STFU Parents: Do Viral Pictures Of Babies Pooping On Their Parents Encourage Other Parents To Overshare?

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Everyone poops, and for babies in particular, pooping is a huge part of an average day. It’s not necessarily appropriate for a middle-aged man to regale people with stories or pictures of himself pooping, but since babies have no control over their bowels, those tales and images are viewed as much more acceptable — funny, even. Because of this, the occasional picture of a newborn defecating on his or her mom or dad — usually in a professional photo shoot, which heightens the quality of the image — goes viral. When this happens, my inbox rapidly fills with baby poop as the story reaches me from far and wide, and I’m reminded once again of a few things: 1. We are all human. We all poop. 2. Babies don’t even realize they’re pooping, and when it happens with a fancy camera pointed at them, it creates great “shareable content.” 3. These pictures might somehow indirectly encourage, or at the very least, not discourage, other parents to post the same “content” themselves on social media.

Granted, parents have been posting pictures of themselves covered in fecal matter and urine since the dawn of Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t ramped up a bit since sites like Awkward Family Photos or photographers themselves post humorous and grotesquely mesmerizing pictures of babies shitting on their parents. I’m not suggesting that parents only got the idea to post (or post about) such things from a single image that got shared over a bajillion times by every parent on the internet, because that would be false. Parents love posting pictures of their kids’ poop, whether it’s on their arms, face, breasts, hair, or clothing. Nothing entertains them more than grossing out their non-parent friends, sharing a laugh with parent friends, or showing off their suuuper duuuuper wacktastic day wherein their baby did what every other baby has done at some point in his or her life to its unsuspecting parents. Being shat on is even a point of pride for some parents, who can’t help but share the joys of parenting with their extended friends network, no matter the inherent disgust. The fact that they’re enthusiastically shoving shit — be it a massive blowout or a tiny turd — in their friends’ and acquaintances’ faces with some degree of glee is in itself telling, but the fact that some parents’ pictures go viral for days or weeks on end as a result is slightly troubling.

Let’s retrace a bit: Who could forget this photo from earlier in the year featuring a cackling dad and his leaky, sleepy daughter? Or how about the poop pièce de résistance that captured hearts and ruined lunches with all its projectile glory? With so much attention paid to bowel accident celebrations like these, it’s no wonder some parents don’t think twice before posting about their baby’s number two with a wink and a smile. Understandably, most of these parents are simply blown away by what’s shot out of their baby’s ass without warning, and they think that kind of occasion merits a shout out on Facebook. They even believe on some level that their friends want evidence of the outcome, which is almost never the case. (Although you wouldn’t know it by reading the comments, which are often loaded with chortling parents who empathize.)

So parents, put down your DSLRs, close Photoshop, and listen up good: Unless you happen to take one of those rare and professional-grade photos of your baby unexpectedly and artfully crapping on you, it’s in your best interest to keep that shit off Facebook. Don’t believe me? Think your baby crapping on you is so hysterical, it warrants a status update? Check out the following examples and let me know in the comments if I’ve managed changed your mind. Here are the various types of “been pooped on” status updates one might find while scrolling through Facebook.

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