Lessons in Parenting from Social Media

I don’t have children. For the time being, I don’t lament that fact. I, however, do work with children and have a bachelor’s degree that required quite a bit of child development and child psychology. As a research-oriented person, a Ravenclaw if you will, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to read up on the latest case studies and articles on child development, such as the effect of technology on children, effective rewards and punishment strategies, how to deal with bullying, even color psychology. Things get cray up in here on a Friday night.

So, unlike many single twenty-somethings, I really don’t mind the constant Facebook updates from my mom friends. It’s a lucky thing, too, because in Shetland, that uterus has a much earlier sell by date than it would in say, any place that exists in 2014, as opposed to 1964. Fortunately, this allows me access to real time parenting research. As a result, here’s what I’ve learned about parenting from social media.

The names Prezlee, Ecstassi, Vyce, and Rebel will look great on resumes.

If he’s not old enough to drive, he needs to be in a rear facing car seat.

If I vaccinate, my baby will die.

If I don’t vaccinate, all the babies will die.

Walking through the room of a child in possession of Legos is like taking a barefoot stroll through the cobblestone streets of hell.

Leaving an infant alone for any period of time is extremely dangerous… unless it’s with an aggressive breed dog, in which case it’s adorable.

If I don’t breastfeed my baby for one year, they’ll probably die. If they survive, they’ll never truly love me.

If I breastfeed for one year and one day, they’ll picture me on their wedding night.

There are men who intentionally leave their toddlers in cars on a hot day. There are women who snap and drown their babies. Neither of these will compare to the day I call my daughter a princess. Surely, she is now doomed to grow up with no sense of self worth, no goals, no knowledge of the world beyond what her overbearing husband allows her.

God doesn’t know how to make children. I must help him via copious amounts of Photoshop. If no one’s wondering about my child’s glowing blue eyes and porcelain skin, I’m doing it wrong.

My toddler can have a concrete sexual orientation, but only if he’s gay.

If my kid doesn’t get a certificate or trophy, I should have one made, so he’ll feel accomplished, even when he isn’t.

If my child doesn’t have an iPhone by age 8, I’m depriving him of an understanding of modern technology and he’s likely to be kidnapped, because he was unable to call for help.

Teasing is not normal. If someone teases my kid for being short, there should be an assembly, a news story, and possibly a national campaign to ban the word “short.”

If my daughter plays with Barbies, she’ll develop unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty. The best way to combat this is by making her feel confident in her sexuality as young as possible.

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What do you mean I “think too much”?!?!?

Every now and then, I Facebook stalk myself. It’s not that I just think I’m brilliant and must have had something hilarious to say over the past few weeks or anything. No, no. I re-read my own blog for that. You see, though I keep my Facebook private, I’m still pretty conscious of the things I post, because I work in a very public field. I can’t risk an influential person seeing something inappropriate. There’s a reason this blog is anonymous and there’s a reason I say nothing but glorious things about my jobs, regardless. So, just in case, every few weeks, I read back over my old Facebook posts and delete anything that could be misunderstood or maybe had some kind of political tone to it, as the library is a very liberal place and my head is not. It is during this chore I made a discovery: a good 80% of my posts are media critiques and humorous self-analysis. I’m not exaggerating. I am either a delightful and entertaining Facebook friend, or those who felt obligated to keep me on their feeds hid my exhausting updates months ago. I’d wondered why I’ve gotten the comment “you think too much” more than once. Perhaps it’s because of the following status updates I’ve made in just the last few months.

gaston

“NO ONE says no to Gaston!” Sounds a little rapey, Disney.

You know, Rapunzel really could’ve fashioned a rope out of that much hair, all by herself. Prince not necessary.

I was always sad when Binx turned into a stupid boy, instead of an immortal talking cat.

When you watch American Beauty, pretend it’s the sequel to Hocus Pocus.

thora birch

Daisy, you suck. If you didn’t want to be with Gatsby, maybe you should’ve kept your dress down.

I never finished A Child Called It, so I’m pretending Harry Potter was the ending.

Rereading Harry Potter has me seriously doubting the child protection system of the U.K.

“Only a person who wanted to find the stone… find it, but not use it, would be able to get it.”
So, what you’re saying Dumbledore, is that Harry isn’t a hero at all, because the Sorcerer’s Stone was never in danger. Amiright?

You see that, J.K. Rowling? That thing between Ron and Hermione? That’s called “build-up.” It’s what you completely skipped with the convenience of Harry and Ginny.

