Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: It gets old defending children on the internet. I know what you’re thinking, “But you don’t defend children on the internet! You talk trash about them!” Not exactly. You see, STFU, Parents is about mocking and scrutinizing parents, not their children, and I often hear myself saying things like, “I have lots of parents friends, and I myself want to have kids someday. I LOVE BABIES, OKAY!” when fielding criticisms of the blog. It’s not that I feel the need to ascribe to a certain way of life; it’s just that I get frustrated when people ask me questions like, “Why do you hate babies so much?” or declare, “I’m not going to stop posting cute pictures of my kid a few times a week just because you think it’s annoying!” I never said that I hate babies (I don’t), and the purpose of “STFU, Parents” is not to say, “Your friends don’t want to see pictures of your child, so don’t post them.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to reassure people that posting occasional (meaning fewer than 10 a day) photos of their kids online is fine, and that most people, including me, enjoy seeing them.
But you know what? It’s hard to toe that line and repeatedly exclaim my love of children, because the truth is, until I have children of my own, they ARE kind of annoying. It’s not that I get irritated by any kids in particular; I don’t privately despise my niece or nephews, or hate all children who are within a certain age range. And I do enjoy seeing my friends’ cute photos on Facebook. It’s just the way kids are that gets under my skin, and I’m never really in a position to complain about them myself, lest I be (even more) known as a child-hating wench who runs an anti-kid website. Typically, I’m able to ignore a baby’s screams on long flights, or make my way past parents pushing massive double-wide strollers along my narrow Brooklyn street without incident. I pay no mind to the dozens of shrieking, ear-piercing middle schoolers who walk past my office window every day when school lets out. I even try to conceal my intense anger at the little girl who lives next door and insists on loudly playing in our shared backyard at 6:30a.m. when I’m normally sleeping. (As a childless freelancer, I tend to work late and sleep past 7a.m. I know, I know — how spoiled and selfish am I?!)
But it’s not easy being this breezy. In fact, sometimes I have to admit it out loud: Kids are charming, adorable, life-enriching brats. Over the years, one of the few things that’s helped me feel better in this realm is realizing that many parents share my sentiment. I light up inside when I get a new Mom’s Gold Star submission that suggests that some parents can’t stand kids, either — whether it’s their own kids, their friends’ kids, or every tiny tot they see around town. Sure, there are a lot of childfree STFU, Parents readers who identify with that feeling, as well, but somehow it’s only when the parents express it that I really feel better about my own grievances. I like knowing that I can discreetly roll my eyes at other people’s children and anticipate they might feel the same way.
With that in mind, I put together some of my favorite examples of parents letting down the happy facade. These aren’t just parents who joke around using old clichés like “Kids for sale! Get ‘em at a bargain!” or “Having a toddler is like living in a frat house!” No, these are parents who have allowed themselves to be brutally honest about parenting with no guilt, shame, or remorse. They have very little patience for children, sometimes on a regular basis, and that is because kids are annoying. FACT.
Let’s check out some examples.