• Wed, Apr 25 2012

STFU Parents: How Not To Wish Your Kid A Happy Birthday On Facebook

I receive a lot of birthday-related submissions, because when you’re a parent (or a kid), birthdays are HUGE. And by huge I mean “they’re everything,” and not the modern day translation which is more literal and costs thousands of dollars. Birthdays are so important to today’s parents that they’ve managed to loosen the definition and guidelines for what even constitutes a birthday. Back in the day, it was defined as the day one was born. If it wasn’t that day, well, then it wasn’t your birthday. The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland even coined the term “unbirthday” to represent all of the other days of the year that a person wasn’t celebrating being a year older. But in 2012, a person could feasibly have a birthday for every WEEK of his or her existence. But I’m here to say that birthday = birth day = the day you were BORN. Forget the half-birthday fetes and the quarter birthdays and the weekly birthdays. They’re supposed to be special for a reason, people!

That said, when it’s a child’s legitimate birthday, I typically understand why parents get excited on Facebook. Even if the child is turning one and can’t read, or is simply under the age of 13 and not allowed on Facebook, I’m not above “liking” my friends’ status updates about their kids’ birthdays. It’s great that they’re proud and want to express their joy online. But here’s the thing: A simple, “Happy birthday to my awesome son who I love so much! Talon is two years old today!” would suffice, and yet so many parents slip in a little too much – or a LOT too much – information with their otherwise loving birthday updates. Parents take a Facebook stroll down memory lane and recollect certain details that don’t necessarily go well with cake and ice cream. So in honor of Birthday Week on STFU, Parents, I present to you some examples of how not to wish your kid a happy birthday on social media:

1. The C-Section Birthday Song

 

Talk about your grab bag of Facebook updates. There’s heartfelt emotion, heart emoticons, an exclamation point (or two) to represent every year Brianna’s been alive, a quick mention of a “C sec” (hip lingo) and musical notes! It’s like a modern day Happy Birthday song!

2. Labor Recap

 

It’s ironic that J. says “time flies” in her first “memory lane”-inspired update, because just reading through all of these quips makes me feel like I’ve aged several years. Good God, indeed. Save me from this woman’s labor recap.

3. TMI

 

Kevin really deserves a Gold Star for his comment. Melissa’s status update is very sincere and sweet, but why did she include the part about leaking fluid?!! Didn’t little alarm bells go off inside her head? Am I the only person who hears those bells??

4. Overkill

 

Individually, these status updates are sweet, but spaced out only five minutes apart, it’s overkill. Especially since Sparkle “likes” each one of her updates, which read like an extra long version of Story Hour. There comes a point when you just want to say, “Listen, lady, your baby can’t read. Tell *him* how you feel, not your 700 Facebook friends!”

5. Joys and Memories

 

Yikes. While I’m normally I’m a fan of people telling it like it is, in Jessica’s case I might advocate against that thinking. It’s annoying when parents discuss their baby’s birthday excessively, but I’ll take an excess of love and gratitude any day over a dearth of it. If you’re going to wish your child a happy birthday on Facebook, try to do it without mentioning your immense sense of regret. That kind of attitude won’t yield much sympathy. Birthdays are happy occasions. Celebrate them with a smile!

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  • Jerska

    The last one- wow! Did she really just say that? I certainly think my life is better without kids now… but if I had one, I certainly wouldn’t regret it publicly!

  • Brittani

    I’m very, very indifferent towards peoples’ children, and am also a huge fan of being HONEST about reproducing – you’re not special because you’ve done it, and your child is not special to anyone but you + your immediate family. BUT YE GODS, you chose to have said child, and he doesn’t deserve to be spoken about ON FACEBOOK (or ANYWHERE but in your head!) like that, Jessica! Poor Jake! That made me sad :(

    • A

      Seriously. I’m no fan of kids and I know some people regret having them and wish it would be talked about more (if only so people would bug me less when I say I don’t want them) but not on Facebook and not on your kid’s birthday.

    • Bubberfly

      Well, they don’t talk about it because giving birth means you’re practically a saint, even if you didn’t really want the child, and no matter how your child feels about you, because LIFE is so precious *no matter what*, apparently. Whereas women who choose to choose differently are the devil incarnate. You have no idea how much this bothers me. A woman who has an abortion because she knows she doesn’t want the child, because she can’t provide for them, because she doesn’t have the right partner to have a child with etc. is bad, whereas women like Jessica are good because they made the *right* choice?
      (And don’t get me started on “Why not just give it up for adoption?” – Yes, that’s an option, of course, but not for *everyone*. If everyone who’s had an abortion had given their child up for adoption instead there would be FAR too many children and not nearly enough adoptive parents.)

    • FluffMonster

      @Bubberfly — There are already far too many children waiting for a forever family, and too few families willing to adopt.

