I'd kind of fallen out of love with Facebook. When I first became a Momma it was my go to place to catch up on my friends goings on, my place to post 8 million pictures of my brand spanking new baby. Post baby I soon discovered Facebook groups that gathered together local Mommas to share advice, ask questions, support each other and flog pre-loved baby wares.
When I first entered the world of Motherhood I had also discovered online Mummy chat forums. I did however find them to be a bit too large and intimidating to post any of my inner most thoughts and fears. I also started to observe how some discussions quickly turned a bit sideways, inviting opportunity for judgement and ridicule.
So, I lent towards my local Mummy Facebook groups for my online social discussions. When I first joined local groups there was perhaps a couple of hundred people, now there's as many as 11,000+ on one of the local groups I'm part of. When it was smaller I felt comfortable asking for advice. My calls for help ranged from finding the yummiest local Dim Sum to the best taxi firm to get me to hospital whilst in labour! I felt free to post, to comment, sometimes with my slightly tongue in cheek sense of humour!
But last year I started to turn off notifications. I'd started to see people passing judgement, having a rant about someone or something. My personal feeling, (and I know everyone uses Facebook differently) was that if you feel the need to rant about someone - go talk to them! If you're unhappy with a company, go talk to their customer service. It feels a little bit like public shaming cutting someone down in public. If you don't want to see something, or don't agree with it, turn off notifications, or scroll past. I guess the thing with large Mummy Facebook groups is that they are full of all sorts of different people. Different views, beliefs, backgrounds, opinions. Which is a great thing, and it works well for the most part.
Being a parent can sometimes be quite isolating. It can also be lonely running your own business from home too. That might sound funny given that I live in one of the most populous cities in Europe, with over 13,000,000 people! Kids keep you busy and on your toes. Life can be full, exhausting, consuming, but oh so much (knackering) fun!
E-mailing my NCT friends in the early days was a lifesaver when I was in the the fug of new-babydom. And, yes, I did say e-mailing! Whatsapp didn't exist back in the day (6 years ago)! Sometimes you just needed a kind 'I totally understand' at 3am when it felt like your boobs were about to fall off and you thought you were never going to get to sleep for more than 3 hours EVER again! And just like in Motherhood, running your own business, sometimes you just need a kind word of encouragement, or a sign post to something that might interest or inspire you. It stokes your fire, and keeps you going.
When I started Muklet I joined a local networking community who had their own Facebook page. The page had, and still does have themes each day which you can comment or share on. This helps to guide discussions and helps to ensure that it doesn't turn into a constant stream of sales posts. As time went on I started to discover how I wanted to grow the business. I started to figure out the kind of people and businesses I wanted to connect with. I wanted to find a forum to share information, to get inspired and to encourage each other.
Scrolling through the local groups on Facebook I was having a hard time finding those people. It was great for sourcing local entertainment for the kids, picking up a pre loved Rainforest Jumperoo, for finding a reliable builder to convert your loft (I wish I had a loft to convert!). It was at that time I heard about Curated by Crafted. It was an idea that started at Crafted London - a local indoor play centre that ran art classes for kids. The owner Wayne had started to meet local parents who had small children's businesses. Over time we went on to set up a collaborative Facebook page. This has evolved into a fantastic place for us to discuss, collaborate and share information. The group is small, but we are gradually adding other like minded local businesses as we discover them. To see some of the lovely wares from these buddies click here.
That's where social media can be awesome. It can quickly put you in touch with like minded buddies at the click of a button. I've been down some major social media worm holes recently, and I've just started to find even more of my kinda people, my kinda 'tribes'.
The groups are small enough that you feel comfortable and safe to make comments, discuss your thoughts, fears and successes. As long as you stick to the 'vibe of the tribe' (T-shirt graphic right there!) it works.
I've now got Facebook groups I can visit to connect with not just local Kids businesses, I also have one for my local bookclub, others for small business advice, PR advice, to chat to other parent bloggers. I've even found a group that's helping to support and walk me through my Green Card process. Now, that's 'Good Vibes', that's the Facebook I want to be part of. So, ok FACEBOOK, yes, I'll accept your friend request.
I found Carrie on Instagram, and have since also found she is on a Facebook group I joined. She's one fierce gorgeous Momma, and I totally dig her vibe. Here's an exert from one of her blog posts:
To me, sisterhood means supporting, encouraging and celebrating other women as well as working hard to understand each others choices whether we agree with them or not. We all have our own struggles and I think it's our duty to just keep being awesome to each other.
Carrie Anne - Mère Soeur