STFU Parents: Rules For Visiting Your Friend’s New Baby, According To Facebook

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but how does one define a “village” in 2013? Back in the day, a village meant the fifty families that lived closest to yours. But today, with the help of modern technology and social media, a “village” can stretch as far as a person’s Facebook feed, which is both a blessing and a curse. Messages that used to be communicated face-to-face, over the phone, or through a neighborhood newsletter are now distributed via a simple status update. And now that “village communication” is as easy as hitting Publish, some people, especially parents, have a tendency to take things a little too far.This can play out in the form of promoting baby registry “requests,” protesting a lack of childcare at certain events, fundraising for adoption or fertility treatments, or outlining exactly what to buy a child for Christmas or for his/her birthday. But the most irritating form of all is the list of “visitation rules” parents post on Facebook in order to prepare their “village” for meeting their new baby. This is a polarizing subject that’s been debated and discussed on STFU, Parents before, particularly because there are so many variables to consider. Personally, I’m of the belief that there’s no reason to post a list of “rules” at all, even if the rules are reasonable requests such as “wash your hands before holding the baby” and “call before coming over.” To me, these requests can be made in person, via email, or over the phone. How many of a person’s 500 Facebook friends are planning to come over to see the new baby, really?

However, proponents of Facebook visitation notes say they’re an easy way to communicate with annoying relatives who are likely to drop by with a bad cold, a lit cigarette dangling from their lips, and a lack of self-awareness that leads to overstaying their welcome. While that’s all well and good, I still can’t understand why it’s necessary to tell a group of adults what to do (or what not to do) in a sweeping statement on social media. If you already know Crazy Aunt Rita is notorious for visiting new babies when she’s drunk, why not preemptively tell her — and only her — not to visit? I don’t see the benefit of posting a mass message about something that’s bound to only affect a handful of people, and possibly rub some of those people the wrong way. Plus, since when is it appropriate to crowd-source meals, dog walks, and chores from friends on Facebook? If you’ve just given birth and your friends want to help out, great. But if no one’s volunteered, wouldn’t it make more sense to reach out to close friends and family personally to request those things? Or does being a part of someone’s Facebook network automatically make you a member of their “village”?

Ultimately, a person’s attitude toward post-labor visitation updates seems to be based on personal experience. If you’ve had a baby and got frustrated with friends and family not doing as they “should” in some capacity, then you’re likely in favor of the visitation status update approach. If you haven’t, you probably think that approach is passive-aggressive and the message could be conveyed in another way. The irony, of course, being that some parents don’t want any visitors at all, while others are begging their friends to come do their laundry and give them a foot massage. In today’s world of overprotective parenting, who can keep track of all the rules, anyway? And, more importantly, who cares?

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  • Elle

    Ya know… as obnoxious as some of these posts are…. childbirth is rough, first-time parental anxiety is a real thing, and sleep deprivation is exhausting, and even though I totally understand that these can be annoying to see… sometimes you just don’t have the energy to contact all 20 of your friends that might want to visit, and this is what you go for. Is it really hurting anyone? Again, not excusing it, and I didn’t do any of these kinds of posts, but after having a rough recovery myself, I can understand it.

  • Williwaw

    Is a “princess nugget” anything like a Chicken McNugget?

    • DanielCraigForevah

      I think it depends on how many chemicals are involved.

  • DanielCraigForevah

    As someone who doesn’t get a flu shot because I don’t get the flu, and therefore don’t want to get sick from the shot, I would be really sad if one of my close friends wouldn’t let me visit a new baby because of that. Not everyone can take those shots. Is this recommended by doctors now? (I’m not a mom, so I genuinely don’t know.)

    • BarlowGirl

      Yeah, I get sick twice a year. I get a cold that turns into a throat or sinus or ear infection the second week of September. I get antibiotics. I’m done. Then I might get a cold in Mayish and it turns into a throat or sinus or ear infection. It’s about twice a year. I’m sick for a week or two and I spend most of that in my bed miserable and high, then I’m good for the rest of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever even gotten the flu. I work with little kids so I get exposed to like every single thing that goes around and I honestly think that’s why I only get sick twice a year. I get summer off, July and August, and I get sick the second week of September like clockwork.

      The only thing I really wish I could get, honestly, is the shingles vaccine because I worry about that. I know people say mostly older people get that, but I had a french teacher who couldn’t have been more than 30 get it when I was a kid and she got so sick. I got exposed to chicken pox twice last year and that just freaks me out.

