STFU Parents: 5 Facebook Signs Of A Documom

Every year, I dedicate the weeks leading up to Halloween to posting some of the weirdest and/or grossest submissions I receive, and this year is no exception. Starting this week and for the two weeks after that, I’ll be posting a few “creepy” (or disgusting) columns detailing some of the darker side to oversharing. First up: Documoms!

I wrote about documoms around this time last year, because I’d noticed a trend of mothers taking pictures of their children’s mouths at various stages of development. That was pretty weird – weirder than this column, in my opinion – but this time around, I wanted to do more of an overview of the documom trend. Teeth and mouths are a bizarre focus, for sure, but moms are apt to take pictures of lots of things related to their kids. And the difference between a momarazzi and a documom are drastic. Momarazzi just take zillions of pictures of their children being cute. Cute in the highchair, cute on the floor, cute in the park, cute at the zoo. Documoms, however, take their kid photography to a whole new level.

The pictures aren’t so much of their kids, but rather of something related to their kids’ bodies. I don’t mean that in a crass way, of course, but these are the parents who showcase something specific, more like a nurse who’s updating a patient chart. Oftentimes, the photos are taken because it’s the child’s “first.” First knee gash, first loose tooth extraction, first piece of belly button lint (seriously). But what comes across is this attitude of, “If it happened, it should be on Facebook.” And I’m taking the other side of that argument and saying no, it doesn’t. Not everything our children say or do should be posted online, and that includes respecting their physical privacy. What’s the point of HIPAA if your own mother is always posting your medical history or pictures of your weird bodily habits online? Can’t we let our children pick their noses and cut up their faces in peace?

Here are but a few examples of documoms who just don’t know when to put the camera down.

1. Stitches

STFU ParentsOkay, so your kid got some stitches. I could understand maybe posting a picture of him eating an ice cream cone afterward with the caption, “Ice cream makes getting stitches all better,” or something like that. But this picture is just a zoomed-in view of this kid’s face and eyebrow. Is that really necessary? It looks like a picture he took of himself that you’d discover on your camera, giggle over, and delete, not a picture that was taken with the sole purpose of getting as close to “the action” as possible.

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  • Christine

    Okay, about the eye infection thing…in the spring, my son broke out in a weird rash all over his body. Doctors couldn’t find any allergies and had no real advice for me, so I took to Facebook where I have lots of “mom-friends”. I posted that the little guy had a rash and asked if anyone had any advice. A few people asked for a description of the rash, instead of struggling to describe it – I took a quick picture of his swollen and rashy little face and commented asking for help. I got responses from family, friends, and facebook only friends who all had advice to give.

    I know it was oversharing and that’s not the situation that’s happening in the picture above, but sometimes being a “documom” is a little necessary.

    Thanks for your site though, I’ve been reading it since before I became a parent – can’t wait for the book (I know a few people who need the reminder)

    • Barkybark

      Christine, you didn’t take a picture for the sole purpose of just posting a picture on FB, though; you actually wanted some information/advice. Much different than the situation above.

    • Belle

      Lol that if a DOCTOR couldn’t diagnose it an actual trained medical professional, a bunch of mothers could.

      I wouldn’t be putting my child’s medical advice in the hands of my mother friends, my closest mother friends are an accountant, a high school english teacher, one works in a bookstore, one never did anything really. Sure, they have all seen their fair share of strange child body things, but that does not compare to proper medical advice.

      Mothers are not doctors, unless they actually are doctors. Most are not.

    • Leigha7

      True, but even doctors rely on experience. On the off chance that one of your friends’ kids had the same problem, or knows someone who did, it may actually be pretty helpful. Mind you, even if they DO have an idea of what it is, all you should do is take that idea to your doctor and ask for their opinion.

  • kate

    The tonsils…oh my god the tonsils

  • Pashmina64

    WTF #4 got to keep his tonsils?? I wanted to keep mine in a jar like Dil on Stickin Around when I got mine out at 9 but my mom wouldn’t let me :( Also, the whole “ZOMG ICE CREAM!!!1!!1!” thing is a total lie because a) you can only eat vanilla (chocolate and strawberry look too much like blood if you throw up) and b) I felt so crappy after mine were out I barely ate at all (I lost 11 pounds in 10 days). And I didn’t even get to keep the damn things! Sorry for surgeryjacking, tonsils are a sore spot for me :p

    • ladycrim

      “tonsils are a sore spot for me :p”

      No pun intended? ;-)

      I had mine out two years ago (at the tender age of 33), and ice cream was too cold for me to tolerate. I actually preferred soup.

    • wmdkitty

      I’m still annoyed that they didn’t save a gall-stone for me to take home. Yes, I’m weird like that.

    • amberbluecat

      I hear gall-stones look really pretty. That’s not fair. Did they at least take a picture of them for you?

    • wmdkitty

      Nope, not even that much, which makes me a sad kitty.

    • Justme

      Huh. Just the diet I’ve been waiting for – I just get my tonsils out and eat soup for a week and voila! Ready for swimsuit weather.
      Oh wait…

  • zeisel

    the child picking at her mother’s rash and the mother allowing it.

    the world is coming to an end.

    • BigBlue

      No kidding! The diaper blowouts and endless streams of puke don’t bother me, but that one made me gag. Disgusting!

    • Helen Donovan

      Not only repulsive but is picking sores really a habit you want to teach a child?

    • wmdkitty

      I know, right? I grew up hearing “don’t pick at that” on a regular basis.

  • Barkybark

    I’m surprised, B.! You completely missed in picture #3 that the mom said “he’s *cheating* on my leg….” as opposed to “chewing”! And silly me thought that was gross before going to #4. Ugh! Would someone post a picture of their appendix online after it came out of him/her?

