Whether you're looking for friendship or helpful tips and tricks, here are some good alternatives to social media mom groups.
If you’ve spent a little time on social media mom groups, you know that these groups can quickly become negative.
A lot of people take parenting decisions so personally that they take differences of opinion as personal attacks. And a lot of questionable or judgmental advice is handed out freely.
Recently Pepperdine University researchers found that the more time women spend in mom-focused social media groups, the higher their cortisol, or stress levels, are. I read that and thought, “No kidding.”
I’ve been able to keep my social media interactions positive and peaceful by sticking to a rule of avoiding controversial topics. I’ve also tried to turn to other places besides social media to meet the needs that mom groups can fill.
Ultimately we turn to online mom groups for a reason. We are looking for something, whether it’s advice, insights, tips and tricks, or friends and social connections.
So if online mom groups aren’t always the best option, what is? Here are a few good alternatives to stress-inducing social media groups.
If you’re looking for advice or tips and tricks …
1Trained experts in the subject that’s causing you concern
Whether it’s how to feed your kids or what’s normal for baby sleep, there are trained professionals who can help, and often offer their content free of charge online. There are too many to name them all, but it just takes a quick and specific Google search to find sleep consultants, feeding experts, and others who can answer your questions about your personal situation. And they won’t serve their advice with a side of mom guilt either.
Most libraries have a well-stocked selection of parenting books. Find one that’s aligned with your parenting philosophy and dive into all the helpful research. (My personal favorites are Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book and John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby.)
3Your child’s pediatrician
A medical or health professional is really the only person you should be consulting for medical advice. For other things, pediatricians often have a wealth of experience to draw from, or can point you in the direction of someone who can help.
4Your family and friends
Parenting best practices have changed over the years, so some things are done differently now than when your parents were raising you. But in many ways, your parents and in-laws can be a great resource, especially when you’re trying to figure out what to expect given your child’s family history. I also like to ask experienced moms with kids older than mine for advice, as often they have “seen it all” and have great tips and tricks.
5Social media groups, used with caution
Social media groups don’t have to cause drama. They can be super helpful for things like ideas for gifts, meal planning and recipes, and yes, even advice on many parenting situations. The key is to avoid arguments and take everything with a huge grain of salt, remembering that your situation is unique and what works for others may not work for you.
If you’re looking for friends and social connections …
It can be hard to make friends, especially if you’re new in town or none of your friends have kids, away from social media! I’ve had luck making friends at a few different places.
I practically lived at library storytime when my kids were younger, and ended up meeting some of my closest friends there.
2Church “moms and tots” groups
I joined these types of groups at a few different local parishes and met many good friends through them.
3Local play groups
The best use of social media is when it connects you with people you can hang out with offline. So I like using social media to connect with local moms for in-person meet-ups and play dates. This is a great way to meet other moms in your area and hopefully make some new friends.
My theory is that the more time we spend with friends in person and the less time we spend on social media, the happier and more peaceful we feel.
Making the shift from social media to real-life connection is something at which I’m always trying to improve. Hopefully these resources can point you in the right direction to make this shift in your life too.