Thought Catalog

Parents On Facebook Are Not Our Mortal Enemies

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I realize that as a young and embittered single woman with internet access, I’m supposed to openly shame my peers as they record and share their various life milestones on Facebook. Serious relationships, engagements, weddings, and children are all worthy subjects of scorn because it’s like, Get a room you guys, or at least get your own internet so that I don’t have to be confronted by stability and personal growth every time I log in to hunt down the hot bartender I met last night. Why are you looking at me like that? Fine, I admit it’s practically his job to flirt with me, but it’s different this time. He’s different. We’re not having this conversation again, all right? It’s my life. Go change a diaper and piss off.  Where was I? Oh, so I know in my heart that I’m supposed to hate happy, well-adjusted people who post photos of their kids on Facebook. But I can’t.

Imploring parents to STFU or passively defriending someone because their pregnancy nudes caused you to literally vomit in your own mouth is nothing new, but I’m of the opinion that we’re excessively hard on parents when it comes to Facebook conduct. Sure, some of them could use a lesson in boundaries — I completely agree that not everything needs to be uploaded and tagged. I don’t need to see photos of your afterbirth or a slideshow of potty-training experiments gone awry. I have my own disgusting fluids, and that’s more than enough for me. But this is a question of oversharing, and single losers like myself are just as guilty as parents when it comes to announcing when nature calls or posting inappropriate photos (I find duckface photos to be so revealing that they border on pornographic). Oversharing is not a parent’s cross to bear alone.

One could argue that it’s not the nature of the content shared that’s so offensive, but the frequency with which an overzealous parent chooses to do so. Which is fair, but what about your one friend who invites you to all of his shows even though you’ve never even heard his band and haven’t expressed any interest in doing so? What about your well-meaning friend who won’t rest until you drink some Café World Kool-Aid? The person with whom you’ve entered a never-ending, circular Poke-fest? Monotony and not understanding the unwritten rules of social media are not exclusive to parents. Everyone is capable of spamming their friends to death with meaningless content.

That’s the pervasive sentiment about parents on Facebook, that everything they post with regard to their families is irrelevant. “No one cares about your kids.” But remove “kids” from that sentence and replace it with anything else and you have the nature of Facebook — of social media as a whole — in 2012. Do we care about your band? Do we care about Café World? Do we care about the article you published or the trip you took or the sandwich you made? The answer is maybe, but probably not.

So when it comes to babies on Facebook? I don’t mind seeing photos of my friend’s kids if they’re shared in a cognizant, secure way. I actually need to see those pictures. They’re proof that the dude I used to buy pot from or the girl I passed notes with decades ago were able to figure out parenthood — a concept so foreign to me that I’d need Rosetta Stone to decipher it from where I sit now. Seeing my peers with their children is comforting evidence that I’ll be able to navigate that phase of my life; it’s a celebration of the youth I once had and hope to experience again vicariously through my own children someday; it’s a reminder that life happens offline. And if we’re going on a witch hunt because a few bad seeds happen to be technologically unaware parents, don’t we need that reminder?

I know anyone who posts something that isn’t RELEVANT TO YOUR INTERESTS deserves to burn at the stake, doubly so if they have children, but there’s a simpler solution — logoff Facebook for a while. This is the one time that you can control how much of someone else’s life impedes on your own. You can’t stop a stranger on the sidewalk from exhaling their cigarette smoke in your grill and you can’t do a 180 when your cousin starts to recall the boring details of their trip to Boise, but you can look away from the Newsfeed. I promise. It will still be there tomorrow when you’re ready to mindlessly scroll through your own Profile Pictures or search for that hot bartender or whatever it is people are using Facebook for this week. TC mark

image – sabian maggy

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    • Anonymous

      The problem with Parents on Facebook is that they’re no longer sharing THEIR OWN SHIT. That child is another person, who maybe wont appreciate all the public over-sharing in the future. It makes me cringe. 

      The person who brought this up was my own mother, of all people. She observes in abject horror at her younger cousins with newborns posting about the everyday activities of the parent of a toddler. She raised four children, and acknowledges that its not the kind of thing that anyone would ever want hourly updates on.

      Furthermore, it’s like that guy who always talks about their friend who does this and their friend who does that and never talks about themselves. So uninteresting.

    • http://twitter.com/rachelisasmith Rachel Newsome Smith

      the thing that bothers me is when parents post photos and caption them like their kid is talking. “Look, moooommmy, i pooped in the potty.”  there is just something so beyond creepy about that to me. 

      Other than instances of whatever THAT is, I totally get your point. Good article.

      • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

         THIS! I cannot stand the creepy captions and the insistence on sharing toilet activities.  Pooping is not cute just because a young human is doing it instead of an old one. Why does no one seem to grasp this concept?

    • http://hotfemmeinthecity.wordpress.com/ natasiarose

      I’m cool with being friends with parents on Facebook, as long as they aren’t my parents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612170317 Christina Carroll

      Let the parents annoy you by posting their baby photos and status updates, and you can retaliate by posting party and club pics (rubbing it in that these are events that your parent friends can no longer attend on a regular basis). Its a two way street. Anyway its just Facebook.

    • Jam

      I’m actually really worried about the babies that have their entire lives on Facebook.  In twelve years, those embarrassing photos won’t be in a box at home, but on the internet for the world to see.  I think it’s just respectful to this future person’s privacy.

    • Jamie

      Stephanie, I think you have a bartender issue….As a recovering addict myself, believe me: you don’t want to date a bartender.

      • Anonymous

        Unless it’s Nick from New Girl.

    • Domino

      I thought the article was going to be about being friends with your own parents, which is like…. NO.

      • Joop

        WORD

      • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

        I thought that too!

    • DW

      What drives me nuts is when I see pictures/status updates about engagements/pregnancies/kids/etc. as if to show off that this person has reached some sort of higher status. I’m the only single one in my office, and the rate at which my colleagues complain about their children, yards, wives, etc makes me believe the single 20-something is the ultimate status.

    • Yamel

      The thing that irks me about my parents on facebook is when they comment on a beer picture I’ve posted at 4p.m and they’re all “Beer at 4 p.m on a Monday? tsk tsk tsk” and I’m like, “seriously? I’m 22 years old, I’m out of work, I want a beer!” haha. That’s why I consider my parents “mortal enemies.”

      • Jenesuispasmorrissey

        Did you even read the article? This is about your peers as parents, not about your actual parents.

    • nivs

      It’s a shame that these babies are growing up under constant public glare! I’ve had a quiet childhood, where no one other than my parents knew when I grew my first teeth, learnt to walk, eat on my own or what kind of clothes I wore, fashionable or otherwise! No one knew what grades I got in school, what instrument I played, what paintings I made. It’s absolutely insane! I am a mother now and I make sure not even a single photo of my little one makes it to Facebook. Most people think I am arrogant or conceited, some think I’m not a loving, doting parent or even to the extent that I’m ashamed of being a parent but what the heck! As long as my baby gets a quite easy no-expectation, no-stress kind of childhood (if not adulthood!) I am happy to be an obnoxious parent in their eyes. FB can get real frustrating at times. At such times I frantically look for such articles or I deactivate my account too cool off for sometime!  Nice Article, Thanks!

    • Rwik Sengupta

      At the end of the day, I think the child should choose if he/she wants his/her diaper disasters or drooling smile or first steps anywhere or A grade or soccer goal, FB or youtube or wherever. Which means one needs to be patient till their kids grow up to make that choice. I don’t believe parents have the right to make that choice for their kids.

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