About a year ago, a dear friend of mine who had recently found out that he and his wife (also a dear friend) were expecting their very first child, posted a status saying he was deleting all of his social media accounts because (and this isn’t an exact quote. My memory ain’t that great anymore!) “I’m going to be a parent. What do I need to be on social networks for?”
Had I been standing, it would have blown me backwards. Not only did his comment shock me, but also the following responses to his post saying that “parents should NOT be on Facebook.”
This didn’t just bug me because I write this blog and I have my Facebook page that I use often, but also because it implied that parents shouldn’t be allowed to focus on anything but their children. God forbid they fart around on Facebook for the 10 minutes they get to sit down without being bugged to wipe someone’s ass or make someone a snack, to get some work done, or FINALLY finish all of the laundry and damnit, just took a break to relax and see what the rest of the world is up to.
Not long after that, I lost touch with my friend (luckily, I still keep in touch with his wonderful wife).
Sadly, it’s not the first time I’ve heard/read something like that.
I see it all the time. TOO often. Complaints about not just the sheer fact that, GASP, parents use social networks instead of being slaves to our kids, but complaints about the oversharing, the mass amount of pointless status updates about pointless things going on in our lives, or dumb things our children did. I even read a report recently saying that teenagers are leaving Facebook because too many parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers use it.
First of all: We were here first. Oh yeah, we were. Look it up.
Second of all: they’re called privacy settings. Use them.
Third of all: don’t judge.
And lastly: Buh-bye!
Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, whatever new social network comes and finally saves us all from Facebook and its erroneous updates- some of us parents rely on social networks. For our sanity. This is the only “social” time some of us get. If we’re stay at home parents, it’s hard to get out of the house without the kids to actually converse with people who are even relatively close to our ages. Hell, it’s hard to even take a pee without being harrassed and bugged and asked for something. If we’re a working parent, when we finally get home, we have to do all the things no one else did because no one was home to do them all day, and yet again- where is the social time? You want us to get the hell off of Facebook and be a good parent- when we’re ON Facebook because we’re home. Being good parents. We’re posting about our kids because we love them enough to annoy everyone in our lives with how many times they used the bathroom in one day, or how THANK YOU CHEEZUS, they aren’t sick anymore! Oh noes! Bad parents! BAD!
Just because a parent is on Facebook, it doesn’t mean their child is going un-cared for with little to no attention, and yes, I have heard that. I have been told that I should be spending MORE time with my kids and less time online… you know… the non-stop time I spend with them every single day isn’t enough- I also need to avoid being online when they’re sleeping, or reading, or doing an activity that doesn’t need me to be hovering, because once you have kids, you aren’t ALLOWED to have a life outside of them, right? Because there’s absolutely no such thing as multitasking, right?
There are plenty of practical reasons to have a social networking account as a parent. It’s easy to keep up with family, send pictures instead of having to print them and send them via postal system (oh, and free. did I mention free? Last I checked, the price of stamps is going UP, not down) find people you’ve lost touch with over the years, and to make FRIENDS. Making parent friends ain’t as easy as you might think. Phone calls? Are you serious? Have kids and then try making a decent phone call. That doesn’t happen.
My question is this: Why do we NEED a practical reason for it? Do non-parents have one? Does every decision in our lives HAVE to be practical? What kind of life is that?
Do you eat an extra Reese’s cup because it’s the practical thing to do? No. Eating NONE would be the practical thing to do. No one NEEDS a Reese’s cup. They’re so delicious you might think you need one, but you don’t.
Life is too short to be practical all the time. Eat both of the damn Reese’s cups. If the kids are well taken care of- scroll through your damn Facebook feed.
Just because you become a parent doesn’t mean that suddenly ALL you are is a parent. I don’t know why people think that, I don’t know where the thought came from, or why ANYONE would have kids if they thought so- but it’s bullshit.
Get used to it, because we parents are here to stay. While we raise the future of the world. Don’t worry, and keep your comments to yourself, because we’re great at multitasking.
If you are a parent who DOESN’T want to use social media- more power to you. I’ll be over here laughing at a post I made about the frequency of childhood bowel movements.
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