STFU Parents: Hot Summer Tips For Parents On Facebook
Summertime, and the living’s easy…unless you’re a parent of small children, at which point summertime can slog on for what feels like an eternity. As a result, many parents consider Facebook to be their best friend when they’re at the local pool, the water park, the children’s museum, the zoo — whichever circle of summer hell they happen to be killing time in at that moment. As long as it has wi-fi, parents are still connected to what’s happening in the rest of the world. The only problem is, they don’t always have that much to contribute aside from banal parenting observations and running commentary on their kid’s softball game.
Sure, some parents make funny jokes and craft clever insights on social media, but there are also a lot of parents who use their social feeds to vent or provide a play-by-play of their kid’s every movement on the playground. And forget about family vacations — parents either post a small handful of pics to say “we’re at the beach!”, or they post three dozen photos of their kids eating watermelon, putting on sunscreen, splashing in the ocean, drinking out of a fruit pouch, playing in the sand, etc. It’s like being forced to look at your own family vacation photo album from when you were a child, except multiplied by the number of friends with small children in your Facebook feed. Also, no offense to all you camping parents out there — I’m thrilled that you’re teaching your kids to enjoy nature, canoes, campfires, and burying your shit in the woods — but I’ve seen SO MANY OF YOU in my newsfeed lately, and it seems to me that you’re all doing the exact same stuff. The other day I was scrolling through my feed and I had three friends in a row who’d posted pictures of recent camping trips, and while I still Liked them with all of my heart, I also wondered why they thought anyone really cared. One person’s caption said, “Sam’s 3rd time camping!!” with like 16 photos. They were all adorable, and it looked like they had s’mores, which I highly support, but they weren’t anything special. No one got bit by a poisonous spider or caught the biggest fish I’d ever seen. Was I wrong to hope for more? I’m not saying I would ever wish the leeches scene from Stand by Me on anyone, but events like that do add a certain element of drama to a camping story.
I digress. Really, the issue isn’t these innocuous photos of a summer well-lived. It’s not the kids and their Babiators that bother me. As usual, it’s the parents themselves who elicit my side-eye. Kids will be kids, as they say, especially during the hottest months of the year, and I feel no ill will toward their sprinkler antics. It’s just that parents today either post about every single thing their kid does — even the stuff you don’t want to know, like how long their swimming boogers were when they got out of the pool — OR they zap all the fun out of everything and whine more than their children. Anyone remember this from last year?
Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Water Slide, here’s an idea: Don’t have a fucking water slide in your backyard if you don’t expect to wrangle a bunch of out of control children who are hopped up on Popsicle sugar every single day of the summer, from June to August, 8am to 8pm, because THAT’S what having a water slide in your backyard will net you. Everyone knows that if you’re the parents who buy their kid the jumbo-sized trampoline, kids across town are going to come running over to your house to do backflips into the yard and potentially smash their teeth in. And only douchebags would force those children’s parents to sign a Douche Waiver before they can indulge in the “summer fun.” That’s pretty fucked up, if you think about it. It’s like these parents are on a water slide power trip that’s veiled by some BS call for safety and legality due to potential liabilities. If I have a big, old oak tree in my backyard that children like to climb, should I also send those kids home with a contract stating that if they break their arm falling out of my tree, it’s not my fault? Well, I suppose I *could* do that, if I was completely paranoid, lacking in common sense, and up my own ass. The fact is, kids WILL get injured, because they’re supposed to, and no contract is going to stop a parent from “suing” if they’re the types who sue. That doesn’t mean those parents will win a lawsuit. It just means this contract isn’t keep Mr. and Mrs. Water Slide from being sued. In fact, it’s only encouraging the other parents in the neighborhood — not to mention thousands of people on the internet via Reddit — to gossip about their extraordinarily uptight ways. It’s kind of surprising they’ve even been on a water slide before, much less own one.
But this is where we are with summer parenting in 2015. If you’re not bragging about your kid pooping in the pool, you’re asking your neighbors to sign documents that make them want to douse your water slide in gasoline and set it on fire in front of your weeping children. And Facebook is the number one place to get the skinny on all the happenings, since parents are tethered to their phones for the majority of daylight hours. (Aren’t we all?) Let’s check out some examples from this summer and summers past in which parents could’ve just casually sipped an Arnold Palmer spiked with vodka and refrained from posting on social media at all — but didn’t.