If there’s one category of overshare that I receive a lot of submissions for but tend to not post about, it’s parent drama. Technically, the folder I keep these submissions in is called “Spousal Bashing,” but really, I don’t know if these people are married, divorced, polygamous, or what. All I know is that they’re comfortable talking trash about their child’s other parent online, with Facebook being the preferred outlet to ensure maximum public shaming.
Most of the time, I get submissions that involve mothers talking trash about fathers. I’ve seen examples of the other way around, but for some reason, more often than not the bile is spewing from the mouths of moms. Maybe it’s because women overshare more than men. Maybe it’s because “men suck,” or because mothers often have sole legal custody of their children and bear the brunt of responsibility. I’m honestly not sure. But one thing I do know is that the women in today’s column have no qualms about shaming and complaining about their children’s fathers online, whether they’re still in romantic relationships with them or not.
One reason I tend to not post these types of submissions is that they’re kind of depressing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m “thinking of the children,” but seriously, somebody should. It’s crappy enough to badmouth a parent in front of a child, but doing so on the internet (and, presumably, away from children’s eyes and ears) really isn’t any better. There are friends, relatives, therapists, and lawyers for that. It just seems so inappropriate to take the private gripes public. And in some custody cases, those are the details that wind up determining who is the more fit parent. After all, if you present yourself responsibly in person but are a total jerk on the internet, what kind of example are you setting for your child? Not that I have any opinion either way, really; I don’t care who the “more fit” parent is any more than I care who cheated on whom or who lost a job and has no money.
If any of my friends were going through an ongoing public dispute, or even just having an argument with a partner on Facebook, my opinion would only be this: Be quiet. Keep it offline. No one cares. Don’t air your dirty laundry to hundreds of friends on Facebook — and this time, I’m not talking about poopy diapers. Let’s check out some examples.
1. Parents Being Childish
If you know you’re being childish, to the point of actually calling yourself childish, then you should know better than to hit publish after writing your status update. Yes, Leslie’s child’s father sounds like an ass of a parent, but the better move would be to exercise restraint online (while perhaps bitching profusely offline). We all need to vent sometimes, but Leslie’s update isn’t about venting so much as it is about exerting revenge.
2. ALL CAPS RANTS
If you’re calling your child’s father a dickhead on Facebook, you’re already saying too much. But if you’re saying it IN ALL CAPS WITHOUT PUNCTUATION, WELL, THEN WE’VE GOT AN EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM ON OUR HANDS.
3. Child Support Woes
This is like The First Wives Club…On Facebook. Is that movie in pre-production yet? It should be.
4. Husband-Wife “Banter”
Yeesh. Tanya may or may not be pissed off at her husband Glenn, who may or may not find his toothbrush on the floor behind the toilet when he gets home. This exchange simultaneously makes me want to scroll down as quickly as possible and grab a tub of popcorn for entertainment’s sake. But mostly I want to scroll down. Personally, I keep my “relationship sass” off social media, and it’s worked out well so far. That’s what text messaging is for!
5. Strong, Independent Women…Who Complain About Their “Sperm Donors”
I really hate the term “sperm donor” as it’s applied to men who did nothing to help bring about or raise a child except to “donate their sperm.” I mean, I get it, but that terminology gives me a case of the sads. Melissa sounds like she’s been doing great, so why give her “sperm donor” a birthday shout-out at all? She’s raising an amazing kid, sounds like a dedicated mom, and all she has to do now is stop talking about her child’s father on the internet. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Hopefully this is the first update of its kind, and Melissa doesn’t post this every year on her “sperm donor’s” birthday. After all, he’s the one who’s in prison. What’s the point?