• Mon, Oct 8 2012

STFU, Parents Isn’t ‘Vicious,’ It’s A Reminder For Moms To Laugh At Ourselves

I’m going to begin this post by fully admitting that I’m biased in favor of STFU, Parents. Not only are these posts featured on Mommyish weekly, I happen to think that Blair Koenig is a really great person. So it probably doesn’t come as a shock that I bristled when The Daily Mail called STFUP “vicious” or when the New York Post claimed that moms and dads “despise” it. This morning, Blair was on The Today Show to talk about her blog, defend her stance, and explain a little more about over-sharing. Watching her interview I thought to myself, as I have plenty of times before, “Parents just really need to learn that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves.”

During the segment today, a blogger from The Motherhood argued that STFU, Parents is too hard on the online parenting community, saying, “And I can guarantee that if she decides she wants to become a parent, she will be there. And she really will appreciate the community that’s there to support her.” In that moment, I found it kind of amazing that this blogger didn’t realize, STFU, Parents is part of the online parenting community already. Plenty of moms and dads read the site, and they take comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone in being annoyed with oversharing, mommyjacking, and sanctimony from other parents.

Believe it or not, humor can be a part of this magical online experience for parents as well. We do not always have to take ourselves seriously. We don’t always have to spend our time on Facebook either adoring our own child or mommy-shaming anyone who makes a choice that’s different than our’s. In fact, taking a step back and giggling at our universal obsession with our kids might be one of the healthier aspects of a mom’s online activities.

I’m not saying that parenting isn’t difficult. I’m not saying that some rambling and over-sharey post on Facebook might not be the result of a parent who has hit their limit and needs a little support from their friends, family and fellow moms. Of course those things happen. I’m sure I’ve been there myself.

But in those moments, does it really hurt us to take a step back and see that parenting seems to weaken the filter of appropriateness when sharing information? Does it hurt to laugh at the idea of sharing your child’s bodily fluids with the world? Is it so bad to be reminded that everyone has things going on in their lives, and moms sometimes ignore those other life achievements because they’re too wrapped up in their own world?

In all the media coverage over STFU, Parents, it amuses me that the general assumption is that this blog isn’t for parents. Every TV lead-in says that moms are mad or offended. I think this blog is visited by a lot of parents and I think it’s appreciated by plenty of moms and dads who are searching for an online community that’s a little less uptight, a little more down-to-earth, and a little more willing to laugh about somewhere sharing poop pictures on the internet.

Moms are funny. Our over-eagerness, our paranoia, our obsession with our children… it’s all funny. It doesn’t hurt anyone to point that out. Honestly, I think it does us some good.

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Share This Post:
  • Eileen

    I look at posts on STFUP and can’t help thinking, “Anyone who really loves kids has to care too much about their privacy to be okay with their parents’ posting photos of them on the toilet.” Some of the comments can get a little anti-parents or anti-children, but B’s (Blair’s!) posts never are.

  • Kate

    I’m a parent and I read STFUP every day! I love Blair’s fresh and funny take on ridiculous parent antics. I consider her site a great guide in what not to do.

  • Victoria

    How nice of the NYP to tell the world on behalf of parents that we “despise” the blog. I’ve followed STFUP from the beginning, and became a parent since then… I guess I didn’t get the memo, because I still snicker at the posts. Bitingly funny is not the same thing as “viscous.” It’s a totally valid social commentary, and the offenders aren’t “parents” but “parents with no respect for their kid’s or friend’s personal boundaries.”

  • AJ

    I totally agree! Having two kids doesn’t stop me from reading and enjoying STFU Parents. I’m more offended that the media thinks I can’t laugh at it than I am by what is posted on the blog!

  • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

    I love Blair and I plan on sending her all three of my kids for a few months this year just because I hope by hanging out with her they grow up to be as amazingly funny as she is.

    • STFUParents

      Now this sounds like a challenge.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Keep in mind, they are old enough to help you do laundry!

  • Andrea

    I am a parent and i LOVE STFU Parents. I actually was following that site, before I found this one. I think it is awesome.

    I think parents that “despise” it are incapable of laughing at themselves and/or are guilty of just the behavior that STFU illustrates. And they see nothing wrong with mommyjacking, sanctimommying, etc.

