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STFU Parents: Giving Thanks For All The Cool Parents

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One of the best parts of running STFU, Parents is that at least once a week, I get an awesome emailcomment, or tweet that says something like “your columns make me laugh,” or “my wife and I read your blog together,” or “the community on your Facebook page helped me through a hard time.” It’s nice to hear from total strangers, knowing we’re connected by The Power Of The Internet and share a certain sensibility, but the real bonus is the effect it has on me. Just ONE person reaching out and saying something nice makes me think about all the people who I could (and often do) reach out to who make *me* laugh, think, or cry with their work, no matter how serious or absurd that work may be. Telling people that you appreciate them is a major gift, and I try to remember to pass on the kindness whenever I get totally unnecessary, out-of-the-blue messages like these:

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See what I mean? HOW SWEET ARE PEOPLE? Sure, they’re not ALL sweet…but you can’t please everyone, you know?

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Now more than ever (at least, since I started writing STFUP), it’s important for us all to let our gratitude be known. It doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of a text, a smile, an email, a hug, or even a goddamn safety pin; just tell people that you appreciate them and support them, and allow the well-meaning intentions behind America’s Thanksgiving to take hold despite the fact that Native Americans are currently in the midst of fighting for their sacred land. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been pretty glued to social media and my favorite local news channel, NY1, for the past few weeks, feeling a crazy mix of emotions on a daily, if not hourly, basis. A lot of things feel unsettled. Heated arguments have not waned between friends-of-friends on Facebook. Swastikas have been drawn in children’s parks, hijabs were yanked off women’s heads, and a peaceful protestor just got her arm blown off by a grenade at the Dakota Access pipeline, not so ironically a few days before Thanksgiving. It’s been hard for me to see past the barriers that seem to exist and to begin each day with a positive outlook.

That’s why I’m so glad I have an annual tradition on Mommyish of writing a column that’s pure appreciation. If I’ve ever needed a time to consider how much I appreciate everyone who reads STFU, Parents and this column, it’s now. And if there was ever a year I’ve appreciated the funny parents in my own Facebook feed, it’s this one. Amid the onslaught of election posts, campaign ads, viral political web stories, and continuous fake news garbage, some (if not most) of my parent friends have managed to continue cracking me up and making Facebook a less shitty place to be. So thanks, readers, and thanks, funny parents, because your humor is needed, and so are your kids. Our future depends on your open-minded guidance to prepare “the next generation of thought leaders,” and so far, I think you’re doing a great job. Here are some examples of parents in my own newsfeed (some of whom I’ve never even met in person before) who I would happily have at my Thanksgiving table this year, or any year.

1. Simple & Direct 

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This is funny on its own, but it’s especially funny if you consider how many anal-retentive parents have hunched over this question and scribbled, in teeny tiny script, each and every concern related their infant’s being ‘too quiet’ or ‘not making enough noise.’ Sure, babies’ behaviors should be observed and analyzed if something of worry comes up, but when a baby is just nine months old, what exactly can be expected other than some goos, laughs, screams, and babbles? I’m confident there are overbearing parents who study their child’s every squeak and burp, and I’m happy to say that Evie is not one of them.

2. Disney Shade Is The Best Shade

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Okay now, I know a lot of STFU, Parents readers are big Disney fans — but that’s not even what this status update is about. Wendi isn’t necessarily commenting on whether or not she has an affinity for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which has ‘Meals Fit for a Queen — or Beast!’; rather, she’s commenting on the mere premise of “going to Disney World with children.” As a mom of two, she knows what kind of bullshit and expenditure lay ahead for the parents who get roped into a trip to Disney. Truth teller, indeed.

3. A Word To The Wise

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I’ve known Libba since kindergarten, and now she has a Master’s in childhood education and teaches kids around that age. It’s funny how far we’ve come, and also how much we’ve stayed the same. The Libba I knew in elementary school, high school, and college would’ve found this end-of-the-school-year joke funny, so why wouldn’t the Libba I know now, who educates kids for a living and has two kids of her own, make this joke on Facebook for everyone to see? This joke might be seem obvious and relatable, but I’ve yet to see another parent make such a bold statement so publicly. It seems as though parents are supposed to feign interest in their kids’ artwork, classwork, and crafts to the point of plastering the never-ending sheets of paper and macaroni noodle designs on refrigerator doors or bedroom walls. Some even frame various artworks to create a gallery wall in the living room, or get their kid’s drawing tattooed permanently on their body. Not Libba. No, she’s all set on any further hoarding of her kids’ artwork. Some might even call it ‘giant stacks of shit.’ She certainly would, and I love her for it.

4. Reasons My Son Is Crying

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Raquel is one of the funniest parents on the planet and writes the blog ‘The Ugly Volvo.’ She also published a book this year that I highly recommend to new parents — but I have the great fortune of being friends with her on Facebook on top of being her fan. And holy fucking shit, she cracks me up. She just has a special way of pinpointing the absurd and reframing her observations as funny stories, rather than as straightforward recaps. I have a whole folder of submissions involving parents “transcribing” asinine conversations with their kids that are boring as hell unless you’re the kid’s grandmother, but Raquel would never do that. She only posts the most entertaining exchanges, and often at her kid’s expense. I’m endlessly amused.

5. Jeff’s Kid’s Mount Rushmore

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This drawing of Mount Rushmore wavers between ‘hilarious’ and ‘terrifying’ because it was drawn before Trump won the election, and I’d previously only considered it for what it was: a joke. Now, of course, our country is that much closer to this being a reality, and this drawing serves more as a blueprint than as a comedy prop. The downside to this is if this were to actually happen, Trump’s face would be carved into a national memorial on the face of a majestic mountain. The upside is that Jeff and his wife’s faces will be carved into the side of the mountain, too. I’m not going to wish him luck, per se, but I do appreciate those prospects, as his friend. Jeff, if you’re reading this, I hope you punished your kid for the next four years for imagining up this nightmare — but I would understand if you pardoned him, too. It is Thanksgiving, after all.

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