HoneyKids writer Jana can't imagine motherhood without her tribe of fierce mum-mates from her online mum groups. Read on and find out why...
When you’re up and breastfeeding in the middle of the night and need someone to talk to, or if you’re deciding on whether you should try baby led-weaning or put your baby on a schedule, who do you call/text/direct message? For me it would be one of my mum groups (I’m part of three). When I was a first-time mum, these groups were a godsend. I had never been responsible for another human being before and I was too overwhelmed with caring for my tiny person to read and research websites, much less find the time to read parenting books!
Thanks to social media, a mum’s ‘village’ can now consist of people the world over, rather than having to rely on our own mums for advice on everything from potty training to sleep depravation. My mum group friends have turned out to be my lifeline throughout both of my pregnancies and well into all the stages of motherhood. And the beauty of these groups is that they are available 24/7: tap in a question and some knowledgeable person will have an answer moments later.
More than baby blues…
After giving birth to my second child, I had days where I would have these inexplicable bouts of extreme sadness. I would burst into tears for no reason and often look at my newborn only to suffer from the mummy-guilts because I wasn’t the bundle of happiness he deserved. Yes, I felt lost and overwhelmed like all new mums do, but this was a feeling that I had never experienced before. Something was definitely wrong. I thought that I was handling motherhood pretty well, considering it was only my second attempt. I had enough support from my husband, a helper, and even my mum. So what was wrong?
I turned to my mum groups in the hopes that someone could relate. Many said yes, it sounded like it could be postpartum depression and to speak to a midwife or doctor about my situation. But what comforted me most was when they told me that they would be there, albeit not physically, if I needed to talk. Some had experienced the same kind of feelings, so knowing I was not alone really helped. Those amazing women really put me back on track. They had my back.
When infants learn to roll
This wasn’t the only time my mum group were there for me. When my firstborn was four months old and I was still getting used to the sleepless nights, constant breastfeeding and diaper changing, I took my eyes off my son while I grabbed another diaper… and yes, you can guess what happened. He chose that moment to start rolling, and ended up on the floor with a huge scary bump on his forehead. I felt like the world’s worst mum. How could I let something so precious and tiny get hurt on my watch? I tried calling my husband but he wasn’t picking up his phone, so I turned to my mum group for reassurance and understanding. And of course, many of them had similar tales to tell!
It’s not all about the woes
While there have been plenty of situations where my mum groups have helped alleviate my parenting fears, they’ve also brought a heap of fun, creative hacks into my life. From breastmilk popsicles to lactation cookie recipes, tips on how to deal with tantrums to advice on limiting iPad usage, the groups have provided me with a huge wealth of knowledge along my parenting journey. The cool stuff stretches way beyond the kiddos too. We’ve spoken about our careers, the books we love, the TV shows we’re binge watching… It’s a one-stop shop of info!
I, for one, am very thankful that I joined my mum groups. They certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think that there’s a lot of value to be had from a group of women, from all walks of life, getting together in the virtual world and inspiring each other to be better mums. Because at the end of the day that’s all we want: to do the best by our kids and to chalk our fails and wins up to a learning curve that’s driven by the love for our children.