I don’t care if Snape WAS “protecting” Harry. He broke a cardinal rule of teaching by mistreating an abused child, based solely on misdemeanors committed by his parents twenty years prior. What are the requirements for a degree in wizard education, anyway?!?!?

Sometimes, I feel like artists today KNOW that they’re releasing an offensive and morally objectionable product and must be making a statement about the values of society today. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out that Miley Cyrus is just involved in a complex case study?!?!?

I’ve gotta admire the killer from You’re Next. The man knows his contractions. That’s really more than I can say for MOST Americans.

you're next

L’oreal uses “my skin looks airbrushed” as a positive testimonial. I do not consider this a plus.

I agree with Buddy the Elf’s dad. The nun DID miss the payments. She shouldn’t have bought the books if she couldn’t pay. That’s akin to stealing. That’s why the Church isn’t in favor of buying on credit. I resent the implication that Santa was a socialist, who would’ve expected a business to give non-essential items free of charge, just because he chooses to do so.

nun from elf

I’m not buying it, American Horror Story. I totally would’ve mentioned my elderly maid’s age to my husband, if only in concern for her health. How self-absorbed ARE these people?!?!? I call BS.

Sometimes, I realize what a good cover it could be to be a librarian. Like, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND blames the librarian for all that vigilantism that’s cropped up in the city?

I probably come off less threatening when I yell at traffic with a sucker in my mouth.
“The light is GREEN! GO! I’m not even running late. You’re just annoying! Cinnamon is DELICIOUS!”

Wait. How is dancing to blame for a car wreck? 80’s movies are so stupid. Five minutes. That’s how far I made it into Footloose.

Who are these snobs in the commercial who’ve never eaten a Wal-Mart steak?!?! I’m pretty sure that 80% of the steak I’ve eaten IN MY LIFE came from Wal-Mart, Princess.

“Ladies: buying a new vehicle isn’t just for men.” Well, I didn’t think you were being sexist until you said that, Car Salesman.

Game of Thrones: There are seven kingdoms. Why can’t there be seven thrones and they just SHARE the world? I’d prefer a ruby throne to an iron one ANYWAY.

throne

So I’m in this abandoned cabin in the woods, right? Then I find this chained-up book in a room full of dead animals. I figure, I’ll totally open this sucker and read aloud from it. It’s gotta be good if it’s banned, right? No. No, I do not, because that’s STUPID.

You don’t have to stay with an angry, abusive man, just for his library, Belle. I can recommend several good Master of Library and Information Studies schools that are accredited by the American Library Association.

If you watch 7th Heaven after a Sons of Anarchy marathon, you will become convinced that all of those girls Matt dated disappeared into a pit of fire and that’s why you never saw them again.

If Barbie is making your daughter insecure, you’re not spending enough time with your daughter.

The true villain in Hansel in Gretel was not the witch, who was just an innocent victim of vandalism and had a right to protect her home. The true villain was the totally whipped dad who’s all “Yeah, honey. I’ll just go abandon the kids in the woods, right quick.” How has everyone missed this?!?!

Every time I watch the movie Twister, I think ‘What former storm chaser has liability only?!?’

twister

I would not even care about the zombies in The Walking Dead. Those people have no electricity. EVER.

When I was little, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory really freaked me out, because I thought all the kids died in the end. I’m still not sure.

I like to pretend Sin City is a spin-off of Gilmore Girls.

Lorelei Gilmore does not budget AT ALL.

In all these suspense novels someone asks “license plate number, make, and model?” I would be so screwed, because my only answer would be “blue… or black… maybe green.”

The night I watched the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie:

That girl was not 38. She’d have to be since the original was filmed in 1976 and they had iPhones. I suppose I could’ve missed the futuristic element of the first one.

What brand of chainsaw does this guy use?!?! Does it have a uranium core or run on magic? I haven’t seen him put gas in it even once and it cuts through like EVERYTHING.

Puh-leez. That guy has neither the dexterity nor the medical know-how to cleanly cut off a person’s face.

texas chainsaw massacre

Excuse me, Miss. You dropped your dirty bra on my newsfeed.

