STFU Parents: Sanctidaddies And Dad-Bros Are On The Rise
Wayyy back in March, I wrote a column about daddyjacking to disprove the myth (that STFU, Parents inadvertently perpetuates) that only mothers overshare on social media. That column kicked off a series about “bridging the overshare gender gap” in an effort to emphasize that dads, too, are capable of posting pictures of dirty diapers and hijacking their friends’ status updates to talk about their baby’s birthday party. There may not be as many representations of dads doing wrong on STFU, Parents as there are moms, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, anyone who’s friends with a bunch of new parents on Facebook could probably name a few dads whose parenting updates drive them crazy, either because they can’t stop bragging about the little geniuses they created, or they’re aggressive in a “papa bear” way, or they’ve squarely turned into The Dad Police. Dads today are more sensitive and concerned about being “awesome” than ever before, and those qualities can inform a dad’s proclivity to overshare (or be nauseatingly sentimental) online.
Sure, there are some dads who document their family lives in a way that’s really fun to watch play out in real time. It’s especially gratifying to see former classmates turn into amazing fathers who have great attitudes about parenting. But, there are some other dads whose parenting updates are best described as cringe-worthy. Over the course of several months, these dads transition from “cool dudes” to “slightly obsessive dads,” until one day, BOOM, they’re full-blown sanctidaddies.
Much like the sanctimommy, the sanctidaddy complains about the most ridiculous stuff, takes everything a little (or a lot) more seriously than he should, and generally thinks he knows best — or at least, better — than anyone else when it comes to his kid’s (and possibly other kids’) health, safety, education, and so on. And yet, unlike the sanctimommy — a stereotype that gets written about, mocked, and scorned pretty commonly — sanctidaddies aren’t typically profiled or discussed. When articles mention “helicopter parents” or “snow plow parents,” the prototype that comes to mind is usually the “pushy mother.” When I post an anonymous Facebook screenshot of a parent saying, “You think you’re tired? Wait til you have kids!“, or “You don’t know real love until you have children,” the vast majority of STFU, Parents readers assume it was written by a woman. But there are a lot of sanctidaddies out there who post the same style of updates with the same annoying messages as sanctimommies. They’re just as uptight about nap time, and they’re just as condescending about parenthood, aka enlightenment. I’m not saying that behind every sanctimommy is a sanctidaddy, but it is becoming “cool,” somehow, for dads to be as obnoxious and persnickety about parenting as mothers have traditionally been. It’s quite amusing, and this genre of dad should be mocked much more than he is. So for the second installment of the “bridging the overshare gender gap” series, I’ll be doing just that.