Online mom groups can often feel like the adult version of lunch-time cliques from high school, but they can also be helpful tools for connection—particularly during the pandemic.
When I first became a mom at 23, I had read all the books, joined the forums on pregnancy apps, and talked through parenting strategies with my husband. But at the end of the day, I still felt a little lost, a little afraid, and a lot isolated. Then living nearly two hours from family when I became a mom of two kids under two, I didn’t know which way was up most days, let alone have time for friends.
Then, after a few friends on Facebook added me to a few mom groups, I suddenly felt seen and validated. They might have been a group of random strangers on the internet, but they quickly became close friends who laughed with me and cried over the same struggles motherhood I was experiencing in motherhood. Soon, my online group became my village full of moms with more years of experience who could help me with the swipe of a few buttons.
Here are three ways mom groups can help in motherhood—and in life.
1. Join a few and find where you fit
Are you a huge bird watcher, movie aficionado, or fitness fanatic? Well, there’s probably a mom group catered to your favorite hobby. One of my first mom groups was a bunch of fit-”ish” moms. We did weekly check-in posts on the premise of getting back in shape. I ended up making lasting friendships with the moms who only showed up to chat and never had the time or energy to actually work out.
Some groups are more strict than others about who can join, but don’t be afraid to join a few until you find the right fit. After all, finding close friends is almost like speed-dating. We have to try out a few before we really click with the one.
2. Ask all the questions you may be too nervous or embarrassed to ask people in real life
If you’re a parent, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve heard the phrase, “it takes a village.” But not everyone has a village to rely on—especially right now. It can be particularly tough during the baby stage when everything is new and you don’t know what’s normal. Most motherhood groups are formed with judgment-free support at the root. Open discussions can run the gamut from nasty diaper rashes to postpartum depression symptoms or marital problems to meal planning.
Online groups allow us to feel connected to friends and fellow moms all around the globe. And mom groups, in particular, have become the new (albeit “virtual”) village with mothers from all walks of life, professions, and cultures. You may find that you can post at any time of the day and have someone to help you, even at 3am on your loneliest of days.
3. Find mentors and create career connections
Mom groups are wonderful for helping with typical parenting tips, but they can also be a great way to network and make connections with other career-oriented parents. From tips on how to start an online business to share threads promoting your work, mom groups offer an all-around wealth of information that can help you learn or help other moms looking to get back in the workforce.
My favorite interactions have been moms volunteering to help with resumes and offering career expertise—even about how to ask for a higher salary. In fact, it was a connection I made in a mom group that helped me land a job at The Everymom!
And just like they say in the corporate world, never burn bridges in a mom group. It’s a good reminder to be respectful, kind, and supportive in your interactions because you never know what connections you might build.