My bachelor’s degree is in Family and Consumer Science Education (home-ec), which is a degree focusing on a wide range of things. Stereotype mostly dictates these as sewing, cooking, child development, and marriage. I once burned Easy Mac. My dog’s alive because he barks at me if he doesn’t have food and he probably didn’t actually eat that bullet that one time. I’m 25 and have been divorced for two years. You can’t learn everything from a book, y’all, amiright? confused with book I, however, can sew and bake like a badass motherfucker. So there’s my proof that some lessons stuck. Another one of those lessons was how to be really bad at marriage… not that this was necessary to learn from a textbook, because Facebook provides me with constant guidance into this venture. The following are all paraphrased Facebook statuses, mostly only straying from direct quotes because I couldn’t bring myself to include all of those spelling errors.

 – “Ugh. I’m so tired of the fighting and verbal abuse. I just want a divorce.” –
You know how you get a divorce? You call a lawyer. If you truly “want a divorce”, you’re typing it into a search engine, not the Facebook status bar. You don’t want a divorce. You want to villainize your husband, so that your mutual friends will realize that you’re the wronged one in the relationship when it finally ends, and take your side. What you’re doing, however, is attacking him in public. This is the E-equivalent to taking off your high-heeled shoe and beating him with it in a Wal-Mart while screaming that he’s an abusive bastard. You don’t look verbally abused when you make this post. You look like the verbal abuser, who is making an effort to humiliate her husband to the masses. This is especially true when he makes no similar posts ever in time about your marital issues. If he’s calling you a worthless, fat, cunt, whose children are right to ignore her, it’s still not appropriate to lament about this on Facebook. It’s appropriate to call up your mom and sister to cry and tell them your marriage is a wreck. It’s appropriate to break down at a family dinner to your grandma and a room full of supportive cousins. It’s even appropriate to drink 8 LITs at a bar on Thanksgiving while blubbering incoherently about how he was supposed to make 60% of the income and not pawn your jewelry while your best friend gets the keys. All of these interactions are as perfect as can be in a disastrous situation, because they are confined to people who give a shit. That list doesn’t include your high school student council members, that girl who bullied you and was friended just so you could watch her get fat, or the third cousin who was never really open about why he went to prison.

abusive woman – “I just carried in a fifty pound bag of dog food all by myself. I always wanted to be a single mom. Oh, wait…” –
This particular woman’s husband was working out of town fighting wildfires, while she was staying home cuddling the baby. Don’t get me wrong. Babies are gross and loud. I wouldn’t want to be left alone with one, either, and I can imagine this is difficult… you know, sort of like how putting out wildfires is difficult. This is such a regular social networking trend that I want to bomb the Internet. I’ll flat-out admit that I am completely and totally biased here. These women are bitching about a man who works too hard to support his family. Try sopping up the blood from your foot because the cat knocked a glass off the counter three days ago and he never cleaned it up, despite not having had a job for three fucking years. Spend four years with a man who is too lazy to bathe and then you can bitch about how your husband has a well paying job in which he’s working in extreme and dangerous climates to buy diapers for your child. These men aren’t workaholics regularly taking on 80 hours a week. They just have mutually agreed upon jobs with unpredictable and sometimes non-local hours. Said jobs are often worth it, too, because they pay well enough for these women to stay home and whine on Facebook while their husbands bust their asses. Again, it’s not that these women are bad wives for feeling lonely, frustrated, or overwhelmed. They are, however, ungrateful and unsupportive partners for posting these thoughts on a billboard read by their husbands’ friends and entire family. If my son ever married a woman who complained publicly about having to carry fifty fucking pounds, I’d be perfectly willing to call her out on the fact that this is the approximate weight of a six-year-old and there are plenty of actual single moms carrying those inside all alone with a lot less bitching, because being a single parent is a lot more difficult than carrying dog food funded by their husbands.

overwhelmed mom
Key difference: she works to pay for that dog food and then carries it in alone.

