How much do you have in common with Jill Duggar when it comes to parenting? Turns out it might just be more than you think. No, we’re not talking about a general disdain for birth control, and it’s probably likely that you’ve never considered the controversial blanket training baby discipline technique.
But if you’ve ever wondered when your kid will start hitting certain milestones — or have turned to the internet and social media to get other parents to weigh in on the topic — then you and Jill Duggar have a lot in common not just with each other, but with the way tons of new moms approach the excitement and quandaries of parenting. It’s called crowdsourced parenting, and most of us do it at one point or another. Jill Duggar, for instance, is giving it a shot over on her blog right now.
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The mom of barely toddling Israel, who recently turned 1, took to the internet to type out a question we’ve all probably asked at one time or another. In a blog post on the Dillard family website titled A Question for the Moms Out There, Jill wants to know when she can start expecting her ever-more-mobile little one to start picking up toys. She models the behavior for him, she says, but is hoping someone with more experience can fill in the blanks.
It’s not a new concept, but it remains a pretty novel one; even when you have your family and your pediatrician drawing a vague outline of when your kid is developmentally able to hit a certain milestone, you crave the specificity of other moms who can say, “Oh, I’ve been there and done that. Here’s what to look for!”
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And sure, Jill isn’t lacking for family advice. If anyone can tell her when kids hit certain milestones, it’s her mom, and Jill and her sisters themselves took on a good bit of child-minding, so she’s surely seen her siblings hit the milestone she’s asking about now. But it’s just different when it’s your kid, isn’t it? That’s why a growing number of moms — particularly millennials — are seeking out the relatively objective opinions of the internet masses when they crowsdsource parenting advice.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 31 percent of parents use Facebook at least in part to specifically ask about parenting, and a whopping 59 percent say they find useful information that applies specifically to parenting on some form of social media. You’re probably familiar with the types of things people search for and squirrel away for later — questions on a local moms’ group about a trustworthy pediatrician, or an entire Pinterest board dedicated to hacks that will get your kid to eat healthy, climb into bed on time and, yep, even learn to pick up their toys.
People love to argle-bargle about millennials and Duggars, but it turns out it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to crowdsource the answers to burning parenting questions, so long as it’s just one tool of many in your momming tool belt. That won’t surprise people who check their Facebook feeds before they start Googling. Asking your friends for their own parenting experiences yields advice that has the benefit of being both objective and personalized.
The only caveat, of course, is to keep the really private or emotional stuff offline. Your kids won’t thank you for asking about a rash on their bum over Twitter, complete with an Instagram collage with hi-res shots of their booty hives, and a “name my kid” campaign can only end in disaster (remember Boaty McBoatface?). And of course, it’s always wise to take it all with a grain of salt.
But if you’ve got a few hundred “friends” you can toss a burning parenting question to — or a few thousand, if you’re Jill Duggar — ask away!
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