Mommyshame

STFU Parents: 9/11 Updates Parents Should Avoid Posting On Facebook

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Of all the days for people to post something maudlin or contemplative on social media, September 11th ranks right near the top. This is a day that the majority people on social media were alive to bear witness to the acts that took place in 2001, and certainly anyone who qualifies as a parent today was aware of the events as they unfolded in real time. We all share this common link — a national tragedy occurred, and we were forever changed as a country. You won’t need to go further than Facebook to know that much, because every single year there’s an outpouring of status updates in reflection of the symbolic day and what it represents.

For some people, it represents a day of horror (and let’s not forget the ongoing horror for the 70,000+ people who have been sick or died as a result of breathing the toxic dust in the aftermath). For a lot of other people, the day has come to represent something positive, because life went on and marriages and babies and job promotions all came into the picture, shifting the tone of the day. Is it wrong to get married on September 11th, or give birth, or even just celebrate something in good cheer? Of course not! As I’ve mentioned in previous 9/11 posts, my own mom’s birthday is today, and she would like nothing more than to focus on the positive aspects of the day, despite the tragedy that will always overshadow it.

The problem is, people feel an obligation to include a 9/11 tribute in their updates, regardless of what else they’re posting about. For instance, if a child was born on September 11th literally any year since 2001, that child is a “light of hope.”

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Hey Cheryl, way to make it about you! Guess what? That rainbow image that was going around yesterday has absolutely nothing to do with you or your progeny, so maybe now just isn’t the time to mention him? It’d be one thing if the child was actually born on 9/11/01 in the midst of all the sadness and chaos, particularly if he was born in New York City. But as it is, he just so happened to get delivered on September 11th, and there’s nothing particularly remarkable about that.

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That sentiment echoes in my own head each year as I go through dozens of 9/11 submissions that range from ‘mildly obnoxious’ to ‘this asshole cannot be serious right now.’ I can’t even post them all, I get so many. And as this example from last year proves, it’s not only the parents who take their “tributes” a little over-the-top:

3Okay, Auntie Martyr, we get it. You became an aunt on 9/11/03. Big fucking deal. You’re allowed to say ‘happy birthday’ to your nephew without mentioning the totally insane dichotomy between what happened on 9/11/01 and what happened two years later. Really. It’s cool.

This narcissistic approach to 9/11 might be best mocked on the satirical site Clickhole, which published a post last year called ’13 Years After 9/11, And I’m In The Best Shape Of My Life.’ The writer is really no different from the parents in my STFU, Parents submissions, sincerely explaining, “The past 13 years have not been easy for our country. We’ve been through war and economic crises, and dealt with the constantly looming specter of terror. But now, on the 13th anniversary of September 11, I’m slimmer, in better shape, and have more energy than ever.” High-fives all around! It’s this tone deaf attitude combined with an illogical tie-in with the symbolic nature of the day that maintains my passion for writing about this idiocy year in and year out.

I’m not trying to tell people how to mourn, pay tribute, or express their feelings about September 11th so much as clue in certain parents that this day is not about you, your ‘higher role’ as a parent, or your kid. Sorry. Feel free to continue posting convoluted updates that merge a variety of events together if you wish, but just know that it’s possible NOT to do that, too, and your friends might even appreciate the separation of ideas. September 11th may be 14 years in the past, but there’s a tactful way to reflect without focusing on yourself and all the rad shit you’ve been up to ever since. To that end, let’s take a look at some examples of status updates that could’ve gone in the right direction, or been posted on another day, but weren’t. Parents, here’s what NOT to post on Facebook on 9/11.

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