It took a few days before I noticed my friends had gone missing.
Their constant chatter has been a reassuring presence in my life for 5 years. When I spent 2 ½ years with a baby who woke up 4 to 5 times a night every night, they were there. When I struggled to balance my legal career with family obligations, they were there.
And in the pandemic, when my kids invaded the sanctum of my home office for months on end, my office becoming the repository for their piles of school and art supplies, my sanity hanging by a thread, they were there.
Until one day they were gone.
The friends that is, not my kids. They’re still there. Thankfully not in my home office anymore.
Before anyone files a missing person report, I’m talking about Facebook friends, specifically the Law Mamas Facebook group.
13,000 members strong, the Law Mamas Facebook group was the place for lawyer-moms to unload on just how darn hard it is to be both a mom and a lawyer.
From how to handle overt sexism from male colleagues to dealing with your sullen teenager, if you had a burning career, parenting, or relationship question, there were hundreds of women willing to give you an honest opinion. Day or night.
That is, until the group was archived last month.
I’m a smart person. I know the difference between IRL (in real life) friends and Facebook friends.
But with social distancing putting the kibosh on get-togethers, I don’t get to see my IRL friends very often, if ever. To be honest, even before COVID, between work and kid wrangling, it was hard to get all of my “social needs” met.
I’m not alone.
Like every other social platform, Facebook has seen an uptick in usage during the lockdown, particularly with people utilizing Facebook groups.
People find emotional support. People find jobs. People share memes. All in Facebook groups.
Here’s how I have found my “tribes” in Facebook groups.
Find a Job or Grow Your Business
I’m flying solo as a lawyer. After years of working in law firms, I decided a few years ago to chart my own course and open my own practice.
But I miss the comradery that comes from working with other lawyers. Also, having to wear all the hats (law, marketing, accounting, IT, etc.) can be overwhelming.
My saving grace? Women lawyer Facebook groups.
MothersEsquire, Girl Attorney, and Boss Lady, Esq. have provided so much support in growing my practice. From how to network when you’re running a virtual practice to website design, those ladies have provided great advice. They’ve also been a great source of referrals.
Get Support to Build Healthy Habits
The last year has been challenging on so many levels, including trying to stick to a workout routine.
I used to rely on working out with friends and running local races to keep me motivated. But with gyms closed and races cancelled, I needed to find another way.
Enter Facebook groups for adult-onset athletes like myself.
The Peloton Moms Facebook group has fueled a new passion for Peloton workouts (and no, you don’t need to own their bike or treadmill to do them).
Another of my favorite Facebook groups is Love the Run You’re With, run (no pun intended) by the ladies behind the Another Mother Runner podcast. Four-month training cycles with monthly virtual races. You know the thrill of having spectators cheer you on in a race? It’s like that, only virtual.
Indulge Crazy Obsessions
Here’s a test for how well some of my family and friends know me.
What are my 2 secret, incongruous obsessions?
Answer: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Outlander. Half Pint vs Claire Fraser.
A childhood love of the Little House series morphed into an adult fascination with LIW (the actual person, not Melissa Gilbert’s character). I have an encyclopedic knowledge of her life and writings (and those of her daughter). I even planned our family vacation last year around visiting Little House sites.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Outlander. Mainly the books, but I’m a show fan too. What woman wouldn’t be a fan of Sam Heughan?
While my dear husband doesn’t share my obsessions, there are plenty of people on Facebook who do.
The Remembering the REAL Laura Ingalls Wilder (“real” meaning don’t ever mention the TV show) group engages in a ton of scholarly debate about her life and times.
For my Outlander obsession, I’m in more Facebook groups than I care to admit, but I do really like Outlander Series Books & TV. They have the most group rules of any group I’m in on Facebook, including the very specific “no nudity (even if from the show).”
Have I found a new group of friends since the loss of the Law Mamas?
Yes, I have. In fact, I may have found an even more perfect group, a group custom made for me: Peloton Law Moms.
Women lawyers geeking out about their favorite Peloton instructors, while also discussing a fair bit of career, parenting, or relationship issues.
I wonder if any of these ladies have ever read Outlander?