Time for a confession.
I’ve joined a cult.
Ok, not really. Even though we are a secret group that you can’t get into unless you know someone, and we do have a secret language that most people don’t understand. We’re actually just a group of moms. Who are friends. Many of whom have never met in person.
There’s nothing weird about that, is there?
At least there’s the potential for us to meet in person. Because we all live in Atlanta. We’re a Facebook group for moms who live in Atlanta. See? Not weird at all.
Except it is weird, or at least special, because most mom groups aren’t as much fun as this one. I know, because I’m in a lot of them.
And I’ve discovered there’s something special about meeting online first and then in person. Or maybe it’s just this group of moms that’s special. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I laugh harder when talking to these friends then I do with anyone else. I’ve developed an addiction to Facebook, but I hardly ever check my regular newsfeed. And I now have a whole new perspective on what constitutes TMI.
But also? I’ve come to the conclusion that every mom deserves a group like this. Every one should have at least a few places where she can ask almost any question and share any frustration without judgement. Every mom should have a place where she can talk about poop, preschool, and postpartum sex. Every mom needs a tribe.
And I think it’s possible to create one.
Because the truth is that we’re all going through a lot of the same things. We’re just not always willing to admit it. And once you start to admit how hard it really is to be a mom, then you can start really supporting each other instead of judging each other. Here’s what I’ve learned about making mom friends from my online cult.
Be honest. Did I mention that bit about TMI? It’s one thing to share that you’re not thrilled about your postpartum body. Nobody is. But when you admit that your bladder is currently ballooning out of your vagina, suddenly you’re in a whole different category of sharing. Suddenly everybody starts laughing and telling the truth about their bodies. Of course, you should choose the friends you want to admit that kind of thing to. But it helps to have someone who’s willing to break the ice. Why not be that person? — what have you got to lose? I guarantee you are not the only person with weird and grotesque postpartum body changes.
Ask for help. How do you get your baby to sleep? What’s the best daycare center in Atlanta? What sex positions work when you’re eight months pregnant? You can only ask questions like this of a trusted group of mom friends. And just the act of asking things like this can deepen your relationships. It’s hard not to feel closer to someone after you’ve talked about weird sex positions.
Be kind. We women can be mean to each other. We really can. The mom wars only exist because we judge each other. And we only judge each other because we’re defensive about our own choices. Don’t do that. Be nice. Believe the best of people. Chances are that most the moms you know are doing the best they can.
Be confident. I really think that a lot of the mom wars would go away if all of us could believe the best of ourselves. Be kind to yourself, and you’ll discover your confidence as a mom. Which will enable you in turn to be kind to other moms. We’re all fighting a battle here. Heck, we’re all fighting the same battle. And other moms aren’t the enemy. The enemy is toddler insomnia and sore nipples and the oatmeal and broken crockery that’s spread all over your kitchen floor.
Offer help. Without judging or criticizing. Share your own stories. Better yet, go help in person if you can. No mom in her right mind will turn down an offer to come mop the oatmeal off her floor. In fact, if you want to make a best friend for life, come mop my floor. Anytime. The door’s open.
And if none of that works, just try not to be like this lady:
(I love this video. I AM that crazy hippie mom. Except I’m not mean about it. At least I hope not. Oh, ‘scuse me. It’s 9:55. Time for my one year old to use the potty.)