Now that school is officially back in session, let's take a minute to explore one of the least appealing traits that a parent can have: pretentiousness. Whether you're bragging about your amazing home birth, your "genius," toddler, or your blossoming teenagers, no one checks their social media feeds in the hopes of reading another highfalutin update about what a "gift" children are (not to mention how "gifted" they are, according to their parents). Granted, some kids -- nay, all kids! -- are exceptional in one way or another, but there's a particular tone some parents use that goes well beyond pride. It's really more like narcissism. You can always spot these people in real life because they're constantly explaining themselves and their choices, as if anyone gives a shit.
Pretentious parents know their kids are a little more special than other kids, but also that being special isn't just about luck. Their kids may be exceptional, but it's primarily because their parenting skills are exceptional. If you're a pretentious parent then you know what I'm talking about here. That snobbishness comes in handy when choosing foods, schools, social activities...heck, even just when considering how to teach kids about philosophical theories of life. It's also about having tightly reined control over children's habits, friends, scholastic experiences, and so on. No one is born exceptional, okay? Kids are raised by exceptional parents to be that way. That's why it's so important not to piss those parents off. Consider what happened to the woman whose kid told a group of kids that Santa doesn't exist:
This woman was attacked by a group of holier than thou bullies who genuinely believed they could control when their kids learned that Santa isn't real. And because one of them has a brother who speaks legalese and has letterhead paper with his douchey law firm's name at the top, the offended parents' obvious response was to threaten in form of a lawsuit. Only a pack of deluded parents who believe their kids aren't equally capable of such "emotional damage" would issue a letter so ridiculous. They may as well be in a Superior Parents Club -- no "average" parents whose kids spread (true) rumors about fictional holiday characters allowed! And the worst part is, we all know people like this. We've all met parents who think their kids shouldn't play in the dirt, or offer up details about their kids' favorite sushi rolls for no apparent reason. We've all met parents whose kids can "do no wrong," and it's usually because the parents themselves believe they know what's best at all times. The day they became parents was the day their hearts starting walking around outside their bodies...right along with their brains and awareness of others. Just because you know you're a good parent doesn't mean you're the BEST parent raising the next world leader. Thankfully, there are still some people out there who know that.
The surprise twist in this status update is what made it one of the most popular posts on the STFUP Facebook page ever, resulting in over 5,000 Likes and 4,000 shares. It's become increasingly rare to read honest thoughts like this, especially since social media has ruined everyone and caused most of us to only showcase our best and brightest moments. Considering how fragile most parents' psyches are when it comes to defending their parenting choices, it's no surprise that the pretentious updates only come across as that much smarmier. We get it, Pretentious Parents. You rule the school. Your kids are magical beings, and you are the spark behind the fuse. Your sage wisdom and fundamental understanding of how to raise kids is impressive, but you can stop telling everyone how much better cloth diapers are for the environment, and quit justifying why your kid should be able to express himself with markers on a restaurant wall. You can also stop waxing poetic about the joys and responsibilities of being a parent, as though other parents (and their kids) aren't on your family's level. No one really thinks you're better at keeping children alive than anyone else, because you can't be. Like the mother in the status update said, you're not in a competition, so you needn't behave like you're in one. Maybe someone can explain that to the parents featured in today's column. Let's check 'em out.
1. Pretentious Food Updates
Nothing like getting a lecture from a 5-year-old, amirite?? Who's hasn't been lectured by a precocious kindergartener before? Anyone? And what was your takeaway from that experience? Mine was, "Good god, you're an annoying child. Can you point me in the direction of your parents so I can stealthily avoid them at all costs? Thankssss." That's not to say the "old lady" didn't appreciate being lectured by a near-toddler about organic food -- I'm sure she did! I bet when she was that age, she was too busy thinking about a war of some kind, or maybe the Civil Rights or Women's Movements, to bother with educating herself about organic produce. But you never stop learning! Plus, kids today are VERY into vegetables, so it must've been a timely lesson.
Gee, Kersti, I never would've believed you if you hadn't taken this blurry picture of a small plate of steamed stems. And while I agree with you that most kids don't like eating steamed vegetable stems, I have to tell you, most adults don't like eating them, either. Maybe this is just another version of "kids like to eat weird shit," rather than a "ch-ch-check it out, y'all, my kid thinks vegetables are yummy!" oddity. I will give props to Kersti's kid, though; when I was a "six-and-a-half-year-old," my favorite weird snack was raw hotdogs. And just look at how I turned out.