    • Jami

      @Bubberfly – Here’s my point of view as someone who doesn’t care for abortion. Then they should’ve made the choice to use birth control if they didn’t want kids. There’s far too many options out there, condoms, lubes with spermicide, the pill, morning after pill, etc that you can use in combination to prevent pregnancy to say “Oh, it was an accident.”

      Not that I think abortion should be entirely illegal. If there’s serious health problems, the child is a product of rape, or there’s always the “Jerry Springer Moment” – when you find out you’re a blood relation to the father of your child – I can understand.

      But if you want to have sex and not get pregnant, use birth control. And if you don’t want to use birth control, get a vibrator and don’t have actual sex.

      If your religion says you shouldn’t use birth control, then you know you shouldn’t be having sex outside of marriage. Though I do wish the Pope would lighten up on that subject. It probably would solve a lot of problems.

    • NeuroNerd

      @Jami, all forms of birth control, barring abstinence and hysterectomy, have failure rates. Even people who use birth correctly every time can get accidentally pregnant. Don’t assume that all people having abortions didn’t use birth control.

    • meteor_echo

      @ Jami

      I’m childfree (and looking into having my tubes ties as soon as I can afford it). Yes, I’m going to have sex with my boyfriend; yes, I’m going to use birth control as carefully and thoroughly as possible. But if it somehow fails (and we all know that shit does happen), I’ll run to my ob/gyn and make an appointment for an abortion as fast as possible. I’m NOT going to go through a pregnancy, no matter how other people may want it.

    • Lena

      Hell, even abstinence fails. Just ask Jesus… *g*

  • NotThumper

    My jaw is on the floor after that last one.

    • LiteBrite

      I think everyone’s is.

      As I was reading this I was thinking, “Eh. These aren’t that bad. Yeah, they’re a little over the top, but not defriending worthy.” Then I got to the last submission. I really hope Jessica gets some professional help (and I say that with all sincerity, no snark at all) before Jake is old enough to truly understand her bitterness and regret.

  • Mimble

    That last one…wow.

    I wasn’t a planned baby, and my parents were probably far too young to have a baby (esp. given that I was sick for the first two years of my life), but never – ever – would they tell me that they regretted having me.

    I know they wished they’d waited longer, and I know that my presence made them grow up before they were really ready to, but if they ever thought their lives would have been better without me, they’ve never said so – nor would they (though, they did wait awhile before giving me a sister).

    I wonder if Jessica has considered speaking to a psychologist. That’s some pretty deep resentment if she’s speaking about it so publicly. Both she and Jake would be better off if she got help with sorting out her feelings and dealing with them.

  • r

    I love how every one of these ladies needs to mention the unique horror that was her labor…it’s like this new, bizarre game of one-upmanship. And I bet every year they post a birthday status for their kid, they mention it. every. fucking. year.

  • MissRed

    Yikes, that last one :-( . “Spilling your guts to Facebook (so to speak), not always a good idea.”

    And we have not one but TWO C-Section songs: Rae and Sparkle (“singing”). Maybe they should do a duet?

  • Sharky

    Re: the last status — I thought when she said “having babies” she meant labor and delivery, not being a mother…. and then I read that comment addressed to Phill. Yowza. Poor Jake.

  • Imalia

    Wow, Jessica. 14 and a half years of trying to have a baby make me want to smack you square in your ungrateful mouth. Give me Jake, and I guarantee the quality of life you both have will be so much better.

    • Cindy

      I’m sorry you’re going through that. It’s only been 2 years for me so far and I can’t imagine.

      As for Jessica, honey, poor Jake didn’t ask to be here. It’s one thing to think these things in moments of weakness because we’re all human, but you do know how Facebook works, right? Everybody can see what you type. Someday Jake might see what you type. And now he’s just an innocent baby whose offense is existing, I can’t imagine how much worse it’s going to get as he gets older and starts making mistakes.

  • Rachael

    What strikes me about these updates is that it’s all about the mothers and THEIR experience, and the child’s life and importance in their lives seems to be very much in second place. Newsflash: your child’s birthday is about your child, not you.

  • Jami

    Jessica’s last remark makes me want to cry. Poor Jake. It seems if that’s her attitude he might be better off if she gave him up for adoption.

  • Beebop

    Did anyone else get “Paxton” overload from no4? It’s like she had to use his name every sentence just to make sure he was paying attention (which he clearly wasn’t. He is one.)

    • FluffMonster

      #4 can be summed up in ONE WORD.

      Ghetto.

  • Nichole

    Wow. That last one floored me! I had to read it 3 times before I was sure that really IS what she said!

    It wasn’t even said in a joking way, that is downright regret, and I agree with the people on here saying she should get some professional help. Especially because she admits she WILL get even more bitter as he grows up!

    Even if for whatever reason, she was too far along for an abortion, there is still the option of adoption, and if she feels this way, and will continue to do so (and get worse with it) she really should have just given him up for adoption. Perhaps to the commenter who has been trying for almost 15 years to have a baby.

