‘Tis the season for social media updates about respiratory illness! Every year, starting around mid-November, status updates begin to skew from pictures of pumpkin patches to Instagrams of Kleenex boxes. This is particularly true of parental status updates, because kids are so prone to sickness, and mothers are so prone to using Facebook. The combination will result in a lot of detailed accounts of cold and flu season, complete with up-to-the-minute toddler health reports, rants about “selfish” adults who have colds going near children (aka leaving their homes), and pictures of children looking miserable in their pajamas. It’s one of those patterns of behavior that makes you pause and say, “Gee, I sure am glad my parents didn’t have social media back in the day,” because the only thing worse than being sick is someone documenting you being sick.

A couple of years ago, I dedicated a column to this subject and focused specifically on the grosser side of parents’ cold and flu updates. Today, I’ll be mostly posting about the other types of sickness status updates in an attempt to discourage parents from live-updating their kid’s virus, for everyone’s sake. Yeah, it sucks when kids get sick, especially if it’s causing a lot of discomfort or forcing parents to lose sleep or miss work, but c’mon, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not even uncommon. Don’t we all deserve to blow our noses and temporarily run a fever in peace?

1. Details

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Sometimes a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, can’t help but post about her kid getting sick. Let’s face it: When babies are miserable, everyone is miserable. But does that mean all of Heather’s friends needed to be made aware of her baby’s diarrhea? Venting about a baby being sick is a little different from providing a diaper and stool analysis on Facebook.

2. Mommyjacking


Oh, Jewelie. I do hope your daughter is feeling better, but might I recommend exercising some brevity when you mommyjack? Keep it short and sweet, especially if the comment is depressing. In fact, maybe you could find a friend to talk to offline? Facebook is only good for so much, kind of like when you go to the doctor and get diagnosed with a seasonal virus. There’s not a lot of relief to be found.

3. Dear Sick People

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Dear Lyss and Nat,
Please recognize that most people pass along their illnesses unknowingly, and it’s not their intention to get babies sick. Also, children transfer a ton of nasty germs to adults, so your argument is invalid. The last time I had a nice brunch at a restaurant, a five-year-old who was seated next to me sneezed directly onto my eggs. Her parents didn’t apologize. It was bullshit.
Snark from a blogger with breakfast regret. xo 

4. Mommy Talk

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Mommy talk is like baby talk for moms who write in the third person on Facebook. I can practically hear Kinzi’s voice go up several octaves as she squeaked out this status update. “Mommy has a sick wittle boy!” Barf. Her use of “we” seems to extend to include everyone but herself and her immediate family, all of whom already know to cover their mouths. Kinzi’s wittle boy may be sick, but it’s certainly not due to any fault of her own! 

5. Sick Kid Momarazzi

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Last but not least, we have Suri Cruise being stalked by paparazzi in a furniture showroom. Haha, just kidding! It’s Brandy stalking her own kid, who’s just trying to zone out on the couch while she’s sick. Too bad Brandy can’t help but snap a picture of the scene, whether her kid wants her to or not. I would cover up this little girl’s face but it appears she’s already done it for me.

Then again, as far as documomming goes, things could always be worse.


Nice one, Chrissy. Even your friends are kind of amazed that you would post this picture on Facebook. On the plus side, there’s no visible vomit, everything seems pretty clean, and Jessica looks like she’s gonna pull through. But on the downside, this is a picture of a kid who’s already feeling shitty because of viral and bacterial circumstances. Why torture her any further by posting proof of her misery online? Since when is it appropriate to toss a kid a scrunchie, situate her in front of the toilet and play photographer? How about putting down the phone and just giving her a back rub? There might not be evidence of the act on Facebook, but I’m guessing Jessica would appreciate the added love and discretion.