It occurred to me the other day that I haven't posted a single mommyjacking column this entire year, which is downright shameful. While we've previously seen our fair share of parental hijacking in columns about know-it-alls, milestones, one-uppers, non-sequiturs, birthdays, holidays, people who are childfree, and, of course, the difficulties of work when you're a mom, there are always new mommyjacking themes emerging in my files. One theme I've noticed recently is the habit some parents have to not only bring a conversation around to their child, but to provide a "healthy" amount of information when doing so. It's a bit like mommyjacking on steroids.
Understandably, if you're the parent of a small child, that child is the center of your universe. You probably have a very clear idea of precisely what's happening with your child's developments, accomplishments, and ailments at any given moment. But just because *you* know your kid inside and out doesn't mean that all of your friends should, too. Finding some sort of "in" that allows you to relay a baby book entry's worth of unnecessary information can appear disingenuous and self-serving. If a Facebook friend posts about getting her tires changed, for instance, that's not an opening for parents to "relate" to the update with a story about how much their kid loves cars. Or if someone writes that he's been out of work all week with the flu, that's not an invitation to hear all the details of Mykynzee's last stomach bug. It's not that people don't care about your child; they do! But it's all right for parents to keep 99% of the details to themselves, because when I say "care," what I mean is, "Friends will tolerate their friends and their friends' children for many reasons," and not so much, "Most people sit around wondering how their friend's baby's diaper rash is healing."
And yet, some parents don't realize this social code of conduct exists, simply because they're busy revolving their lives around their kids. Parents have blinders on, and while that's not always a bad thing, it's the reason they often think their friends want to know more than they really do. Their inner editor has been quieted by the love they feel for their child, which is wonderful for them but can be annoying for others. Still, what kind of friend would reply to a mommyjacker with something like, "Thanks, I'm good on all things Brayden today."? Or, "Hey, [friend], when is the last time you *didn't* relate everything to your child?" Mommyjacking is a bad habit, but calling out a mommyjacker who is a real friend can be straight up rude. Thankfully, this is where STFU, Parents comes in, to help let parents know gently-but-firmly where their friends usually stand on such matters. How parents choose to comment on their friends' social media updates is up to them -- but taking a few pointers into account never hurt anyone, right? Today, let's check out some examples by parents who have offered their friends a little (or a lot) more information than anyone needed to know.
I can't tell if Jennifer is saying that Chrissi and Katie have "something in common" to seem on topic, or because she think it's funny and cute. Either way, there's a big difference between a tooth that's (painfully) coming in versus a tooth that's painfully (and expensively) being taken out. Aside from the most obvious difference -- that Katie is a baby, and Chrissi is an adult -- Jennifer's update isn't sympathetic. It's almost uncaring. She seems to expect Chrissi to care about Katie's first tooth, but she doesn't express any sympathy for Chrissi's tooth in the interim. Maybe she should've kept her mouth closed (pun intended) and not commented at all.
2. Cool Story, Bro
It's like Cassie replies to status updates in her newsfeed by applying word association. "Hmmm...the word 'shower'. My baby likes to shower! And boy, is she cute! She's a cutie patootie fresh 'n fruity sweet lil baby in that shower! Even if mama has not had her own shower in a long time, my baby's excitement more than makes up for it. Wait -- did I just type all of that in the commenter box?" *presses enter and continues scrolling through her newsfeed, using word association in her comments and confusing everyone she's ever met*
3. Prepare For The Worst
Parenting Pro-Tip: If your friend gets sick and doesn't have kids, s/he will experience sickness very differently than you. For parents, being sick is almost the status quo. Especially for parents of multiple kids whose immune systems are susceptible to any and every germ within a million-foot radius. I can't count the number of friends I know whose kids have (unintentionally) kept them sniffling and sneezing for months on end. That said, something like poison ivy is not guaranteed to spread if you're over a certain age and know not to scratch your entire body or rub it against more poison ivy. Lynda might not have had much of a choice, given that both of her kids seem to have touched their poison ivy spots before rubbing their hands all over their faces, but Denise will probably fare just fine.
Thanks for the frightening warning, though, Lynda! Even if it does kind of sound like you're comparing what an adult does around a hornet's nest (gets stung once, moves away) to what a kid does (picks up a stick, winds up getting stung 11 times, goes back the next day to show a friend and kick it around).
4. Crap For Crap
I wonder if Mindy knows that NOTHING she said has to do with Amanda, her bad day, her wet clothes, or her dryer. It's completely possible that she doesn't know at all, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because she threw in an "Xoxo." Except, guess what, Mindy? Xoxo only works if it's sincere. If it's sandwiched between an anecdote about ear puss and pink eye, no one believes that you meant it. In fact, it just looks cheap. Don't "Xoxo" someone unless you're prepared to defend its use.
5. Shut Up, Myra
Myra's utter lack of interest in Heather's midday nap desire doesn't trump her own desire to tell a fun story about Xander. Nap, schnap! Did Heather know that Xander's latest pastime is splashing his water table? Did she know it exhausts him to the point of needing a nap? He's a baby, so napping is totally Xander's "thing." Once he was done splashing, he was ready to take a snooze!!! He'll wake up later, but for now, as of 1pm, he's down for the count. Unnecessary baby detailer #47485, at Heather's service! I bet Heather's glad she wrote that status update about wanting a nap.