online parenting groups have been around since the beginning of the internet, with forums dedicated to sleep regression, feeding, postpartum depression, and everything in between. The idea behind these groups is that a parent asks a question and gets advice from other parents who have experienced similar situations. Many parenting groups now reside on Facebook, and despite the references to “Facebook Mom Groups,” they are meant for all parents.
They’re wildly popular because they’re a huge source of support, especially for new parents. We’ve all been awake in the middle of the night, alone, with an urgent question — “How do I tell if my kid is breathing?!?!” Now we can Google the answer — or better yet, ask a trusted source. Facebook Mom Groups can also lead to real-life mom friends and a source of companionship during a time when it’s easy to get lost in Babyland.
Etiquette in Facebook Mom Groups
These groups have migrated from website forums to Facebook groups, where you may or may not know the other parents in real life. In Facebook mom groups, like any community, good manners and common sense are critical to the functioning of the group.
However, the rules are sometimes forgotten. And since we’re all SO PASSIONATE about our kids, we can shame others without even realizing it. So I came up with some social media tips about asking and answering questions to make sure we all can play nice and get what we want out of the Facebook Mom groups!
Facebook Mom Groups: How to Ask a Question
In addition to local parenting events, Facebook Mom Groups are a great support system for parents wanting advice. When asking a question, be sure to add details people may need to know before they answer. And if there’s something you don’t want to hear about, make sure to let people know that (i.e., “I am looking for advice on types of formula for my four-month-old. He cannot drink regular formula, so looking at soy milk. Has anyone had any experience with different soy milks?”). Now people know your baby’s age and that you’re not looking for advice on breastfeeding or regular formula. This helps ensure the answer is tailored to your situation.
If you don’t think an answer will work for you, don’t be rude by saying “No, that won’t work” with no other context. If you want to have a longer conversation, give some more background and ask for their thoughts. For everything else, simply say “thanks,” even if you don’t like the answer.
Lastly, try not to write a novel when asking a question. There is such a thing as too much information. Trust me – if your question is too long, no one will read it. And no one reading it means you get fewer answers to a question that’s likely important to you.
Facebook Mom Groups: How to Answer a Question
If someone asks a specific question, just answer the question. If you feel the need to lecture and tell them why you think that XXXX is harmful — STOP and walk away from the phone or keyboard. A rant about how you would do something differently only makes the other person defensive. It does not change their mind. We have seen this all too well over the past few years, and it’s dividing us more than it’s getting others to see our own viewpoint.
Speaking of which – try to be mindful that all of us have different circumstances. What works for your kid may not work for other kids or parents. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give advice. Let them know what you did in a similar situation. Allow them to ask questions, if interested. Remembering that we all have different opinions, and having a little empathy for others — especially new moms who are in an extremely vulnerable state — can actually help people instead of shame them.
Commenting with “following” is so last season
You don’t need to type “f” or “following” to follow a post. You can simply save the post or turn on notifications for the post. Just click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post and select “Save” or “Turn on notifications”.
It Takes a Village
“It takes a village to raise a child.” In our social media era, our village has become Facebook Mom Groups. Luckily, we have our very own village here at Wine County Moms Blog! We have a Facebook mom group called Wine Country Mom Community + Conversation, which is a private group for any mom in Napa, Lake, Marin, and Sonoma Counties! It’s an online neighborhood group that is specific to the interests of parents here in Wine Country. There’s also a Dads Facebook Group and a Book Club Facebook Group through Wine Country Moms Blog.
Of course, with any Facebook group, rules are in place to make sure everyone can get something out of the group without being solicited, shamed, violated, etc. The rules for the Wine County Moms Facebook group can be found here if you are interested in learning more.