5 Things I Know About Online Friends | Guest Blog

In this day and age our relationships look a little different than they used to. Our circle is wider, more extensive, and we no longer have to rely on only our jobs and local hangouts to meet people and strike up friendships. A lot of us are meeting our partners online, so why would our friendships be any different?

Never underestimate the power of online friends!

I am no stranger to online friendships. For the past several years, most of my closest friends have lived in my computer! It can be hard at times, but I consider myself a bit of an expert at this point. So here are 5 things I know about online friends:

1. They're just as real as face-to-face friendships.

Sometimes people can make you feel like your online friendships aren’t as legitimate as face-to-face ones. But they are! Remember, that’s not just a computer you’re talking to, there’s a real person behind that profile. And isn’t the most legitimate type of friend one that makes you feel supported and loved, no matter where they live?

2. There are tons of different ways to communicate with online friends.

IMG_1998You have a plethora of options with which to communicate, depending on your personality and preferences. Do you like to Facebook chat while you’re feeding the baby? Maybe you like seeing their face, so Skype or Google hangouts are more your style. Or if talking on the phone with little ones is a challenge, the voice message feature can be the best of both worlds. You can post funny stuff on their Timeline. And have you seen the new Snapchat filters today?!


3. Your online friends don't care if you're a hot mess today.

You can talk to them without a bra. Or in only a bra. Or with your hair a mess. Whatever, your online friends don’t care! They’re just happy to hear from you. You never feel like you have to impress them.

4. Online friends are there whenever you need them.

Even if they aren’t always online, having their profile readily available at all times makes it really feel like they are always there. When you’re up feeding the baby again, you can send your BFF a message because you know she’ll see it soon. And sometimes you might abuse this just slightly by treating your messages like your own personal journal... but it’s all good, because you know they’ve got your back.

5. Any time spent face-to-face with your online friends is the sweetest time ever.

On the rare occasion that you do get see your online friends face-to-face, it’s the best. They are SO happy to see you, because it’s been months or even years since you last hung out. Online friends know how to cherish time together because it’s so rare. They never take you for granted and you always part looking forward to the next time you can hang out!

We all need friends and support people in our lives. That need is even greater as mothers. We need people we can complain to, laugh with, cry with, love, and be loved by. They say it takes a village - it’s okay if your village is a virtual one.

Authored by: Brooke Duke, owner of Expecting Baby Doula Services. Brooke is a doula in Ames, Iowa. Check her out at www.expectingbabydoula.com.


Facebook mom groups: What you should know

Like anything else on the internet, Facebook is one of those places that can work to your benefit or to your detriment, and Facebook mom groups are no exception. Facebook mom groups come in lots of different varieties. There are ones centered around a particular parenting philosophy, some that are location-based, while others are centered around specific interests like babywearing, cloth diapering, or breastfeeding. Let's talk a bit about some benefits and caveats of participating in Facebook mom groups so you can get the most out of them without them taking the most out of you! facebook mom groups

Facebook mom groups: some benefits


Let's face it, motherhood can be isolating, especially in the early baby days when naptime is king and it's not always worth it to put on real pants to interact with real live humans. That doesn't mean that we inherently want to be alone, so many of us turn to Facebook mom groups for a sense of community. If you join local groups, it's a great way to make new friends and connect with moms who are in your age and stage. Interactions online can lead to in-person playdates and can help you cultivate friendships that go beyond the screen.


Tried to get out of the house today but the toddler threw your keys in the toilet while you were nursing? Is your baby teething and more grumpy than usual? Spouse being less than understanding? Are you up at 3am feeding...again? Pregnancy isn't what you thought it was going to be? Chances are, if it's happening to you, it's happening to someone else too, and they're only a post away. Facebook mom groups can be a great place to commiserate about pregnancy and mom life. There's something cathartic about sharing your wins and woes and knowing that you aren't alone so even when you can't get away, you can dig deep and make it til wine-thirty because someone else is there sharing that experience with you.


If you're new to town and don't know the mom scene, Facebook mom groups are a fabulous way to crowdsource your world. Need an OBGYN? Pediatrician? Don't know where to find xyz random food item? The best place to go for storytime on Tuesday? Ideas about what to make for dinner? Special needs resources? Hairstylists? You get the idea. Mom groups are also a good place to troubleshoot parenting problems. Why spend hours on google looking for what you need when the Facebook mama hive mind can tell you in an average of 15-30 minutes?

Facebook mom groups: some caveats

Advice Roulette

When you ask for advice in Facebook mom groups, it's like playing a game of Advice Roulette. While asking for advice online can often lead to helpful suggestions and solutions, keep in mind that the members of these groups do not have a full picture of your relationships, your health history, or your baby's health history. The advice that they have is limited and may be misinformed or lacking in evidence. Some people give unintentional medical advice, some advice is sales in disguise, and other advice can be downright harmful for your situation or you as an individual. You haven't lived in a Facebook mom group until you've seen a rash photo or the very NSFW contents of a diaper as you scroll down your news feed, right?! If you're a die-hard crowdsourcer, ask away, but remember that the advice of other moms online is never a substitute for a medical professional or your own intuition as a parent. 

Illusion of Safety

Even in closed or secret groups, Facebook mom groups are still a microcosm of the internet and the internet is not a safe place. When you spend enough time interacting in a Facebook group reaping the benefits of community and commiseration, it's easy to let your guard down and share things of a very personal nature online. Remember that once you have put that information out there, you cannot control what other people do with it, so proceed with caution! Things shared online can have real in-person consequences, and they aren't always pretty.

The Drama Llama commentsGood old Facebook mom group drama. It's like reality TV at your fingertips! It's easy to hide behind the keyboard and get caught up in online drama, and we've probably all done it at one time or another. However, much like the sharing of personal information, remember that the internet is not inherently safe and words typed can have beyond-the-screen consequences. With some old-fashioned restraint, you can manage to avoid the drama and still receive the benefits that Facebook mom groups provide.

Happy posting, everyone!