I got to admit it, I’m very picky about what group I join and the polices of that group. Finding a good online forum hasn’t been hard. There are plenty of good forums out there, thanks to the various magazines, baby product advertiser’s and mommy organizers. However finding a group and mothers that meet up and hang out, do play-dates and other social things has been a challenge.
Now I’ve been around the internet for a while. I remember when Windows 3.1 was the hot stuff, chat rooms really were something special and message boards were the clique to break into. Now in the world of hunting for mommy groups online, I’m seeing the same old problems and personality types that cause a world of problems and disagreements on regular forums cropping up. And where I’d normally just lurk in forums, I’m starting to come out and express myself. I’ve had some very interesting responses.
One particular group I left because it felt like the organizer was alienating all the Peninsula members. I still have questions about what was said to some of the members after some cryptic posts went unanswered. I don’t know if she really was or not. But closing membership and being unable to attend Southside meetings left me face to face with the group rules. In essence, attend or get out. I left right after I did a head count of the members close to me. There were only me and another mom.
The latest group I’ve run into, I never made it in the door. lol After receiving their welcome letter I didn’t want to be a member. And after I kept getting mail from them, while still not a member, I penned a letter of my own. I wrote what I wanted to tell her and what I felt about her welcome letter. The response back was a very rude one. The kind that makes me itch for the washrag and soap. Is there something wrong with letting folks know how you feel?
I’ve noticed a few common rules mommy groups often have. I don’t agree with a lot of them or the poorly thought out reasons for them. I know critical thinking isn’t at the top of the educational list anymore but damn…it needs to be.
Requirement of monthly attendance…often with the caveat that if an absents is caused by a major emergency as long as you let them know they won’t kick you out. But too often…if you don’t have a good enough reason; like their planning doesn’t jive with yours, a working mom in a stay at home group or your getting snubbed because your different -whatever makes you different, you won’t stay a member for long. There are other ways to make a person leave that just booting you and they are effective.
But the reason for such strict attendance policies boggle me. To keep a close knit group, to allow newer members a chance to join which of cource means they have a restricted membership policy, to keep the group active and so on. I don’t see how demanding monthly attendance really helps moms met other moms and encourage friendship making.
Limited membership, the rule of the keeping the group small. Often intentionally kept at 50 and I’ve seen 25 and 40 as the prime number. So these membership slots are highly sought over; at least I think that’s the idea they want you to have as a possible member. I think they are nuts to turn down members. New members equal new ideas, newer homes to have a play date, newer kids to meet and more chances to make real friends. Perhaps the small groups are as large as these mommy organizers are willing to do alone. Share the power….and ask for help when you need it, mommas! Either way, as a web based group I don’t see why additional members would be a problem. Not all will show up for a play date anyway and those who sign up may not even show.
We must have your telephone number rule. Why? So we can contact you if the event changes. Well, I told one group; “This you can not have. I don’t like how cozy this sounds and neither do I want someone to be calling me willy-nilly. Your only point of contact is via meet-up. I only have a land line so what’s the whole point anyway. You couldn’t call me if I just stepped out the door to meet-up. Just what would you do if someone didn’t have a phone? And if changes are happening at the last minute, then someone’s doing some piss poor planning. Then what are you going to do if someone is skipped in the emergency phone calls, how are you going to prove that it’s not on purpose? Somebody is going to have hurt feelings. This is not a good way to deal with changes in plans or venues. So to sum it up, you don’t need phone numbers, you need better plans, and backup plans.“ Enough said.
The we need to meet in person rule. Now this one rule doesn’t bother me. It’s all the excuses given for this particular rule that irks me. Safety tends to get paraded as the top reason. I completely disagree with that as the real reason. Why would a one time meeting without a background check qualify a person as safe? It’s nuts. Hmm…I told one group the following, after their welcome letter had a long diatribe of why they had such a policy. It was very patronizing and full of dire warnings to the tune of “it happened to another group.” Gees….why does it always happen to another group?!
“Do you really think you can keep all the bad people out? It makessense to screen but it’s not really logical to claim it’s for safety. Being a mom does not make one a good law abiding person. Ever heard of honor killings, child abuse and neglect, or worse where the moms kill the kids? Those parents could easily be members of your group or any mom’s group. Screening offers no assurance of safety nor should it be offered as such. But do screen, and make no apologies for it. Safety isn’t the real criteria, compatibility is.”
Yea, I tend to speak or in this case, type my mind. Often it’s unwelcome. Oh well. I do think I need to brush up on personality disorders; the identifying and dealing with sections. I swear one woman I was dealing with had split personalities or maybe bi-polar disorder. I don’t know which but I know she’s got issues. Considering all the possible mental problems that exist; my search for a good mommy group is going to be a long one.