Mommyshame

STFU Parents: Mommyjacking (And Daddyjacking!) Your Wedding, Marriage, And Divorce On Facebook

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This past August, I married my dude of a million (okay, 13) years in front of friends and family and had a big party. Along with the running jokes about tying the knot after over a decade of dating, it turned out I also had to negotiate a repeated dig that stemmed from being behind “STFU, Parents.” The dig went something like this: “You guys are finally getting married? Congrats! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO START HAVING BABIES, HUH? Hahahahaha.” It’s a joke I heard countless times in the months leading up to the wedding, and at least a few people lobbed it at me at the wedding itself. Because my friends and family tend to have a good sense of humor, I knew this was a subject they brought up mostly in jest. No one actually cared when or if my now-husband and I plan to have kids, or exactly how many, or whether I plan to give birth in a forest, in a bathtub, or with a dolphin by my side. (For the record, I plan to have a Minnie-assisted birth in a public bathroom at Disney World OR a Lasagna Birth, which is when you just eat lasagna throughout your entire labor while reclined in a La-Z-Boy.) I never took offense to my friends’ baby jokes, but I did think about all of the people (women, especially) who are obnoxiously asked this question in total sincerity from the moment they get engaged until…well, forever in some cases.

hop on the train

Weddings, marriage, and divorce are three subjects I covered in an old column about “milestone-jacking,” but perhaps it’s time to revisit the idea that milestones — particularly the ones that could lead to or involve children — can occasionally elicit the worst sides within us. Even I seem to be culturally conditioned to think “Why aren’t they married yet?” or “They’ve been married for what, six years? Are they not having kids, or…?” Most of that is just me being nosy and comparing my own life track to others’, but I also think there’s something about milestones that are specific to matters of the heart (marriage, divorce) that stir up the selfishness in us all. In the case of today’s submissions, parents are reminded of other people’s relationships and can’t help but remark on their own “journeys” (if you consider a “journey” to mean “your thing reminds me of how I have kids”). It’s almost reflexive behavior, like telling little Spurgeon to use Purell at the playground.

When a friend posts about her own love life, these parents immediately lodge themselves in the center of the conversation. Sometimes the comments can be interpreted as relevant; at all times they should be considered mommyjacking (and daddyjacking) on someone else’s big important news. Parents, if you’re exhibiting the nasty habit of hijacking someone else’s milestone, put a halt to it now. (But keep jokingly asking your engaged friends when they plan to have babies. It can be funny if you’re buying them a drink in the process.) Here are some reactions to relationship news that should be taken under advisement.

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