Battle of the baby boards

I don’t know how parents did it before the Internet, but baby boards and parenting groups online seem to be the way we all share information.

So why all the fighting????

I love cruising parenting boards. I think it’s my favourite distraction. I love offering info, tips, and sometimes learning something new. The personal experiences are so interesting.

By nature I’m just a research junkie, so parenting boards scratch that itch for me. Of course, I’ve read Dr. Sears and Dr. Newman and Dr. Seuss, so I’ve got my foundation of highly regarded advice, but I’ve also read far too much about the far too unusual so I’m a bit of a Cliff Claven when it comes to parenting advice.

But the thing I don’t get is all of the fighting.

The Fighting!

Why all the bashing and trolling and arguing?

I think part of the problem is that there is no font for sarcasm. If there were a sarcasm font I believe half of the world’s problems would be solved and parenting boards would be a much safer place.

I think people start to become friends, and then want to back their friends up. If only we realized that being right has nothing to do with liking someone.

I think people are misinformed and just generalize information, or worse yet, assume what the answer should be, instead of being able to admit when they just don’t know. Like not being informed is a sign of bad parenting.

I think people are too ego-driven to be right.

Why even ask the question on a parenting board? You’re sitting at a computer. You’re typing a question. If you type the question into Bing, Google, Yahoo or any other search you’ll get some pretty verified answers.

Why crowdsource?

Crowdsourcing information is the best way to connect. It’s not about nailing the most perfect answer, it’s finding something to chat about with other mommies. A way to start a conversation. It’s a way to commiserate about a subject or dig and dig until you find an answer among the pile that suits you.

Motherhood can be very isolating.

You spend 24/7 with the babes. Of course, if you work out of the home then you spend 8/5 at work and the rest with the babes. With little time to chat with friends – and that time is spent chatting about your babies anyways when it does happen – baby boards allow you to connect with like-minded people and have a communal experience without having to be in the same room, the same city or even the same country.

I get the difference of opinions – vaccines, circumcision, natural childbirth – but I’m not referring to these big bad battles. These are the biggies, and they’ll wage on through the generations. I’m talking about posts like: Is it safe to give my child cow’s milk at 12 months? Can I eat sushi while pregnant? Should I pump and dump if I have a glass of wine?

photo: MiguelPhotoBooth
photo: MiguelPhotoBooth

There is a lot of misinformation, and a lot of changing information. Then there’s the fact that everyone has a different risk threshold. There are, though, women who give advice that is in no way correct. Just utterly unfounded. And this scares me.

First, if you’re crowdsourcing your question and you decide to rely on someone because you like their profile pic, or they once liked one of your posts, then you’re in deep trouble. And if it were only about the mama, well then go ahead. But if the info is going to harm a wee once, that’s crazy.

And you see these wars rage on and on. I steer clear. I don’t want to be part of mama wars. I don’t really get it. If you need someone to fight with, should it really be someone you don’t know behind a computer monitor who is in a group you sometimes snoop? Is there really a need?

Then there are the people crowdsourcing names. That always goes sideways. It should really be a rule that your child is the first person to hear the name you’ve picked out. Because inevitable, if you crowdsource enough people, you’ll get some nasty remark, and then you won’t be happy.

But the most incredulous crowdsourcing I’ve seen to date are the brag-sourcing mamas. “My little babe is 9 months and can’t tie her shoes yet. She can sing opera in three languages, bake perfect quiche and recite all of the state capitals, but her motor skills aren’t quite what they should be. Should I be worried or wait until she’s 10 months to see if it works out?”

Sheesh. I can see why those posts go off the rails.

While baby boards are really cool and great ways to connect, sometimes it just makes me wonder – parenting is time consuming. If you’re busy waging a mama war on a baby board, who’s watching your kids!!!!

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