My son is nine months old. I've been kicked out of several online "support" communities and attended quite a few "playgroups" that I will never revisit. Following, are eight reasons why these forms of community tend to be awful:
1. I don't want to talk about poop, or sleep every waking moment. I get it, I talk about my kid a lot too. Moms focus on their babies so much that they aren't even a person anymore, but simply a voice for their child's daily poop dairy. Save it sister. I want to know about you.
2. When a mom in a support group asks a question, I give them my honest answer. That's how questions typically work, right? But the catch is, moms don't want to know the truth they want to hear you echo their own opinion. Moms typically ask questions for validation on what they already believe to be true.
3. I'm not liberal enough. I live in a red state with pockets of blue, one of those blue pockets happens to be my home. Talking about parenting techniques ranks right up there with politics and religion in terms of how quickly parents get offended. It's not long before I'm deemed to be a "close-minded hate monger" because my views on cloth diapering don't line up exactly with theirs.
4. I wouldn't associate with most of these people if I didn't have a child. I'm not sure why having the commonality of having birthed a child means we are automatically friends. It's assumed in support groups that you are supposed to be friendly. I get that, but some women shouldn't spend an extended amount of time with each other. We're all a little crazy, some mom's crazy just doesn't match with my crazy. I understand the whole we are a tribe mentality. But seriously, I think my tribe would be at war with yours.
5.I'm afraid one of these moms might slip my kid a goldfish cracker. I'll admit, I'm more of the crunchy natural type mom. I rarely use sunscreen. You've got your kid lathered up and wearing a swim shirt. I talk about my kid teething and you suggest Tylenol. Our kids would never be friends. Your kid cries every time he sees mine. You are the hovering parent type and I'm 20 feet away drinking a beer. Sorry, this just isn't going to work out, so let's end it right here.
6. I hate the term "play-date." Our babies are barely mobile and we're getting them together for a date? Plus, my kid doesn't want to play with anything but my breasts and cardboard boxes. You don't want to get together for a "play-date" you want to get together because you want to be my friend. That's cool, I want friends too, let's be honest with our intentions.
7. It's a waste of my time. Whether it's following some drama-filled thread on an online mom community group, or getting together at a park for an hour to stare at each others babies in order to avoid awkward adult interaction. There is a better way, it's called genuine community.
8. Daycare babies get my kid sick. I get it you have to send your kid to daycare because (insert reason here). I'm not arguing for or against daycare. Regardless, the problem is whatever infectious disease your baby has they are going to pass it along to my baby. I don't have to like the fact that every time we're around daycare babies my child has runny green poop for days.
It can be polarizing when we assert our opinions and preferences as Moms. But guess what? That's fantastic. The quicker we weed-out this "fake community" of online support groups, and fabricated "play-dates." You can find honest friends who will grow with you and your family. I have mom friends that are real gems. I didn't meet them online or at a playgroup.
Are all groups bad? Obviously not, I keep trying them out. Are most of them awful? 100% Yes. There are two ways to leave a group. One way is quietly. The other is by writing a manifesto about how you're up to your eyeballs in bull****. Clearly, I prefer the latter.
So how do you build community as a mom?