    • http://www.cafepress.com/ladycrim ladycrim

      “Those who most verbally protest are the ones most likely to be guilty of the infraction.” Or something like that.

  • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

    I think people forget that the site isn’t knocking all parents, just the ridiculously over-sharing ones. And it only posts social media posts, not posts from parenting blogs or support sites and forums. There is a place for those posts and it isn’t Facebook, especially when it comes to gross stuff. I think this goes for any kind of over-share. It’s one thing to occasionally post pics of your kids or your latest dinner, or your pets, but when it’s 100 times a day and there is fecal matter involved it goes too far.

  • Ellie

    I’m a parent and I look forward to reading STFU because it’s so hilarious. The parents who don’t get it clearly have no sense of humor.

  • http://twitter.com/FormulaFeeder FormulaFeeder

    I could not agree more. I love STFUParents b/c there is FAR too much sanctimony in the parenting world. This extends to politics, social issues, etc, not just parenting – we could all stand to take ourselves a bit less seriously. And I hope Blair will keep her awesomely snarky perspective when she becomes a mom. I’d bet money that she will.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

    If some of these people would actually LOOK at the site before knocking it, they might like it, too. I have a 4-month-old and I know how you are consumed with your kid because they rely on you for everything, however, other people’s lives are still happening around you. When a friend posts about a new job or getting into a school for their master’s degree, I say “That’s amazing” or “Congratulations”, the APPROPRIATE response! I post pics of my kid, too. Not his poop or details of my c-section, but cute pics of him smiling, wearing a new outfit, etc. And it’s not every day. Some people, including other parents don’t want to be bombarded with pics of your baby. It’s not the sharing people have a problem with, it’s OVER sharing and it’s very annoying!

  • http://twitter.com/HorridBabyNames Horrid Baby Names

    If you do something stupid, we have the right to make fun of you. Trust me when I say that NO ONE wants to see a photo of your child’s poo on Facebook and we surely don’t want to see it smeared across walls, floors or their faces. People just need to have some common sense before posting some of the stuff they do on Facebook. I poke fun at stupid baby names and STFU Parents pokes fun at stupid parents. Don’t like either of us? Don’t visit our sites!

  • Aurora01

    I don’t think the STFU Parents blog is vicious at all but plenty of people in the comments section are. I stopped reading that blog because of them.

    • squib

      I agree that often the comments veer into an entirely different direction than the blog. I don’t think the blog ever crosses the line into either mean-spirited or anti-parent. And I think the same for most of the comments, too. Some of the comments, however, are so entirely anti-parent and anti-child that I can see how someone only briefly visiting the site would think that’s reflective of the blog, which I don’t think it is at all.
      And I still read the blog every single day, regardless of the comments.

    • Tiffany

      Comments most places of the internet can and do turn vicious. You don’t have to read them! I actually try to stay away from comment sections most of the time (though clearly I didn’t here).

  • LinZoo

    Oh, come on. Stop acting like you don’t know the blog is full of snark, people. Reading it is like watching Jerry Springer. I never miss a post!

  • STFUParents

    So many nice comments! Thank you guys so much! I’m glad you like the blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

    • STFUParents

      Extra special thanks for Lindsay for not only writing this post, but also reading/speaking my mind. I think parents are overlooked a lot as not able to laugh at themselves or at parenting, and that’s ridiculous! It’s like talking down to people out of fear of offending them. Stupid. Thanks so much for communicating that point so well, Lindsay!

  • Anothermom

    I actually was on STFU. I had some concerned friends tell me about it and inform me I should clean out my friends list. It bothered them more than me. I hadn’t heard of it before and was away with my husband and baby on businesss when it was posted so it was a week later when i saw it. It was regarding an ongoing joke with my friends about my son needing a lot of attention because he gets bored so quickly (he’s a high maintence baby). Blair made some inaccurate assumptions regarding me thinking my child was a genius and being disappointed later. In actuality, in our line of work, my husband and I encounter people categorized as geniuses and see how isolating socially that can be. As a result, I have no desire to raise a genius. We’re happy with our son however he turns out. Those assumptions on Blair’s part perhaps would have bothered me if my full name was used and it was traceable on the internet, but it’s not, so no worries. I don’t personally hate the blog. I’m too busy to properly hate anything that isn’t overtly harming others. That said, providing a space for a bunch of people to make lots of assumptions about strangers motives and intentions without revealing identities does open a space for nastiness and even viciousness at points. Some of the comments sound like extremely bitter people.