2. Pretentious Baby Announcements
This is, hands down, THE most pretentious baby announcement that I've ever read. As a matter of fact, I'd like to enter it into competition for the most pretentious announcement to exist of any kind in all of history. I'm also trying to figure out if I would rather be a "radical aunt" or a "fairy godmother," because both sound pretty righteous and badass. How come my parents never surrounded me, a natural-born artist and good citizen of the world, with any wizard uncles? All I got was my Uncle Chet, who works in real estate and is just like a normal, nice guy. He didn't pass along any wizardly powers. He doesn't even have a long white beard. This baby's parents and extended family are going to be the shit, and the little future Picasso doesn't even know it yet.
3. Pretentious Soccer Moms
First of all, I think smarty pants 'comedienne' and professional soccer, lacrosse, and swim mom Colleen means "wax" and not "wane" here, since wane means "diminish." No bother, though. We all get her pretentious point: She's busy af shuttling around her little academic athletes, and she can only be accessed during the summer months via email or Facebook message. Don't even think about sending smoke signals or flying over her house with a giant banner that says "Lunch next Wednesday?" like you usually do. She won't be responding to those, or to any phone calls or texts. She has a full-time job that requires exhaustive carpools, sandwich-making, and multiple Starbucks runs per day. And I'm talking every SINGLE day. Can you even imagine? Being this stuck-up and hilarious can be taxing on a busy mom!
4. Pretentious "Thinkers"
If Jerry Maguire had Dorothy at 'hello,' I would say Aubrey's "Bookface" update had me at "Bookface." Her post took a sharp nosedive before it had a chance to get off the ground, and then it just kept going from there. From her remark about reflection to the phrases "amongst the buttercups" and "sunshine & stillness," Aubrey makes one thing perfectly clear: She needs a diary, badly. Can someone mail one to her? PS: Aubrey if you're going to get all "deep" in your Facebook post, please proofread your apostrophe usage before hitting Publish. Thank's*.
*Regular readers will recognize my tenacious insistence for correcting poor apostrophe usage in this space. Rest assured that no matter how annoying this nitpicking gets, I will never give up in my pointless quest.
5. Pretentious Parents Of "Indigo Children"
Okay, first thing's first. If you haven't read about "indigo children," you can do so right here, where you'll learn first that Wikipedia's entry on indigo children "is not a fair representation of the Indigo Children subject, and has volunteers who are biased and will not even allow for gentle editing from the author, to create factual informational updates." Mmm hmm. Says the crazy person who then goes on to define indigo children as "children who are believed to represent a higher state of human evolution." I think I'll take a note from that person's book and add that I would like to edit the line to say ""children who are believed to represent a higher state of human evolution, according to their delusional parents." In any case, you get the gist: Some kids think they're hyper-intelligent, or hyper-aware of the world around them, to the point that they believe they can change the world and lead us all to utopia, and some of those kids have parents who choose to encourage this line of thinking.
Oftentimes, it leads to "un-schooling" kids by giving them a structure-less academic setting that involves a lot of woodland adventures and midday trips to the grocery store, and all the while parents are convinced that their kid is going to be the next Steve Jobs. Pro-tip, parents: If your child is only good at intensely focusing on space, science, and gaming, and has no interest in subjects outside of those subjects, that's when you KNOW he should be in a school setting getting a well-rounded education, and not the other way around. As the submitter said of this screenshot, "Sounds like an average 4th grade boy who wants to play video games all the time is getting his DREAM COME TRUE." Congrats, kid! It sounds like you're about to score a quality year of "un-learning" while working alongside an educational coach whose life will be changed forever just by knowing you! What a lucky bunch of people.
6. Pretentious Meditations
Last but never least, we've got Launa and her deeply conscious poetry. Someone get this heady mama to a spoken word jam! I want to hear all about the uncertain futures of her daughters, who are navigating the harsh, brownstone-lined streets of life one backpack-filled load at a time. I want to light up a cigarette, put on some jazz, and mellow out to the smooth ramblings of Launa, who is both a mother to her kin, but also kind of a mother to her friends on Facebook, too, if that makes sense? She sees two steps ahead, always on the lookout for what's to come, but also allowing it to unfold organically, as it's all supposed to. Life, man. What a freakin' trip. Without people like Launa chiming in with their intelligent musings, we'd all just let it pass us by. Let us be grateful for these social media teachings.