    • DanielCraigForevah

      I know a 34 yo who got shingles after being stressed out in veterinary school, and I pray I never have to go through that. It sounds like a nightmare! I still can’t believe there’s a chicken pox vaccine now. I just learned that recently – getting chicken pox was like a rite of passage when I was growing up.

    • BarlowGirl

      *shudders* I hate you XD I’m TERRIFIED of shingles.

      Dude, if it means I’m exposed less, ALL THE VACCINES. Plus adults who haven’t had it don’t get exposed. Chicken pox can kill adults and all that. I like herd immunity.

    • DanielCraigForevah

      Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the chicken pox vaccine. I just had no idea that kids don’t get chicken pox anymore! I’m actually relieved because my husband has never had it, and he’s a coach. So the fewer kids who get it, the less we have to worry.

    • BarlowGirl

      Herd immunity is a wonderful thing!!! I actually got chicken pox juuuuuust before the vaccine started to get popular. Aren’t I lucky? :P

    • Ally

      Yeah, shingles isn’t fun. I had that as a 9 year old. Apparently it hurts more the older you are and the higher on your body it appears. Hopefully the chicken pox vaccine reduces chicken pox outbreaks and also shingles. I wouldn’t wish that shit on anyone.

    • BarlowGirl

      The more people say they’ve gotten shingles young, the more I hate people who take their infected children out in public :P

    • Fluffy_1

      I have severe needlephobia so my reasoning for not getting a flu jab is that I’d rather take my chances than risk spazflailing about, screaming, punching nurses and fainting if anyone brought a needle within a square foot of me.

      Oh, and I’ve visited plenty of sproglets whose mothers made zero demands at all on visitors and all were grateful that people showed up at all.

  • Bea

    I think my sympathy gradually degenerated as I read through these. The first one didn’t seem too horrible, just inappropriate for Facebook; it would have been fine as an email to a handful of close friends, especially if they’d already expressed interest in helping (I’m giving the original poster the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the “we’ll compensate you by letting you gaze upon our daughter” line was mild sarcasm that just didn’t come off well). The vaccine request is TOTALLY legit in my opinion, but again, inappropriate for Facebook. If someone shows up at your house, or asks about coming over, THEN ask if they’re immunized. The others were just rude.

    • Pappy

      Hey man, I think getting to see the littles AND getting free basil is the best offer ever! I would be on that like aphids on Nasturtiums. :-)

  • BarlowGirl

    FUN STORY. When I was born, my uncle came to visit me. He was sick. I caught his cold and my mother caught his cold and we both ended up staying in the hospital for a full week instead of a couple days.

    Guess what? I’M STILL ALIVE.

    However. My mother had a C-section. Maybe you shouldn’t visit somebody who has recently had surgery when you’re sick.

  • VLDBurnett

    Am I the only one who suspects that these ladies (or mama bears, gag) will be next be complaining about how no one (or not enough people) came to see their newborns?

  • Jezebeelzebub

    Yeah, I’m late to the party but I just have to say that I am really, really glad there was no Facebook when I had my daughter. I can’t even imagine what my FB posts would have looked like… well- I CAN imagine, and that’s the problem. I spent the first 6 weeks with my brand new lump of total helplessness alone. My husband (her father) was an OTR truck driver and he went back to driving the day after we brought Princess Nugget (lol) home from the hospital. I immediately became the Bizzaro World version of myself. I was paranoid about everything. I knew for a fact that if I stopped looking at Her Royal Highness for even one second, she would die. So then I also stopped sleeping because sleeping negates the whole YOU MUST LOOK AT HER AT ALL TIMES thing. After about a week, I got *really* weird and practiced Extreme Paranoia. Also, hormones. The hormones, you guys. Everything was wrong all the time and the baby was dying but not if I counted all the things and never stopped looking at her. So yeah, my FB posts would have been cringe-worthy to say the very least… but on the upside they would have provided an in-depth look at How To Have a Complete Mental Breakdown Like A Boss. When my friends came over I was more worried about them not being who they said they were and instead being clever replicas who were carefully manufactured to trick me into letting them into my barricaded house so they could steal the baby I worked so hard on making, ejecting from my body, and then eyeballing relentlessly rather than worrying about whatever germs they might be carrying. If I *had* said anything to them about washing their hands/clothes/faces/whatever, I’m sure one of them would have pointed out that I was still wearing the same outfit I put on the day my husband left and that I had not showered since then, either.
    It was a very weird time for me. (HRH Princess Nugget -LOL- is still alive, by the way. She’s 10 and I don’t have to look at her all the time anymore.)

