Last year, I celebrated Thanksgiving in this column by rounding up some Mom's Gold Star submissions, and this year I've done the same thing in the name of holiday tradition. There are very few traditions that I have on the blog that aren't revolting, and frankly, I'm thankful every time I receive a new Gold Star submission. The submissions not only represent examples of parents "doing it right," but also examples of friends wanting to give their parent friends props. It's always nice to read the enthusiasm someone has for a friend who doesn't overshare, but instead uses Facebook as a medium to be funny, honest, or just plain silly.
I think people naturally gravitate toward using social media to complain or get something off their chest, because complaining is what comes easiest, especially for parents who are overwhelmed and use Facebook to connect with other people feeling the same way. Being funny in the face of exhaustion takes actual effort, and complaining doesn't. That's what the Mom's Gold Star is about, and I'm happy to say that it's one of the most common types of submissions I receive. Sure, not every submission is worthy of the title, in my opinion, but many of the status updates are certainly heading in the right direction. If parents approached sites like Facebook with more of a lighthearted and thoughtful stance, rather than as a place to deposit every negative thought that fills their head, it would be more fun to read. Of course, the same can be said for everyone, but for today's purposes, let's take a look at several parents who fit the Gold Star bill. Sometimes, it's as simple as saying what's really on your mind:
1. Turning An Inopportune Photo Opp Into A Funny Facebook Story
Back in college, I took a film class that explained that part of the mastery behind Hitchcock movies was the way he didn't always expose everything. The shower scene in Psycho is the most popular example, but he made use of this device in most of his horror movies. That thinking runs completely counter-intuitive to today's approach, where everything is put on full display at all times. We are no longer a "less is more" society, and that fact is made especially clear on social media. That's why I love Hannah's update so much. Not only did she not take a picture and plaster it on the internet for everyone to see, but she allowed her friends to use their imaginations and envision (possibly in a more hilarious way) what her kid looked like stuck in the wine rack. She did the "right thing," but then she made a joke out of it. Well done.
2. Real Talk: Worried Mothers Edition
What Jennifer is saying is easier said than done, but it's also an amusing observation on an otherwise serious subject. Mothers do feel guilty for missing some of their kids' lives when they work so much, but at the end of the day, they probably shouldn't. After all, kids love their parents when their parents make an effort, and that has nothing to do with a specific amount of time spent together. Plus, the less time kids have with their parents, the more time they have to hone their fart noise skills.
3. Gettin' Silly With It
If you're going to brag about your kid, make it about something like this. That piece of bacon totally looks like a cell phone (if slightly dated).
4. Real Talk: Childcare Edition
This mom is keeping it really real in a way that makes me laugh. Why gloss over what you want to say when discussing the health and livelihood of your child? Her list of credentials doesn't sound that strange to me; it's just the way she phrases them that makes her unique to other parents. "Baby rapist" is a crude phrasing, but that's what makes her request have personality. It's better to find a good fit for you and your child than pretend to be someone you're not.
5. Going For The Obvious Joke
ZING! Sometimes all I want to read on Facebook is a good zinger. Sarah's joke may be corny, but it's also funny. She takes a typical complaint people rant about on Facebook (and in general) and gives it a humorous spin. If all parents did that, I'm not even sure STFU, Parents would exist! I applaud her attitude and her ability to make the "Children for sale" joke (or the "My children are driving me insane" updates) fresh and entertaining. She's pleading ignorance, and it totally works to her advantage.
Thanks to all the parents who are included in this round-up, and to all the cool parents out there who are "making a difference." My inbox thanks you, too!