I Just Can’t Take The Mom Group Chats Anymore
I like to pepper in a few sarcastic and funny comments. But also, it’s too much.
All my kids are finally in bed, and I’m relaxed for the first time since 5:30 AM, curled up on the couch with a bowl of chocolate-covered pretzels and an episode of Real Housewives of New York City. And then it starts: ding... ding... ding. Everybody else’s kids are down, too and the mom text threads are heating up.
It begins with a question about over-the-counter children’s medicine and then weaves its way into a husband rant. Then each woman shares the latest with their husband’s latest annoying antics. Then comes one mom’s recap of some drama her kid dealt with at the bus stop; some moms give the “thumbs down” reply while others offer validation and advice. And finally, there’s a suggestion to get a #ladiesnight on the books with some chatter about cheese plates and everyone’s favorite wine. After twenty or so texts, I finally silence the chat and throw my phone to the other side of the couch. Because while I sometimes like to pepper in a few sarcastic and funny comments on these threads, they mostly drive me nuts.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the women on these threads. (I mean, I’d definitely delete some of them if I could, but that’s not the point.) I enjoy them one-on-one, but the hand-held crowded mom-talk can feel a little noisy, one-upping, and annoying. There, I said it.
A group text inherently creates some weird communication dynamics, right? Everyone has a role. Mine is usually the self-deprecating, sarcastic clown, aka my go-to survival strategy in social situations. But I’m not the only one sliding into a role. Every group chat has a power mom, for example. She’s the one answering all the questions in a profound, thoughtful, non-sarcastic way, asking all the questions I have yet to even think of. “Does anyone know what color the girls’ shoes are supposed to be for the school performance this Friday?” What color do the shoes need to be?! I didn’t even know there was a f*cking performance. I guess I missed the email — but she never does.
Then there is the one-upping. The weird, not-so-subtle brags that just come flying through my screen. Like, “Does anyone know where I can get some kids Advil? I am all out, and Matty has a headache from scoring so many goals in soccer this afternoon.” Oh, cool, yeah, I bet CVS will have some and also, shut the hell up. So much of it leaves me feeling bad or guilty, even when that’s not the intention. They chat about kitchen remodels and kid activities. They discuss vacation plans and Pinterest party ideas. Meanwhile, I’m just trying to keep my head above water.
And even when the conversation isn’t loaded, it’s just a lot of weird, unnecessary small talk. Because the thread stops for no one and can start at any time of day (and often does), it’s a lot of dinging that keeps me from paying attention to the things that got me on the thread in the first place — my kids! And I get it. I could ignore it when I’m busy, but my brain doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. I am not really a “deal with it later” kind of person, so I end up fully engulfed in this multi-woman conversation about a lot of fluff that doesn’t matter but somehow keeps some of them entertained.
Of course, the solution is to exit the chat. I know that. But I don’t want them to hate me, and I do enjoy a small amount of the banter every once in a while. So I stay. And I will continue to throw my phone across the couch when I need to, roll my eyes about it to my husband in the comfort of our living room, and hope power-mom gets the hint and chills out a bit. But I don’t see that happening.