    • Bubble

      Sounds like a ‘nice’ postpartum psychosis you had there…

    • Bubble

      This is also why STFUParents (as much as I often enjoy it) sometimes makes me cringe a lot more than those posts. Because these new mothers are an all-too-easy target, really. Those hormones CAN make you crazy, and a lot of women suffer from postpartum depression (many more than care to admit it because there’s still a lot of stigma attached to it), which can also make you go slightly crazy and over-protective and whatnot. I really have no problem poking fun at weird and sanctimonious parents, but new mothers? I find that a bit unfair.

    • PrairieCoast

      Yikes! Postpartum hormones are crazy. I balled at the table at a restaurant because my week-old son was in his carseat on the floor right beside me and that was just way too far away and he was probably going to die. Fortunately I did not feel compelled to post any crazy sh*t on Facebook, though. Glad you got through that time…sounds rough!

    • Jezebeelzebub

      Thank you! (I am too…. I were CRAZY.)

  • Ally

    There’s no way I could ask any of my friends to sign up to a meal or chore roster. I’d maybe ask my mum, but that’s about it. I’d take stuff people offered, but asking for it?

    My sister had some of her husband’s friends send them an email asking to nominate for days for a meal roster. For a first baby. I can almost forgive it for multiple births, but who the hell expects a meal roster for baby number 1? Get a chest freezer and start filling it up.

  • mercury7jg

    I legit just had someone share this post in my FB feed.

  • Maitri

    Oy – Makenna – *barf*
    That said, we didn’t have hardly any visitors either in the hospital or at home, just our parents. Once the babies were home, we were on our own. I wish someone had come to visit just to have a grown up to talk to! I wouldn’t have even been a sanctimonious brat about it like these lovely ladies!

  • Pixx

    You need a booster for the whooping cough shot. I’m probably not immune anymore, either. It used to be you didn’t have to worry about that, but with all the anti-vaccination movements, now you do. I would have absolutely no idea where to begin guessing on whether or not friends and family have a booster shot for whooping cough, so that option seems out, too. Newborn deaths from whooping cough are on the rise. It seems ridiculous to have to ask about vaccinations, but this one isn’t the fault of the parents–it’s the fault of all the dumb people who have made a former non-issue into a huge public safety concern.

  • Erik

    I hate parents more than I hate kids.

  • alex

    These parents be like Kanye West, all up themselves like the world revolves purely around them.

  • oofstar

    you know, if I had a baby, I don’t know who would even be clamping to visit. I’ve never visited a baby just cause it was born unless I was its aunt. these people’s social networks are completely exotic to me. 90% of my facebook friends are basically punk scene acquaintances. I don’t know, I just don’t get it.

  • Toodlesloo

    I’m glad none of you are my friends or family. I have people who actually care about me and helped me with my children.

  • fatty mc ppregnant lady

    These people can kiss my bloated pregnant ass, I don’t want people to come over and feed me and clean up after me. Friends/family do not = free labor. It’s one thing for someone to pop by and bring you a treat without expecting it, it’s another to act like you deserve it. Babies are ugly when they are born, sorry fetus you won’t start to get cute until a few weeks old, of that’s the only thanks someone gets for half the crap they demand they don’t need friends, just hire a cleaning service and order some delivery food.

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  • CFandHappy

    Hmm, okay so why didn’t any of my friends ask any of this shit when they became pregnant? Why wasn’t I asked to go and have vaccinations when they had newborns and invited me over and – GASP – didn’t request that I do their cooking, washing up and vacuuming? Maybe because they’re not self-entitled, whiny little cows who think they’re something special now they’ve got children! I was not even told to wash my hands when I went to visit, and no it wouldn’t have been obvious to me to do so.

    And I bet these same moos will let their kids go out once they’re older with coughs (they won’t make them cover their mouths when they do so either), colds, tummy bugs and chicken pox (I caught chicken pox aged 27 off a kid and was really ill!) and not worry that people around them will be open to catching their illnesses.

    I’ve seen a lot of lists like these and it always amazes me that anyone can be that presumptuous and downright rude! These people wake up, once they’ve left that wonderful bubble of having a small human dependant on them, and find they have no friends left. And it’ll be their own fault!

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