One would think, asking my friends on facebook an innocent question like “what pediatrician should I go with for my newborn?” would be a good thing. Well, it is and it isn’t. Even worse is asking the question in a facebook group where you don’t know all the members or on a local facebook page. Or in some random internet forum.
Sometimes you just want to hear people’s stories, good or bad, but don’t expect impartiality. Especially when it comes to schools, childcare, youth athlete programs, music instructors, pediatricians, dentists, or anything else. Expect people to come out swinging both in passionate defense of their opinion or person and willing to take down anyone they don’t like. I’m no different. Seriously. And when you are asking questions of groups that include a lot of people you don’t know…well…it can just get worse from there.
To the ten people complaining on my friend’s post today about a practitioner group about ridiculous wait times was one emphatic mother yelling about how she never had to wait EVER there and no other practitioner would ever be good enough for her child and on and on and on it went. Several people said, “oh they’re great, when you can actually be seen.” Not decrying the doctors at all but saying maybe they were too big and successful if what you wanted was quality time with the practitioner. One mom told me privately that she requested 2 doctors specifically in the practice and that she got appointment cards with those doctors’ names on them only to find out the person scheduled her with another doctor and there was nothing she could do when that doctor walked in. It quickly turned into a knock down drag out between someone so passionately devoted to her child’s physician that she would take the entire day off work for an 8 AM appointment to those who felt like a great doctor should also be able to keep his appointments running on time. A few people raised quality of care concerns about various practitioners based upon issues they had with their child. But I felt bad for the mom asking the question because, she just wanted to know some suggestions. She did come back and say at the end that she would be scheduling interviews with potential docs and thanks guys. But I know she was thinking aye, yi, yi what just happened here?
The internet is not the place to ask for parenting advice. Even on little things. Even with family and/or friends. Sometimes, you have to just look stuff up and call and interview places (ie childcare, pediatricians) because what one parent likes, another may hate. And nothing brings out the sanctimommies like suggesting one particular thing (a sleep training method, diet, breastfeeding…among others). If you know a mom whose been through a similar struggle and discussing in person is not possible, call or email or private message, but if you publicly put it out there, expect the crazies to come out of the wordwork and a whole lot of confusion and possibly misdirected hostility.