PublicSource: Navigating the tension-filled world of motherhood in Pittsburgh’s Facebook groups
Leah: Being a mom can be very challenging. Balancing work, homeschooling, running a house and the never-ending task of house training our dog definitely gets the best of me at times. So naturally, after a long day of meltdowns, cleaning up dog poop, answering the same questions over and over all day long, I enjoy a mindless social media scroll at night in my free time. On Facebook, I often seek out mom groups I feel could be a great support for whatever life tragedy may have happened during the day. Child got his head stuck in the monkey bars at the park? There’s a mom group for that! Mall meltdown earlier in the day still got you feeling like crap? There’s a mom group for that!
Many times, these mom groups are like a breath of fresh air. The support, advice and the resources are usually just what I need. After joining a new group and observing for a bit, I usually feel like: “Ahhh!! I have found my people!”
Then, it happens. The judgment, the mom shaming, the entitlement, privilege and… dare I say it? The racism. Yes, it is true, in moms groups centered around disabilities, recipe ideas and even arts and crafts, it happens. Sometimes it’s passive aggressive. “Oh, we prefer to shop in the suburbs.” Or the, “I would never send my child to a city public school because the kids there are so rough.”
Other times it’s straight in your face. All city neighborhoods are ghetto and filled with drug addicts and thugs. I’ve experienced both types. Initially, I was blown away. I would just clutch my invisible pearls and keep scrolling. Eventually, holding my tongue was no longer an option. Against my better judgment I began to engage. Most of the time, I left the conversations frustrated and baffled. It perplexed me that, as a woman of color, my truth and experiences were often dismissed. I remember one time a white mom actually proceeded to tell me how Black people feel. Did she somehow have the inside track to Black feelings that I wasn’t aware of?
Local journalist and mom Meg St-Esprit and I have been navigating these online spaces with varying degrees of success — she from the perspective of a white woman, and me from the perspective of a Black woman. Here, she shares a bit about what she has seen.
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