Have We Gone from Clever to Snide, Parents?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Is it me or has there been a lot of “Why Kids Are the Living Worst” posts and listicles floating around the web lately?

I know. Trust, I know. Being a parent ain’t for the weak. It’s challenge and struggle, but it’s also triumph and joy. And being able to vent about all of it online — and find like-minds who feel the exact same way — is partly what makes the internet golden. (That, plus Google.) Hat tip to the principle that there’s safety in numbers, it feels good to have people nod in earnest agreement when you declare: My life used be ______. Now, thanks to #thembabies, it’s become a sad version of ______.

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In fact, over the weekend I was telling my husband that I need to shake a bad habit that I picked up when The Youngster came to town: eating so damn fast! Back in the early days of motherhood, I would often eat standing up, while nursing, on-the-go, and generally as quickly as I could — operating on a “get it in when you can, girl” strategy. Now, as this guy is about to turn five, it’s about time I slowed my roll; ditch the power-chow and simply enjoy the food. 

I also get that in these high social media times we all want to be clever and snarky or “the cheeky guest on a late-night show,” and often the rude or shocking headline gets the clicks and the shares. “My 2-year-old Daughter’s a Total Asshole” would probably get more shine than a post addressing the same issues, but titled with a tamer: “Can the Terrible Two’s Thing Be Over Now?

However, part of me wonders if we’re moving out of “just having a laugh” territory and into a more bitter, unsettling place. Is the tone going from clever to snide? Maybe some folks truly dislike being a parent. And if so, is there really anything we (the not-so-miserable lot) can do/say to help them out?

Last week while out running, I listened to the first half of a new-to-me podcast The hosts — a mother and a father not married to each other — were talking about parenting hot topics. [I’m being purposely vague because I don’t want to call anyone out. Not the point here.] At the top of the show, the father shared a story about how he handled a situation with one of his kids. The level of utter disdain and irritation from this man regarding his children was palpable. So much so, I actually stopped running in order to change the station — that’s why I only caught the first half.

Yeah, I was fully judging that host. I probably even said out loud in a huff: Why bother having kids, guy? It helps no one for me to say things like that, but I’m keeping it honest with you, friends.

As I finished out the run (listening to NPR’s Fresh Air and a little Beyoncé — surfbor’t) I had to remind myself of three important things regarding the podcast host:

  1. This is just one story; I don’t know his life
  2. Parenthood is a rough ride  (or to quote writer Jennifer Senior, “All Joy and  No Fun“)
  3. (Most importantWorry about yourself

What say YOU —  does it seem like there’s been a boost in the “Ugh, Parenting!” posts? Or are people just more comfortable speaking their truth these days? Leave a comment below. Always want to hear your thoughts.

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