61 Comments
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I have a challenging neurodivergent kid so I still do appreciate ideas from some experts and I’ve joined a couple of membership groups organized by women whose work I value and appreciate which has also helped me connect to other moms who can relate to my experiences. Most moms I know do not have kids with challenges like mine so it is really amazing to be able to connect with moms I don’t know in person but who get it.

Expand full comment
author

that makes a ton of sense! i do wonder if online experts are more useful, the more specific their expertise, right?

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I’ve found it challenging to find solid NDV experts online that don’t feel too clinical or too high level. Dr. Becky is great overall but her stuff isn’t geared toward NDV kids - even though there is a ton of really helpful content there

Expand full comment

I agree, most of the ND supportive accounts I have found are smaller and often people who have lived this experience as ND and/or parenting ND kids.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

Same!! I find incredibly great info through a Neurodivergent patent (Moms - eye roll) what’s app group. It’s a wealth of personal research, tips from medical & psychological & neuro experts and solidarity.

Expand full comment

So great to have this support!

Expand full comment

Like you, I haven’t met them in person though we all live in the same city

Expand full comment

I’m struggling with this at the moment. My kid isn’t ND but has a physical disability and so much of the standard advice is just not applicable. I’m working on finding that mum group.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I actually don't have a mom thread - about half of my good friends don't have kids and there isn't a separate thread for just the moms - but the last thing I texted a mom friend about was lice 😩 my daughter came home from the last week of school with lice and I knew a friend had recently gone through it with her daughter so I texted her to see what worked. I would not have gotten that advice from a momfluencer because I'd just assume she was trying to sell me something without knowing if it worked or not. I also frequently text a mom friend with kids older than mine because so many of my questions now are about how to deal with kids growing up...hearing from someone who's been there is so helpful!

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

Absolutely true (I just posted about lice) The first time we had it I was SO lost and hired professionals who used nothing but a lice comb, conditioner, water and paper towel. Now that's my way of doing it. But it's always someone YOU trust you want to turn too in that moment.

Expand full comment
author

YES!

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

Most of my mom group texts are urgent SOS messages - frantically asking for teething help at 8pm because the baby is screaming and the next dose of motrin is in 2 hours. But I've also been getting advice on how to travel (by plane) with a baby a friend who's done it.

Expand full comment
author

ooof yessssss those baby SOS texts are REAL

Expand full comment

Mom text threads > expert momfluencers

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

In the last 24 hours I reached out to two mom/parent based group texts. The most recent postpartum one for what people are wearing to nurse in public in situations requiring modesty, and the one I’m in for mothers of two about going on vacation with two kids sleeping separately- two monitors needed?!

I think the reason I prefer advice from mom friends over momfluencers is the breadth of experience from a variety of mothers and the fact that solutions aren’t (always) solved by capitalism/consumerism via a handy link!

Expand full comment
author

YES RE HANDY LINK.

Expand full comment
Jun 6Liked by Sara Petersen

Money woes. Things are tight. They get it. It feels good to just vent. And no, I couldn’t get that from an influencer. I think we are so often just needing to be SEEN. Love my group chats. :)

Expand full comment

Co-sign with this so hard! I've been on a Marco Polo chain with moms from a postpartum group I joined in January 2020. We've seen some shit with all our families over the last four years and they have been a lifeline. We like to say we are here for support, advice, and validation.

Having moved to a new city a year ago, I'm definitely craving some IRL parents to raise my kid alongside. Definitely can't get that from the internet. I feel like the lack of a physical village and community that is today's culture.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I think the only mom chat I'm really active in is a group of moms from my kid's first grade class. The hot topic today is that our kids' field trip to the zoo was canceled because the bus company canceled at the last minute! And apparently the NYC bus companies are all run by the mafia?!?! (TIL from the mom thread.) They are a WHOLE MESS and our field trips are always super late or canceled, and it's a huge bummer.

Expand full comment
author

omg this is wild (bus - mafia connection!!)

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I've just moved house, and my mum sent me a happy new home card. She didn't know the flat number, so just wrote my name and first floor and it arrived! I texted her to say thanks for the card, and that I'm in flat 4

Expand full comment

Just realised I've read this wrong! I'm not a mum, so don't have a mum text thread, but that's the last thing I texted MY mum. Oops! I guess if I had a mum text thread they might also send me a happy new home card

Expand full comment

I read it like that originally too!

