I’m at the age where most of my friends have children. This can be a lot of joy or a lot of frustration. There’s two types of parents. And surprisingly, this applies to dads as well.
The first type is the kick ass amazing mom. Usually, these wonderful ladies are amazing before they get pregnant. They are amazing during and amazing after. They don’t post constantly about their child’s poop. There’s not a new album every day filled with hundreds of pictures of their child and no annoying reminders to look at said albums and comment on every picture. Their pictures and stories are usually very entertaining. And their kids usually make you think, wow I hope my future children are half as cute or sweet or funny or as smart as they are.
And then there’s the friend that turns into a complete asshole. They can’t hold a conversation without telling you what Little Susie did today. They stop caring about you and your life because you don’t have kids. You can go to their page and literally, every status is about Johnny. They blog every month or so but only about updates on Susie or Johnny and they don’t care to read your or comment. And they don’t even pretend to care what’s going on in your life. They post about how DARE the neighbors do fireworks at a reasonable hour on the two holidays that require fireworks. Because don’t they know your precious child is SLEEPING. And how dare the neighbors make a sound in the middle of the afternoon because your baby is napping. You know, the whole world should stop for you and your kid.
The kick ass mom will usually say, man just wait until you have kids, it’s hella fun and you’ll be a great parent. The latter, asshole mom will ask when you plan on having one. Even after you’ve expressly told them you are not ready and won’t be ready for a while. And you just might want to go a different route and then you get told you should have a real baby.
Slowly, I’ve weeded out the asshole parents. Sure, I’m interested in your children. Well, okay, let me be honest. There’s a select few children that I adore to pieces and would do anything for. I think they are the world and I look down on other babies for not being as adorable or as beautiful or as funny or as smart. If that makes me a horrible person, so be it. I know these kids are going to grow up to be fantastic. I know that because I know their mothers are the best women I do know or will ever know. I admire them. I respect them.
But where do you draw the line? What if it’s a friend you’ve known for a long time? Do you say something? Do you keep trying? It’s easy to ignore the people you barely talk to. People who have added you or you added because you went to school with them. But when a good friend seems to have morphed into crazy mom, it’s hard to decide how to handle that. I went through it with my best friend from my college years. When she met the father of her kids, she went crazy for him. And when she got pregnant, I knew that was the beginning of the end. I tried to hang in there but it just got insane. When her first kid was old enough to get into books, I got him my favorite book, Pat The Bunny. I still have my old copy and got him the updated version. And when she took it away from him because “he got too excited about it” I pretty much knew we were going down hill as friends. There was no separation between her and her being a mother. Plus seeing her two year old pulling down her top to breast feed was beyond creepy. By the second kid, I was so done. There’s a lot more to that story but that’s the basics of it.
I’ve seen a few people outright ignore the childless friends. I’ve seen a few people get really high and mighty that they are parents and others are not. You know the whole “you won’t really understand anything until you are a parent” attitude. I’ve also seen parents of multiple kids basically goad parents of single children into having more. Because they aren’t good enough until they have more! MORE!
I feel like the mommy blogs should be banned from the internet. I read one tonight that was just like…wow. There was an article about the STFU blogs and it was a good one. Basically the mom said that it’s helped her filter out what she should put online and it’s kept her grounded into being a mother and a woman and a person. And it was surprising to see that all but two comments were positive and non-crazy. One was a troll. Easy to ignore. Mostly everyone talked about how they are tired of hearing about poop and are tired of only hearing about the kids. Most of these people seem to be talking about good friends and not just random facebook friends. Friends they’d had a relationship with and was able to talk about their lives until they had kids and now it’s literally, nothing but the kids. And I was really touched to see a lot of them say, hey we care about your kids but we want to know how YOUR life is. It wasn’t just bitching about people not posting interesting things anymore. But one comment floored me.
“Assuming you’re the key audience of anyone’s social interactions is rife with disappointment. The total and complete point of my facebook is my child – I only got the damn thing to show photos to relatives flung far and wide. If you’ve friended me and are now laying down expectations about how I should behave to better entertain you, then you are going to be very disappointed. And if you try frame that with “oh but your identity!!” I will lose my shit.
Mothers cop a lot of this utter garbage about identity, all coated in ‘have some wine, a bubblebath, chocolate!’ or ‘boy into this expensive hobby!’ or ‘adopt this ‘subcultural’ identity marker clothing’ yet actual on the ground support to study, work, take time for themselves, do art, write, hell, just sleep enough to think, is non-existent.
Motherhood changed my life completely. I refuse to apologise for being less entertaining. Yet I have somehow retained friends! Crazy!
(I don’t get how endless photos of your cats is feministquirky, but endless photos of your kids is anti-feministidentitykiller)
(and yeah, my facebook photo is me and the kid – that’s a fair reflection of my life, sorry if you want drunkpics, that’s not how I choose to construct my online identity)”
Whew, tell us what you really think, geek.anachronism. So how selfish is it that she thinks people are using her as entertainment? The idea of social networking is to be social and network. It’s to keep in touch. Your life as a woman doesn’t stop just because you become a parent. And shutting that out completely leaves your friends to grieve your friendship. It really does. It has nothing to do with entertainment. The friends I’ve lost to that ideology, I miss their stories. I miss their adventures. I miss just being able to talk about silly tv shows. Or books they’ve read or movies they’ve seen. I understand it’s hard to do some of those things when you’ve got a living breathing thing to care for 24/7 but you don’t stop having thoughts and ideas and feelings. The universe doesn’t stop. I really wish these parents could see that. They aren’t adding to the world. They are taking themselves away. And another commenter hit that nail right on the head when they said, “If we don’t remember that we are still citizens of the world, we are failing our kids in an essential way, since one of our primary jobs as parents is to raise our kids to be responsible, participatory citizens of their various communities.” If you can’t balance a few status messages about you with pictures of your child, what message is that sending them? And then to go all nutters on an article and then rant on your blog to the point where it just doesn’t make sense? Whew! I think this mom should have her geek status taken away from her. And put on some medication. And a lot of therapy.
I guess at least I don’t know any parents who made their babies facebook pages and then uses it to talk to themselves. My dogs have facebook. Not because I’m crazy. They literally have fans who thought it would be hilarious to read. And it is. My girl dog talks about her power muff. Yes, she has a power muff. If you don’t know what a power muff is, think 70s Playmate.
I’ve really got to get together some good posts for my lovely readers because this post today was total crap. And I’m only posting it because I spent so long rambling and writing it. No go forth and judge me for giving my dog a power muff!