  • To Celebrate Women

    I’ve followed your blog for ages and never been all that disturbed by the body parts/body fluid posts, but the tonsils made my stomach lurch. Who the hell thinks that’s a good idea for a Facebook post?!

  • emery ann harris

    Is it too late to squirt breast milk into #5′s eye? LIQUID GOLD.

  • MouserMe

    I’ve seen it all – A pic of little princess sloughing mommy’s feet skin fleck by skin fleck… Thanks *gag* for sharing. For some reason this is a bigger foul to me than the injury pics. Though that obviously unhappy baby’s mom, I want to take her lip and pull it up over her whole head. That poor baby is clearly unhappy and mom just HAD to get that photo no matter how much it hurts. What a……

  • grjane

    Here I thought the dead skin picker was bad, but the tonsil picture actually made me gag. The only thing that made it funny and somewhat passable is the thought that someone, somewhere, is going to say that the curves in the flesh look like the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus and will suggest selling them on ebay…

  • Monique Boulanger

    thanks for not putting up the foreskin documom pictures. i know you probably got a few of those…*not from me*

  • Kim

    Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t post a picture of YOURSELF doing these things or experiencing these ailments and send it to say, your boss, then don’t do it with your kids.

    I gotta say, though, I find the documentation bizarre, but I’m less offended by it than the poop sagas and mommyjacking. I mean, if you want to celebrate “30 Days of Jr.’s Toejam,” knock yourself out. At least you’ll make for more lively fodder at my dinner parties.

  • brittany

    You forgot bodily fluids…..and solids! Yes. That’s right. Pee and poop….bc omg some of my fb friends gave birth to human kids that poop and pee on the potty……and they think I need to see that because???? I have my own poop, thank you very much

    • STFUParents

      Poop is next week. ;)

    • ladycrim


  • Mister Crowley

    Eh, it’s pretty common for people I know to sometimes post pics of stitches/casts/bruises shaped like Abraham Lincoln. Some of it is pride of battle scars, a lot of it is pretty much saying “LOOK AT WHAT I/MY KID/MY PET DID TO MY/THEIR DAMN FOOL SELF THIS TIME~!” and one time it was because my stitches made my finger look like it had angry little eyes.

    I’d agree that sharing pictures of open gashes, amputations and compound fractures (also tonsils, that was kinda gross) is overboard, but not so much stitches, casts and pets wearing cones of shame. Especially pets wearing cones of shame.

  • Blueathena623

    Guilty — I posted a pic of my kid’s first 2 teeth.

    • Lindsay Cross

      I love you a bit for owning that. No justification or defensiveness. Makes me think that I wouldn’t have minded your picture that much.

    • ODBeckster

      Presumably there was more than just your kid’s mouth in the shot, though… First teeth pictures are cute to me; swollen gum close-up pictures taken of a child in some obvious discomfort, not so much. It’s all about context.

    • Amy Harrison

      So would I… but not shown close up (only the mouth), and with them somewhat happy.

    • Brikkz

      I can be a bit of a guilty documom. Not as much as the ones shown here. But I think I posted a pic of my son eating a popsicle after getting stitches and you could clearly see stitches.

  • LiteBrite

    #1 didn’t bother me all that much. No, I don’t see the point either, but it didn’t gross me out.

    The others though? WTF. Seriously, who takes a picture of their kid picking at dead skin and posts it on Facebook? Why? What is the thought process behind that?

    By the way, can I just tell you how much I LOVE the name Documom? I’m picturing a super hero nemesis, sort of like Dr. Octopus but with cameras, smartphones, and video cameras at the ends of her tentacles.

  • bozzgirl

    Seriously… the bloody tonsils almost made me hurl. Gross.

  • amberbluecat

    A while back, I had probably the worst health insurance EVER (the Drs, Pharmacy, and hospital were all part of the same org so it was almost impossible to get anything done/healed/fixed); I asked them to take a photo of half of my thyroid gland (+ nasty tumor) when they took it out. They wouldn’t do it for me! Just because this person is lucky enough to be able to see what was removed does not mean that they need to share it with people not involved with the procedure. That is really graphic.

  • amberbluecat

    When I was that age (as #5), I went to Palm Springs with my family and my mom later complained that the photos didn’t turn out very good because I was coming down with pinkeye. Times have really changed.

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  • Mary Renee Reuter

    Ew! Why did two people “like” the eczema picture!?

  • Deranged Housewife

    I’m pretty sure the tonsil shot is a violation of Facebook’s policies on body parts, etc. *gag*

  • lucygoosey74

    Eew, the tonsils picture made me want to throw up. The internet can be informative and amusing, but it’s things like this that make me long for the days when there was no way for someone to share EVERYTHING with the world. By the way, I absolutely love STFU parents!

  • Brikkz

    #1 didnt bother me and between the kid picking at the mom’s feet and the tonsils I don’t know which was worse!

  • soph

    I found most of them to be a little TMI, but somewhat socially acceptable — until I came to the tonsils post. :/

  • Julie

    I know this was written a long time ago, but I had to comment. The photo of the baby’s lips and gums is not just to show that. It’s a picture of an upper lip tie, which is a medical condition. Perhaps this mother didn’t know how to tell if her baby had one and was posting a picture to see if someone else could? Babies with upper lip ties (where the frenulum from the lip attaches to the gums much lower down than usual, near where the teeth erupt from) can have many issues if the condition isn’t fixed. Gaps between their teeth, increased colic and gas, and difficulty feeding. So while I agree with most of your points, that one in itself is not about getting teeth OR oversharing – unless that mom was just showing everyone the tie…