Expand full comment
Jun 5·edited Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

Honestly, my mother's mental illness led me to NOT reach out to her. But I had an amazing friend group when my kids were young. We dumped our kids on each other all the time and if I needed advice, I could get it from someone who actually knew my kids. (And I could ask my friends' moms if I needed that perspective. Fun fact, my youngest son is still best friends with some of those kids.

editing to add: my kids are 30 and 27 now, so we didn't text. Some of us were neighbors and just bopped across the street, or we old school called on the phone.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I don't have a mom "group" but I have individual texts with a few mom friends - my sister, a few best friends (who unfortunately don't know each other well so it's 1 on 1 texts with each rather than a group), a few coworker moms, and a neighbor. Recent texts have been heavily complaints about the end of school year craziness and all the events. Other topics - father's day, camping, camp plans, summer and travel plans, sports, navigating school accommodations for my son's ADHD, and non-mom things like books, TV shows, work, travel, etc.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I have two young kids and have yet to find my mom group. I often text my SIL, my nephew is right in between our two kids. I text my mom questions, but find that influencer Facebook groups have been my most helpful. Other moms comment, and I have figured out which groups have the least judgmental moms.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

It was about lice. My family had it. We share a school (and a class with some of the kids) so it's hyper local. We were all chatting about checking with a lice comb vs just looking. Ugh lice is the worst. But my moms group does everything! we style each other for events, make food for each other, emergency pick ups of kids, travelling to NYC tips, psychology, OT, school bureaucracy support. Who needs experts? I have these women.

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

I asked about email addresses for middle schoolers and what they use now that some orgs (like sports teams) are asking for the players email address and not just the parent. I suppose I could have found something online, but a quick text to people who know my style/my kids/etc (like you mentioned) feels much easier.

Expand full comment
Jun 6Liked by Sara Petersen

The last thing I texted my mom group was whether we wanted to see a Spice Girls band instead of a movie for a long overdue get together we are having next week! Actually something for us and not looking for advice! But the support I reach out for is around the new level of emotional labour with older tweens, homework and ADHD kid struggles.

Expand full comment

So far this morning: I texted one mom chat to say I love my friend's new bangs and the outfit she wore to a work party last night (long story but she dressed up as a suffragette). I texted another mom friend about carpool arrangements and to confirm our plant shopping date on Friday. And I texted two others about my new barrel pants that I rented from Nuuly (which I am trying for the first time because they made me). And I texted with you about perimenopause! WOULD LITERALLY BE LOST WITHOUT MOM FRIEND TEXTS.

Expand full comment
author

ah now i'm googling these barrel pants OBVIOUSLY

Expand full comment

Just realized none of that was advice per se, but these are still nevertheless the conversations that hold my life and my parenting together in so many ways?? (We def do advice too. And agree on I now use them more than I turn to online experts... ofc two of my closest friends ARE online parenting experts so I'm also just going directly to the source there.)

Expand full comment
author

100% - mom texts literally keep me tethered to the world!

Expand full comment

My main mom text thread is a group of friends that are all nurse anesthetists, so our thread is a lot of photos of- look at this rash, diagnosis these symptoms, how much of this med can I give my kid? It’s saved me through the daycare years of endless illnesses!

Expand full comment
author

oh my gosh that's INCREDIBLE

Expand full comment

My oldest kid is almost 9, so in my group of mom friends, we are all texting each other about the “big change” that suddenly emerges at this age where kids start putting on an attitude and trying to be more independent…. But are still little kids in so many ways. How do we navigate this burgeoning independence and still support them?

Expand full comment
author

omg YES (plus the eye-rolling and occasional door slamming)

Expand full comment
Jun 5Liked by Sara Petersen

This is exactly my just turned 10 over the last year. 😂

Expand full comment

My online mums' chat is 17 years old, like my youngest child who led me to them. There are 25 of us and we chat every day. We are spread out across several cities, plus two who are now overseas. We used to chat on a phpbb based forum but the mum whose partner set it up for us split up with him, so after several detours, much to the amusement of our older children, we now chat on Discord. I would be lost without our endless chat.

Mostly we chat about all sorts of things, not kid related. Often we share happy news or funny stories about our kids, or vent looking for empathy not advice.

The last actual advice chat we had was about teenagers finding part time work, where to look, how to apply etc.

Before that it was a question about whether teens still wear watches and would one be a good birthday present.

Other recent topics have included tick treatment, packing for camp, whether to complain to school about a teacher, online chat room safety (ironically), teen drinking, and driving lessons.

My latest contribution was the perennial whinge about kids not cleaning up after themselves. We all know there's no advice to be given on that topic at this stage of our parenting, just sympathetic stories one-upping each other!

Expand full comment
author

"I would be lost without our endless chat" - COSIGNING this statement. And YES there's nothing more comforting than going to a mom thread with a particular complaint only to be reassured that they have the same complaint. It's infinitely more soothing than an actual solution sometimes.

Expand full comment

This sounds like such a nice group to have!

Expand full comment

Context is so key! They know me and they know my kids and through many many birthday parties, we even know each other’s moms. So helpful to vent about the challenging moments, and laugh about all the weird ones! Also, for the really thorny ones, nothing beats a call to my own mom.

Expand full comment

I don’t have kids but have been taking care of my nephew twice a week since he was 3 months old or so. He just turned 5 and he has his own space in my apartment. Whenever I need advice I turn to my sister in law or my mother because they know best. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and later in life organized annual children literature festivals. She knows a lot about kid because she has seen so many. Her advice goes from books to education to medical stuff. What I like about her is that she never imposes her point of view. She gives suggestions

Expand full comment

The mom thread is blowing up about all the end of year activities and how we are supposed to remember and manage them all 😅

Expand full comment
author

SERIOUSLY. when your kids are in different schools (middle and elementary)??? THE MILLION EMAILS?!