    Poor little Jake! I really hope her attitude changes for the sake of the baby that she CHOSE to have and keep :-(

  • FluffMonster

    That last one.

    Wow.

  • Bubberfly

    I felt sick reading that last one. Wow. That poor boy. By the way, this is why ‘pro-life’ pisses me off so much. If don’t want a child, don’t effing have it! “I will only get more bitter over time”? Well, how nice. I’m sure your child will appreciate feeling responsible your bitterness and for how much your life sucks. And believe me, they will – no matter how often you passive-aggressively tell them that you love them *in spite of* all.

    Dear Jake,
    when you’re old enough
    tell your mum she’s a real bitch
    and get the fuck out.

    Happy birthday!

    • Bubberfly

      *feeling responsible FOR….

    • che

      I’m sure he WILL tell her. When my mom told me it was ALL MY FAULT she didn’t go to vet school, I told her maybe she should have used birth control or not slept around.* It was the last time she brought that up.

      *I am quite a bit more sex-positive now, and that comment makes me cringe, but the sentiment is still there. It’s not your KID’S fault you conceived, jeeze.

  • Katie

    Wow at the last one. Just wow.

    That said, am I the only one confused about the bed comment? Maybe things have changed since I was in a maternity hospital, it was 8 years ago after all, but everyone got a single bed…

    • LiteBrite

      No, I was confused on that one too. However, my confusion paled next to Jessica’s last comment.

      I think you’re right about the maternity bed, though. That’s makes the most sense.

  • PhDeath

    Amused at misspelling of “staph infection,” but imagining a hospital “staff infection” has its mental merits…

    • FluffMonster

      Microbiology Lab: Staph Only

  • Kristen

    Wow. I can hear it now at every birthday party he ever has, “Not only did you ruin my f***ing life but you also gave me a raging staff infection!(sic) Look at these scars!” *complete with showing belly to entire room or revelers*.

    This too,
    Jake: “I wish I’d never been born at all!”
    Jessica: “You and me both!”

    STFU Parents submissions have often made me sick to my stomach but usually in the poop/placenta way. Not in the soul-crushing way. I need some baby animal pictures. STAT.

  • omg

    meteor_echo shut the fuck up baby killing freak.

  • omg

    meteor_echo is the reason why cows should be allowed abortions MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    • Really?

      God, you’re an idiot

    • meteor_echo

      Honey, you’re the reason why access to internet should be severely restricted in psychiatric hospitals. Oh and – you suck at trolling but you’re amusing :D

  • omg

    By Really? that’s still better than what you and the kiddie killer are bitch

    at least I’m not jealous of kids having a birthday and being loved. what happened to you idiot? did your mommy throw you away like the trash you are soon as she shat you out?

    • FluffMonster

      Aw, isn’t it cute when they try to be insulting?

    • McBangle

      Classy.

    • idk

      @Omg
      I assume that you are old enough to be a parent; yet, you appear to be unable to grasp the concept of grammar, or the fact that other people may have differing opinions.

      You make me sad*. :(
      * And by ‘sad’, I mean ‘weep for humanity’.

  • Miz Jay

    Wow, I feel bad for Jake on that last one there…. poor baby. When I was small, my mother made it very clear that having me at 19 and marrying my father was collectively the biggest mistake of her life. It took me a long long time to make peace with it and understand that it’s not MY fault if her life didn’t go the way she’d anticipated- I didn’t ask to be conceived and I most definitely didn’t tell her to marry an alcoholic crackhead who’d go on to do his best to destroy her life. I understand that having a kid the spitting image of such a pathetic excuse for a father isn’t easy, and is a constant reminder of the worst few years of a person’s life, but blaming the child is just not okay- EVER. I remember how my mother’s attitude made me feel- lower than a snake’s belly, the worst creature there ever was. I thought I was a bad person, fundamentally, irrevocably terrible- that my mother was in pain because of me.
    Now I’m grown, married, and thinking about having babies of my own, and in a weird way, glad that I know what that does to a kid- I’ll never ever pin my regrets on my child. I know how much that hurts.
    Jake can come stay with us for a bit if he likes, poor kid.

    • Zoe

      Miz Jay – coming from a similar background (mom made poor choices, blamed kids, didn’t hide her regrets) and as a mom of two boys (1 teen, 1 tween), I hope my experience can be encouraging to you. My parenting method has basically been “do what my mom didn’t do” and, as funny as it sounds, it’s worked very well for me and for my younger sister. We are actually pretty good parents, because we both know the hell of a crappy childhood and we’d never want to inflict that on our own kids.

      That’s not to say that our pregnancies were hard – she’s 8 years younger than I am, and we’ve spent many an hour on the phone talking about our worries and fears, joys and successes. Parenting is hard work, but when you bring in the baggage of a painful childhood, it’s a bit harder. Trust yourself, have confidence in yourself. Just that you wrote “I’ll never, ever pin my regrets on my child. I know how much that hurts.” That’s awareness and compassion, two very important qualities in a person.

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