 – “I’m so glad my husband decided that my telling him he could have one or two beers with the guys meant he could get plastered and leave me to take care of three boys alone.” –
No.Your husband does not need your permission to have a beer with his buddies, just as you do not need his permission to buy that new Coach purse. You are both adults and should be making any and all decisions with regards as to what is best for your family and whether or not this splurge is possible without hurting the overall unit. If he dropped the ball doing that, fine. People make mistakes. Telling your friends, family, high school acquaintances, and his friends, family, and work buddies when you fucking tag him in this status, however, does not undo the damage, and hurts the family unit far more than his original crime, by involving other people. I have never seen a man post a status update of “I’m so glad my wife decided that getting her nails done was more important than buying new tires for the car” or “I’m so glad that my wife got so drunk last night that she threw up in the entryway, passed out and pissed herself.” It’s not that these women don’t make mistakes or go too far, just that their husbands aren’t choosing to share it with the world. man screaming at computer – “I am so tired of hearing my husband tell me that the money I make doesn’t mean anything. From now on, I’m just going to take my money and spend it on whatever I want then, if it’s so unimportant.” –
Why in the hell would you even want to post this on a social networking site? No one sounds good in this statement. You have an unhappy marriage and you’re officially choosing to no longer contribute to it financially? Maybe next you’ll post about you got drunk, threw up in the entryway, passed out and pissed yourself. Sure, your husband comes off as a jerk here, but you look like a child throwing a keyboard tantrum. Perhaps, instead of bashing him on Facebook, you could take some of that paycheck and put it towards the marriage counseling that the world now knows you need. woman throwing keyboard None of the feelings that inspire these posts are particularly bad. You’re losing faith in your marriage. Fuck, I feel ya there. Run, run, run, and don’t ask me for marital advice, because that is always the answer. You feel mistreated. You’re lonely and overwhelmed. You’re upset about the fact that your husband made a bad decision and it’s affecting you. You’re feeling under appreciated. I getcha. I felt all of those things all of the time in my marriage. You have my sympathy… or you would if I fucking knew you outside of Google Chrome. I don’t, though. I know that when we were kids, you liked Batman, you have a golden retriever, your baby isn’t that cute, you like to take pictures of your overpriced manicures, you’ve put on a few pounds, you’ve decided to call yourself a “photographer”… but I haven’t seen you in person since high school. I should not know your marital issues at all, unless you’ve personally sought me out for comfort. When I got divorced, I had multiple family members ask at Christmas how over it was, because they hadn’t heard anything about it. I’d filed the paper work before I told any of them. That’s because, with the majority of them, we weren’t that close and they only kept up with me through Facebook, where I never complained about my marriage to Voldemort himself. What ever happened to the old adage about not airing your dirty laundry in public and why do so many women in my generation not understand it or realize the value of keeping private issues private? This is social networking, not your private blog. Everyone you know can read this. Yes, indeed, it is specifically a female problem. I have never seen a man make any of these personal posts about their relationships (though I’m sure it’s happened and is just rare) and it’s ridiculous that women think it’s okay if they do. Equality doesn’t mean we get our turn to humiliate. If a man posted on Facebook “I can’t believe she just spent $200 on the UGGliest boots when she needs new tires” or “I love that I’ve been stepping over bottles of nail polish in the living room for two days”, I would be mortified and expect him to immediately take it down and apologize. Why don’t we owe men that respect? Furthermore, why don’t we owe our relationships that respect? I get a say on this trend, because ultimately, when you air that dirty laundry for all to see, you invite those people to comment on your shitty laundering skills. bra on computer

Divorce is not an option… you know… until it is.

Ah, Facebook trends. Guess who’s about to go on another No-One’s-Divorce-Is-Any-Of-Your-Fucking-Business Rant?

…as I did in Toasters, Marriage, and the Good Ol’ Days and Your ONLY marriage? Why didn’t I think of that?

no divorce again

The Facebook status update I made much later was:
“The wedding pictures you posted last month are a lot cuter than the judgemental little sayings you’ve been posting about divorce ever since. You don’t know anyone else’s pain.”

What I wanted to say in direct response to the above, was:
“Oh, suck my big fat furry dick, you’ve been married for eleven damned days, you twit.”

Once again, this shit implies that the rest of us went into our marriages considering divorce an option, because we just don’t value the sanctity of marriage as much as you do. It’s nice that you’re an adorable couple and you get along. I’m truly happy for you. Now fuck off.

divorce cake

You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

Yeah. That’s why we all got divorced… because we got mad that one time. Not to mention, if that’s how he talks to me, no wonder I’m mad.

Grammatical errors aside, that is not the solution to real divorce-inducing problems.

“You have been on that couch for four damned years!”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“I had the rent money right here. What did you fucking do?”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“You shook our baby?!?!”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“Look at these bruises!”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“You killed the dog on purpose?”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“Kiddie porn?!?!”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

“You molested our daughter!!!!”
You mad? Take your ass in the other room and calm down, cause we gone work this shit out.

Divorce is not an option… you know… until it is. On that day, I hope people are more understanding of your pain. I’ll even withold my “I told you so”, because I know it hurts that fucking much.