After becoming a mother, I suddenly began to pay more attention to what my fellow mother friends posted on Facebook. My news feed is slowly morphing into a mom’s-only feed as those posts are the ones that I find most relevant. That said, I’ve noticed several themes in the types of posts my fellow moms write.
The Rant Post
“I am so done being a mom right now!” This post is usually followed by an explanation of how this mom’s kids have successfully caused her to have a mental breakdown. These posts stem from pure exhaustion and anger. They may make you think this mom hates her kids. She probably does at the moment. But I promise, for the majority of the time, she loves her little ones. And she’s trying her best to raise them. But motherhood often comes with little appreciation.
This post is basically a cry for support. These moms need to know that they can make it through, that they are doing a good job, and that this too shall pass. So the next time you see a rant post, try to type something either sympathetic or encouraging. Examples include, “That’s so frustrating!” “I’m amazed you’ve kept your cool this far!” etc. Please refrain from one-upping the person. There’s a fine balance between empathy (“My kids did the exact same thing!”) and one-upmanship (“Well, if you think that’s bad, you wouldn’t believe what my son did the other day.”)
The Looking-for-Recommendations Post
“My baby isn’t sleeping through the night! Any recommendations?” This post is pretty straightforward. If you have recommendations, please share them. That’s what the post was for. Please pay attention to whether the post is directed to a certain group of people. (Ex: “Columbia friends! What OBs do you recommend?”) Unless you are part of that group, don’t comment! It is not helpful to get a recommendation for an OB in Texas or having a childless friend give you parenting advice.
Sometimes “rant” posts can be mistaken as “looking for recommendations” posts. For example, a friend of mine recently shared her frustrations about her baby refusing to take a bottle despite the fact that they have tried numerous nipples. I initially posted a recommendation, only to realize that she was ranting, and really just needed a sympathetic response. So I edited my comment (PSA: you can do that instead of commenting several times trying to fix an initial error).
The Gushing Post
“I’m so grateful for my husband! He is so helpful and kind. I just love him so much!” I usually just respond to these posts with a like. They don’t really call for a response. What I want you to pay attention to is your emotional response to these posts. Are you dubious? Jealous? Annoyed?
Many moms choose to post only positive things. This doesn’t mean they have perfect lives. In fact, I have several friends who continue to post only positive statements and experiences despite the fact that their lives are literally falling apart around them. I think they are trying their best to be positive in the face of trials. They may also be more private and not want everyone to know what they are going through. To these friends, a PM may be appropriate if you see yet another gushing post and you know there is more going on than meets the eye.
The Share Goodness Post
“Let’s fill up our FB feeds with goodness! Everyone copy and paste this and post a picture of a kitten!” I get it, Facebook can be depressing. I usually ignore these posts because I don’t like playing those games. Obviously what these people are really looking for is a share or a comment to play the game. So if you’d like, feel free to participate.
Of all the games I’ve “played” over the years, my favorite is when the person says something along these lines: “If you see this, leave your last used emoji and I will reply with something I think is beautiful in you!” There are no catches, they don’t expect you to re-share it, but they are still spreading goodness. I love “playing” on these posts because I leave a happier person.
The Humorous Post
These are my favorite posts. I would rather look back through my feed and see all the funny parts of my parenting life. Sometimes a humorous post can be a rant (written after the incident where it is actually kind of funny now). Sometimes it’s something cute their kid said. For example, earlier this year I posted:
D’s apology during time out: “Sorry sorry sorry!”
Me: “Sorry for what?”
D: “Sorry for decorating the wall with syrup.”
Me: “What should you do next time?”
D: “Next time I will flap my hands like the fan does!”
For these kinds of posts, often a like will do. I also enjoy when my friends comment on something similar their child has done.