STFU Parents: Vote for My Baby!

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If there’s one topic that I get a lot of submissions and a lot of general messages about, it’s baby photo contests. With the advent of social networking, it’s now easier than ever to promote your child in a contest online. The overall thinking is, why would you encourage people to vote through your personal blog when Facebook has a wider reach? And why would you only post about the contest once on Facebook when you can technically post as many status updates in a day as you want?!

For these reasons, I get daily emails from parents and non-parents that say, “Why won’t my friend stop promoting her baby in this stupid contest? I voted once; now leave me alone!” And while I agree the baby contest trend has gotten a little out of control in recent years, it seems to have gotten particularly crazy in the past few weeks because of the 2011 Gerber Generation Photo Search, AKA the mother of all baby contests.

Usually the contests that parents beg their friends to vote in are giving away gift cards, cameras or clothing. But the 2011 Gerber Generation Photo Search promises such prizes as an iPad, a $50,000 scholarship and the chance to star in a Gerber ad. In other words, technology, fame and fortune – a combination so enticing to parents that there are currently over 155,000 photo entries. And as the voting window draws near (the last day to vote is July 31st), more parents are appealing to their friends for votes. So today I wanted to highlight some of the different types of baby contest posts on Facebook, because some Facebook users simply can’t take it anymore.

1. The Mostly Innocent

This is often how getting into baby contests begins. It’s all in good fun, moms support each other and no one really expects to win. Voting requests are probably kept to a minimum, so they’re a little more tolerable.

2. The Slightly Competitive

You can tell that Jennifer is a little more organized than a first-time baby contest mom. She’s posting a “pre-vote” message and, according to Tirzah, managed to get her daughter’s picture in the local newspaper announcement. This type of contest mom (a distant cousin of the pageant mom), is probably going to bombard her friends with tons of voting updates.

3. The Insanely Competitive

This mom may end up losing some friends after she goes crazy trying to win a contest that 155,000 other babies are registered in. She’s judgmental, naive, and uses her baby to make her friends feel guilty. It doesn’t get much worse than this.

4. The Unlucky

Did I say it couldn’t get much worse? I meant for the people who don’t participate in baby photo contests. But for a hopeful parent, this is pretty much as bad as it gets. Like Jayna said in the first example, you have to be careful what you wish for. And in this case, it’s wishing for votes. Yikes.

5. The MommyJacker

Finally, no annoying trend is complete without a mommyjacking component. When your friends start spamming you with messages to go vote for their kid in a silly contest, you know things aren’t heading in a good direction. You are no longer a person with thoughts and contributions. You are simply an able body with an internet connection.

Please, moms. Don’t do this. Your friends have had enough.