    • http://twitter.com/Codename_Loki AJ Crowley

      “providing a space for a bunch of people to make lots of assumptions
      about strangers motives and intentions without revealing identities”.

      You just described the entire internet, you know that, right?

    • Anothermom

      Internet sites that center upon collecting other’s words and placing them in another context to others can pass anonymous judgment are different in nature than sites aimed at providing spaces for people to share using their names/pictures. The entire internet isn’t centered on anonymous judgment. Blair isn’t the only blog/site with this intent but many have different motives aside from providing a space to making fun of people anonymously.

    • Leigha7

      Have you ever seen Failbook? That’s a site dedicated to things people have posted on Facebook that make them look like complete and total idiots. I’d be more embarrassed to show up there, personally (well, depending on what it was that got me on STFUParents, I guess…some of those things are really awful).

      Large sectors of the internet are dedicated to making fun of people, though, to be honest. It’s the modern America’s Funniest Home Videos, but with comment sections.

    • KazaD

      Oh look, you just did too, you made an assumption about strangers being bitter. See, it’s easy, isn’t it?

    • Anothermom

      Hence why the site could be interpreted as making a space for viciousness. It’s easy to cross over into outright nastiness given the nature of the blog. When the target is nameless and faceless and you’re anonymous it’s easy to not only make assumptions but dehumanize others. I’m guessing that’s where the critiques come from. When you’re making jokes at other’s expense that they aren’t in on or even aware of, some are going to call you mean spirited, even if lots of people enjoy it. That said, clearly there’s a following and she’s making a living at it, so what does she care, right?

    • KazaD

      Any space can become such a target. Some of the mommy boards I’ve visited are far, far worse and I find it ironic that they are the ones screaming the loudest and being the most vicious and hateful.

    • Taylor Scheid

      Oh man you’re right about that. I had to stop going to a parenting forum before my kid was even born because it was going to make my head explode. At least Blair has a sense of humor.

  • http://www.cafepress.com/ladycrim ladycrim

    *applause*

    Also: I’m not a parent, I don’t intend to ever be a parent (though I love kids), and I greatly enjoy the articles on Mommyish. STFUP isn’t just for the unchilded, and Mommyish isn’t just for parents. :-)

  • springv

    For the record, I’m the mother of a 7 year old girl. I only just discovered STFU Parents last week and I LOVE IT – it’s hilarious!!!! I see no reason why being a parent and laughing at the outlandish actions of other parents are assumed to be mutually exclusive. I mean c’mon…we’ve already had to give up sleep, birthdays, bike riding and leaving piles of knives on the floor. Why must we be expected to give up the right to laugh at other parents’ insane behavior on top of everything else? Well I’m sorry but that’s one sacrifice I’m not willing to make – STFU Parents is far too entertaining. Blair Koenig, you are my new hero – keep up the great work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.mcgrath.75 Rebecca McGrath

    For some reason people get all uptight when you say you’re going to give your toddler a swirly. Laugh! It’s a joke people.

  • meatybites

    It’s not about making fun of people because they’re parents. It’s about making fun of people because they’ve completely lost all sense of appropriateness. Why is that so hard to understand? – From a parent who LOVES the blog, and who has taken it as a cautionary tale every time I think about posting a picture or status update on Facebook!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.renee.reuter Mary Renee Reuter

    I’m a mom. I LOVE these articles. They crack me up (I mean, they make me laugh so hard tears come out) and they make me feel like my own oversharing isn’t as bad as it could be. I definitely don’t despise it. I think it’s possible that someone else could do this, do a bad job at it, cross the line, be too harsh, and THEN it could be offensive. But I don’t get that impression here. It’s as tasteful as you can get when describing people who post photos mid c-section.

  • Brikkz

    STFUParents is awesome. I’m a parent. I’m not alone in feeling some parents are creepy and annoying with the over share. There’s a part of the parenting community that’s not a bunch of narcissist. We laugh at ourselves. Some of us admit to being a documom or over sharing.