If you’re not a digital native, by that I mean your kids are in high school already or you can remember a time when phones had cords that were connected to walls where your teenage first love had to call you from the boarding house with their 5 minute allocated call and then speak to your father before eventually being allowed to speak to you. And if your children were born pre Facebook which was created on 4 Feb 2004 people – it’s not even 10 years old yet….then you may be interested in this…..
Back in ‘my day’ we had things called Mothers Groups where you dutifully turned up with your 6 week old to the local council clinic and you met 12 other Mums in the desperate hope that you would befriend a few who could drift through the pains of first time motherhood with you, Naturally the odds were stacked against you and you determined that 80% of them were nuts, 10% were control freaks and the other 10% you may just hang in with for a limited time provided you sussed out that their partners weren’t axe murderers or religious freaks. You only got one chance with your mothers group because you weren’t allowed to join another one when baby no 2 came long. Surely enough as your brood expanded people move away and you lost contact apart from the obligatory Christmas card or pre-Christmas BBQ to compare notes on how little Jonny was doing compared to little Bobby.
These days it’s a whole new world for parents and whilst there are numerous websites and BLOGS for neurotic parents to check which type of high chair to buy, there are now secret groups of local Mums in your area filling up Facebook Newsfeeds all over the world and providing support and laughs to everyone without ever meeting a soul. These keyboard Mamas are not trolls or nasty catty women with nothing better to do than bitch about people and things online, the groups won’t allow you to post anything nasty to the group, you can’t bully, you can’t even post horrid reviews about businesses. You can ask anything you like about anything though and get an instant response from the 2,000+ Mamas at your disposal. These groups are closed groups meaning that not everyone can see their existence on Facebook. First you need to know the name of your local group and the only way you can do that is by a friend telling you. You must “Join” and be permitted to join, allowed as such, by one of the groups high, mighty and all so powerful curators, also Mums who mediate the site voluntarily. I am a member of one such group and on a daily basis I must see at least 200 messages posted to the group by nervous, happy, doubtful or bored Mums who want advice, a vent, recommendations or to share something that just wouldn’t be appropriate on their public Facebook profile. Sure sometimes they drive me mad with the mundane but there are times where I realize I too had those same doubts but I only had 12 women to choose from to ask, and 80% of them were mad.
I imagine these groups have saved a lot of parents from going insane at home with little people and the Mums with older kids have got an equally open platform to ask the question of “I have a 15 year old and he/she is doing XXX, what would you do if…….”
Social media cops a lot of flack for pulling down society or creating keyboard bullies but it has incredibly powerful advantages too. The younger generations who are now having babies themselves are opening up a whole new world of support that we never had and it’s so healthy to see so much information and experience being shared. I am sure that the groups aren’t limited to Motherhood either as I’ve heard of a local Whisky club that posts their stuff to a closed group of fellow Whisky lovers – whatever floats your boat I say!