Chances are that you belong to at least one online mothers group on Facebook. While face-to-face mothers groups will always have their place as a support tool for mums, the online versions provide a different type of support, in real time.
Used in the right way, online mothers groups can give you an instant network of mums to help you anytime of day. But as with anything in the virtual world there are some do’s and don’ts for belonging to these groups.
Do participate and share. Answer questions, share useful information and articles you come across and ask questions. You will get a lot more out of groups if you are an active participant. Every group will have different rules but you can possibly share anything from a proud mama milestone, a parenting fail, a great date night restaurant or a blog post you have read and think others could relate to.
Do be careful about the information you share. You never know who is in the group so don’t share your personal details publicly. Also think about the photos of your kids you are posting. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing.
Do attend real life group meet ups. My local group often have special movie screenings and girls nights out. It is a good opportunity to meet other mums, especially if don’t have many other mummy friends.
Do be kind to the group admins. Managing a Facebook group, which could have hundreds or thousands of members, can be a difficult and thankless task. Respect the rules that admins set as they are there for a reason.
And some don’ts
Don’t take things personally. Words on a screen can be taken out of context without knowing the intended tone of the writer. Take comments with a grain of salt and don’t be sucked into arguments.
Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Get to know people and interact with them for a while in the group before accepting a friend request from them. Once they are your “friend” they will be able to access information and photos of your kids. Be sure they are legit before letting them in.
Don’t start rants. Often Facebook groups provide the perfect environment for people to air a grievance and garner support. Avoid this and instead focus on positive or funny experiences. Use the group for support and friendship rather than a sounding board for negative energy.
Don’t spend all day in the group. Limit the time your spend interacting in the group so you aren’t constantly checking your phone. A good way to manage the groups you belong to and how you access them is in the Facebook Groups app. Only open the app once a day or whatever frequency works best for you.
Do you belong to any online mothers groups? Do you have any other do’s and don’ts to add to the list?