Archive | March, 2012

What Type of Facebook Parent Are You?

6 Mar

I was reminded by a co-worker about the ups and competitive downs of parenting during a time where postings about the every detail of your child, or your friend’s child’s development is logged in on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – not to mention the horrific “Mommy Blog” (like this one).

It comes down to there are two types of parents in social media. There are the ones who post funny stuff their children say, along with rants about work, partners, obsessive grandparents, and other random things. This parent might have a YouTube account consisting of a video of their child singing, along with a collection of Foo Fighter videos, and images of car crashes.

Then there are the crazed, blow-by-blow Facebook parent who constantly wants to tell you about each little thing their kid did and how much they love them; and not to forget how their child is the most amazing and advanced child in a 10-mile radius. There is no limit on words for these postings, nor how many times a day events such as smiling, laughing, talking, or even breathing are commented on. Their child might even have their own YouTube station, featuring videos of just them doing nothing very impressive, and if they are a newborn baby they will have a Facebook account of their very own.

Sample Post: “Happy 5th month, and 14th day birthday to the love of my life, Lisa. It is amazing how far you have come. I remember only yesterday I was feeling you move around inside me, and I remember how over the moon I was at the thought of holding you in my arms. Today you can proudly coo, follow movements with your eyes, grasp my finger, and you are almost able to roll over. Mommy and daddy know that you are inching closely to accomplishing that goal.” 6:03 a.m.

“Wow, Lisa is having a hard day today. She woke up on the wrong side of the bed, LOL. It must of been the food I had last night… Breast milk is the best. There is nothing like the bond formed between a nursing child and their mother. We are down to a perfect feeding schedule that doesn’t disrupt the sleeping house, she is also the best sleeper ever. She has been sleeping through the night for 2 months now, this must be advanced.” 6:48 a.m.

“This day is amazing, Lisa is such a joy to have. She is my best friend. We went for a walk with the dogs, she loves looking at the flowers blooming, and the trees. I make sure to talk to her about what she is looking at, and tell her how much I love her every day. I am so proud that I am able to be with her every moment in her early years. While I know this won’t last I just can’t help to embrace this love for my baby.” 7:12 a.m.

Sorry to tell you but this is not what Mark Zuckerberg had in mind, and that is even taking account the new Timeline feature.

Sure, I get it; becoming a parent is a miracle that you must share with the world. I love my kids – but I will also gladly tell you how they can at moments suck the life-force from me and make me forget that I was ever an adult who took part in social activities with other living and breathing adults. I do not feel the need to post every little thing they do or I do with them on my Facebook page. I will post things that I know my friends will enjoy and things that are a big deal for me (broken arm, random quotes, and photos).

For me it is not just the pure annoyance of the posts but the constant chatter of proud helicopter parents creates a separation between the “good loving parents” and the “just-so” parents. There is enough pressure to be the BEST PARENT IN THE WORLD when these days moms at the park are asking each other what percentile their children fall into. These blow-by-blow postings make us working parents feel like crap, they set the parenting bar really high – making us parents who don’t praise every little thing our child does, feel like we might be messing up their chances at being a normal adult, and doesn’t Twitter have a word count limit?

So I am suggesting an Switzerland of parenting social media posts. While no parent wants to ignore their child’s accomplishments or amusements, we must remember that Facebook is a place for adult friends to connect, share, and even reconnect. YouTube is not a place for you to plaster your kids every move – do you really want home movies to be public. And yes, Twitter does have a word limit. So go ahead and post things about parenting – ups and downs – and some stories are best told face to face.