Expand full comment

I think the only way I’ll get an up to date Google calendar is if I make one and I just…I’m going to accept missing crazy hat day sometimes.

Expand full comment
author

the true definition of freedom

Expand full comment

😂❤️❤️❤️

Expand full comment

We've had some unexpected medical issues in both my friend group chat and my family this week, so lots of texting with updates, encouragement, and asking how we can help. Sometimes there is no specific advice for the problems, you just need to vent and hear someone say they get it. Right now with my 10 month old is "reverse cycling" and most of the online resources want to sell me a course to fix it. Instead I'm opting to commiserate with my sis about being exhausted, think of ideas together to try to get kiddo back on course, and figuring out how to support family and friends having even tougher times right now. Thank heavens for the mom chats!

Expand full comment
author

yesssss commiseration is EVERYTHING!

Expand full comment

I just text myself because I know it all 😉

Expand full comment

Oh this is fun! Okay so - recently asked one mom text thread who else is out of the baby sleep deprivation, but still ready to go to bed by 5pm?? There is some kind of energy crash then that hits so hard. I’m done.

The other thread has been coaching me through the new world of school bus drop offs and pick ups. (Why did we wait for the bus for ONE HOUR this morning?!)

I can’t imagine an influencer being particularly helpful with either of these. I tended to look to influencers (more like.. the experts in dev psych, not so much peer influencers) in the earlier days of parenting, while I was still figuring out what I was like as a parent, and before I had similar stage parenting friends. Agree with someone’s comment about that I do not need a link to solve my problems.

Expand full comment

I'm expecting so I'm in pregnancy forums based off of due date. Last two things I mentioned was feeling like I'm getting swayback and in another thread mentioning that I felt my first kicks! I actually get responses and people are going through the same thing at around the same time so everyone is excited or is sympathetic.

You can ask things like: how long did it take to get your NIPT results back? Is it normal for my doctor to be mentioning my weight so much? How do you pick a car seat? When did you tell your boss/ how? And then you can celebrate things with them or go to them for support: I got low risk on everything from my NIPT! My doctor mentioned at EIF during my anatomy scan has anyone had this before? There's only one main vein in my baby's umbilical cord... so on.

There is almost always someone how is going through the same thing or has with a previous pregnancy. You don't just hear from people who have had a traumatic experience or an easy breezy pregnancy. The flip side is too much information from different perspectives can end up not be helpful after all. When it comes to that I think we can always find someone who gave us the answer we wanted, just like any self researching on the internet can lead to. I've actually never really followed a momfluencer for advise except for maybe I watch their new born essentials on Youtube but I've never seen these women before and I wont watch them again. I just watch a bunch of them to get a feel for what I should consider when buying. Usually the famous momfluencers are too rich for me to listen to. I just can't relate to their lifestyle and most of what they say doesn't apply to me. Which is why I'm here to scoff at them :)

Expand full comment

My mum group and I are literally texting right now about a phonics test our 5 and 6 year olds are being put through at school next week, going away on holiday over the summer, and one friend is explaining how she's planning to take better care of her physical and mental health...honestly, all sorts of things get talked about and I'm so grateful for my mum friends! Same as you, I will turn to them before I look for expert advice, and I actually manage a marketing and social media plan for a CBT therapist who specialises in supporting parents...I will still turn to my mum friends for advice.

Expand full comment
author

they are the BEST truly

Expand full comment

I am late to the party on this but I recently asked my best friend how she explained the smoking scenes in 101 Dalmatians. My kid loves the movie (I mean, 101 puppies!) but that one had me a bit stumped.

Mom’s group of course all about end of year cupcakes and Venmo for this and that, hence why I am late to this party.

Expand full comment
author

oh this is a GOOD ONE

Expand full comment

A bunch of us go to a Monday night yoga class and one week recently one of the women asked if the teacher and all of us could do it on her back porch instead of at the fitness center we usually meet at. Her kids would be asleep but she didn't have a sitter and she really wanted to attend the class. So we all said "yes" and we've continued doing it at her house since then. It's the exact same instructor, class, participants, but somehow it's more relaxing doing it in a more casual, informal space.

Expand full comment
author

aw i love that! true meaning of flexibility.

Expand full comment

Parent group texts are KEY! My most regular one is with my sister and her sister-in-law (who’s also a good friend). My sis has two older kids while the sister-in-law and I both have toddlers the same age. So lots of swapping woes and advice between us newbie moms and lots of “it’s going be okay!!!s” and other sage wisdom from my sister. Our most recent messages are about what in the world to put on toddler feet in the summer at the beach.

It does make me wonder—what in the world did new parents do before texting???

Expand full comment
author

THE HORROR

Expand full comment