ONE MILLION MOMMY GROUPS AND YOU ONLY NEED ONE
Everyone has an opinion
The information highway seems to be the only road we all want to travel on these days. Back roads with traffic lights and stop signs are so last decade. Why should one have to wonder about anything. Debates with my grown children at the dinner table never end anymore with a sense of curiosity and wonder. They end with a confirmation. A quick google search tells us who is wrong and who is right. End of story....end of debate.
Not only do we have access to expert opinions ( there are millions of experts on line about every thing under the sun), we have access to millions of other not-expert voices. We have our peers, people in the same boat as we are, but experiencing their lives in their own ways. We have people who are quasi-experts with no actual credentials but with lots to say.
Communities have sprung up online and now constitute our new Village.
You know that saying..it takes a village to raise a child. So very true. But we don't have villages any more...we have the entire world. But CAN the entire world be your village? I don't think so. Villages are small groups of people who live basically the same as you and share pretty much the same values. You were born in the the village and raised by the village. Everyone did village things and if there is a doubt, you consulted The Village.
Nowadays, not only do many of us question the village values we were raised with but we have the ability to go else where..all over the globe- looking for alternative answers, different ways of doing things, other traditions, confirmation, validation.
Now, I am not saying that all of this is necessarily a bad thing. It is good to learn. It is good to learn from others, to innovate and experiment and make a new normal for yourself; especially if your original was not that great
In the Mommy world, there is SO MUCH out there, so many viewpoints, tips, strategies, perspectives, that one can get totally overwhelmed and confused about the simplest thing. One can be left feeling inadequate and unworthy with all the images and bites of the perfect lives we are shown. Old timers like me know that Instagram lives are not real lives. I know each generation brings with it a new set of smarts but I don't believe for one minute that we have discovered the secret to the perfect life- on social media. There are still burnt dinners and explosive poops. Still marital strife and self doubt. Still health and money problems. Those are human things that never will go away no matter how many layers of filters we add to our posts. I encourage all new parents to make friends with REAL people; in your neighbourhoods, in your families, in your workplaces. Look to real human contact to form the foundation of how to get through the hardship of new parenthood and family life.
Too much information can lead to self doubt
Too many opinions can make an issue very confusing. One of my clients told me about her wish to use cloth diapers with her baby. As someone who did use cloth for all of my babies, I was delighted that she was even thinking about it. Well, in her attempt to garner as much info as she could, you know what she did...she joined a Cloth Dipaering forum on Facebook. The group had no fewer than 10,000 members from all over the world on it. Who knew cloth diaperers needed international support? It was overwhelming and actually led her to give up on the notion as it is super challenging to parse out the bits of information that might be relevant to you and to live up to the standards of some of the more zealous of members. One starts to believe that you need a PHD, an MD and a PEng to work at this business of slapping a pice of cotton on your kid's butt. I learned how to cloth diaper because I belonged to a support group (a real, live, IN PERSON group) and a few of the parents there used cloth. I asked questions, I observed how they managed the process and I dove in. Yes, there was uncertainty. Yes, I messed up (literally) many times but I knew that I would figure it out eventually. And I did. Uncertainty is NORMAL! In the age where all you need to know (and more!) is available right at your finger tips, parents can find it hard to trust their instincts and let their uncertainty just sit there. Ask what the important things are to you. It is mostly the same stuff as has always been important- Love, safety, comfort, health, family.... None of that has changed. We just have more products now and millions of people trying to show us how they do it right.
Use books and people as resources first. Second...websites. And lastly...if you MUST...small social media groups of like minded people who are not too uptight and judgy. You will get this impression very soon if you have a discerning eye. Cultivate the ruthless art of deleting groups. Seriously. Later on out of the groups that nurture meanness. Just live your real life. Make mistakes. Flub it up once in a while. You are going to anyway...it's inevitable. And..Its ok. its even ok to post the flubs and mistakes! Go ahead... Then the reest of us will know we are not alone.
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