STFU Parents: Why I Hate Chain Messages On Facebook About Parenting
Of all the submissions I receive for STFU, Parents, I hate chain status updates the most. If you have a Facebook account, you probably already know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, allow me to explain. Chain status updates are a lot like chain letters in that they are usually long-winded, somewhat (at the very least) nonsensical, and generally unimpressive. They often feel disingenuous and “forced,” but I think the ones I hate the most are the updates that have a “real message.” The nonsensical updates I can appreciate on a base level for humor’s sake, but it’s the inflated, preachy updates that really get my goat. Whether the messages are about “a mother’s worth” or “what it means to be a parent” or simply how to best love your child, I have a hard time taking the updates seriously. Especially when it only takes about two seconds to hit “copy” and then “paste” the message onto one’s own wall.
Part of the reason I don’t like these messages is that they diminish from the value of an authentic thought. For a parent to take the time to yammer on about how awesome their child is, or how “cool” they themselves are for waiting in line for three days so their lil’ munchkin could see Justin Bieber in concert, might read as annoying, but at least it’s sincere. If you’re going to make a case for why parenting is such tough work, cite a personal experience. Don’t post a chain status update just to be like “all the other moms” who have done the same, because it comes across as cheap and unoriginal.
No parent should feel the need to defend their decision to be a mom or a dad on Facebook, and no chain status is going to “convince” me of anything anyway. I can’t even figure out who the updates are posted for — the parent, who is then part of a “chain” network of other “proud parents,” or the parent’s friends, who are left scratching their heads in confusion (or shaking their heads in frustration after seeing the same boring update six times in a row). Regardless, I tend to shy away from posting these types of submissions on STFU, Parents because posted individually, they’re boring. Posted as a group, however, and it’s easy to see why I think chain updates are useless drivel. For today’s column, I’ve rounded up seven eye-roll inducing examples:
1. Circular Arguments
We’re all busy. Every one of us. I can remember many a day that I’ve reached for my coffee mid-morning to discover it had gotten cold as I was working, but I don’t think much of it. We all work hard to make life manageable, and sure, sometimes it’s tough being a mom and checking off that ever-growing to-do list, but the last time I checked, paying bills (many of which have automated options now) and cooking up a pound of hamburger weren’t exactly strains on life. In fact, if you can afford to have a phone and prepare dinner for your family, I’d say you’re pretty fortunate.
2. “Unselfish Moms”
You know what I hate? Mothers being selfish. Just imagine, a woman taking time for herself instead of sacrificing everything for her child. What kind of mother enjoys a long shower, carries a designer (diaper) bag and gets salon haircuts?? If you really LOVE being a mom, you know that in order to have children, you must give up these things and so much more. Forget about reading books, taking trips with your friends and getting your nails done. Forget about brushing your teeth, wearing underwear that doesn’t have holes in it, and eating a nutritious meal. When you’re a MOM, you will LOVE to give up these things in exchange for your child. Because that’s what real mothers do!
3. Pedophile Alert
This submission proves that some people just post whatever chain message crosses their plate with no regard to logic or accuracy. Pro-tip: If you can’t answer simple questions like, “What is this? Is it real?” regarding something you posted on your own wall, it probably wasn’t worth posting.
Call me crazy, but I don’t particularly want my mother to love me in the way that C. describes. “Stalking”? “Hunt you down like a bloodhound…because I LOVE YOU!”? I’ll pass. How about just being a supportive, loving and actively engaged parent? Is that enough? It’s plenty for me.
5. REAL PARENTS
The sentiment behind this immaturely illustrated chain update is all well and good, but I’m pretty sure it’s also a case of TMI. As in, if you’re posting it, you’re probably subtly (or not-so-subtly) saying that you and your ex have a difference of opinion on how to raise your children. And I’d really rather not know those details. I’m also not sure how “REAL PARENTS,” “proud parents,” star emoticons and HTML rainbows relate to each other, but something tells me it’s not worth pondering.
6. Pro-Life Agendas
I’d rather read every other example in this list than this sanctimonious and horrific garbage. Let’s be clear: Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, an abortion is not the same thing as “killing a child that’s already been born.” [Fun fact: It should be “a child who’s already been born.”] To make that claim is outrageous, but to make it with a chain update is just plain irresponsible. Parents, if you’re going to express your feelings on abortion, try speaking from the heart instead of spreading shameful messages filled with awkward metaphors and lies.
7. Women > Men
It’s quite ballsy that Erich spoke up like he did, and for that I give him a Gold Star. But aside from the fact that this chain message isn’t describing a single day’s worth of work, I also have a problem with the sexist overtones. Why pit men and women against each other in such a shallow way? Many households include two working parents (some of whom are gay, god forbid!), and many of those parents perform all of these tasks at some point or another. Growing up, my dad handled the majority of the chores listed in this nauseatingly long chain monologue, but my mom worked longer hours. Who cares? Just get everything done as a team and stop dwelling on who works “harder.” The less time parents spend posting stupid stuff like this on Facebook, the more opportunity they have to be the parents their chain messages purport them to be.