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.
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??
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!