Let me start off with a few important disclaimers:
1. I do not hate children.
2. I fully intend to have / adopt children one day.
3. If I thought having children was easy, I would have done it a long time ago, and I would have had five of them.
4. I like people.
If we are "Facebook friends," it is because I enjoy hearing about your life online, be it running a food truck in Portland, or rescuing puppies in Santa Monica, or producing TV shows in London, or being a breastfeeding advocate, or simply running a household. I am also "Facebook friends" with a bunch of people for absolutely no reason other than I can't find a decent enough reason to mildly offend them by their culling. These people do little but keep me in a constant state of annoyed indignation. I enjoy judging them. The two groups are not necessarily exclusive.
Now we've got that out of the way -- fuck the pleasantries. This incessant posting of baby pictures has GOT to stop. I'm talking about you, Mommy Bore. Not you, brand-spanking new parent, who has every right to post pictures of your precious pink maggot on every single social networking tool for at least two weeks following birth. The Mommy Bore is an entirely different beast. The Mommy Bore will not stop once baby has lost its novelty value. The Mommy Bore has found her calling in life -- and it is to be The. Best. Mom. Ever. And have you witness it all. Online. Over and over.
If you're feeling angered by me and are gearing up to write some vicious retort about what a disgusting human being I am: Congratulations. You're a Mommy Bore, and in the fatuous, inane Mommy Wars you're a winner. Yes, you are! You with your terrible, out of focus, Instagrammed shots of your chubby child -- taken only seconds apart -- showing minor differentials in facial expression as they gurgle into your iPhone. You, with those artfully posed soft-focus pictures of yourself gently nursing your child in a spotless white dress in a pastel colored room, eerily devoid of any rogue baby excretions. I'm talking about YOU, Mommy Bore, holding a ridiculous yoga asana, beaming at the camera, clad in fair trade fabrics while baby gurgles happily next to a lotus flower against the backdrop of an exotic jungle. Your posts about your child's exceptional intelligence, incredible motor development, or advanced bowel control, not to mention your chosen "method" of parenting (and you'd never judge anyone else for lesser choices, but the implication of your superiority is clear) -- I can't take it anymore.
You bore the fuck out of me.
The line, I admit, between Cool Mom and Mommy Bore is often difficult for one to distinguish. It takes a great deal of honesty to look inward, and ask oneself, "Did I need to share that photograph / statement with 1,567 of my closest online friends? Did I share that, thinking it would bring joy to their lives, a smile to their face, perhaps alleviate their own feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, make someone out there feel less isolated and alone, no longer a failure? Or did I share it to perpetuate and maintain a myth that my life, though incredibly challenging as a NEW PARENT, is far more fulfilling and rewarding than yours. Particularly those of you who are already parents, but have not yet found time for a weekly photoshoot. I shared it to make you know that while you're suffering, I'm doing OK. More than OK. You lesser parents -- the ones who haven't yet shifted the baby weight and are posting pathetically at 5 a.m. about finding this parenting shit hard -- I'm leaving you in my wake, along with the soulless childless individuals who continue to toil on a futile career believing it will bring them joy and fulfilment (aka pay the rent)."
I have certain criteria I expect of my real (not the infuriating fake) friends when posting about their offspring. Let me share them with you:
1. No more than one picture a day is acceptable.
Multiple pictures of vastly different content are acceptable. But multiple pictures of the same shot taken from different angles are gratuitous and should result in 24-hour online suspension. I really, really want to link to someone's Facebook site right now, and I can't. But you know the offenders. Baby with mom right in front of the computer. Baby smiling with mom right in front of the computer. Baby with mom, mom is waving baby's hand as if baby's saluting us with an anarchist fist bump, or a 'Heil Hitler,' except it's cute, because it's baby. Baby with....
2. Stop telling us how easy being a parent is.
The child who, nine months previously, was going to ruin your abs, your savings account and your sex life, the child who you only had because time was running out and you're 35 now and its either this or freeze your eggs.... that child has NOT now turned you into an urban buddha, able to perceive life in a greater and more profound depth than you ever thought possible. You're still a c**t. Growing a baby with your body hasn't made you better and more spiritual than anyone else. In fact, prior to this child's appearance, the only thing you could keep alive was a yeast infection. I fail to see how the nurturing instinct, so sadly lacking throughout your entire life, has now reached its zenith because your hormones and biological chemistry are keeping your child from suffering the same fate as the pot plant. Therefore: show me an honest picture. I want to see baby puking all over you, shitting on Poppa, jamming her fingers into Little Johnny's eyeballs with an innocuous look on her angelic features. I do not want ream after ream of adorable, sweet, perfect portraits of amazing parenthood, coincidentally showing how great you look even when an eight pound maggot has been dredged out of your vag. Because when you then complain about the fact you're up all night, and being a stay at home Mommy is SO hard, I just wouldn't understand, you'd KILL to go back to work (omitting the obvious fact you never worked prior to the pregnancy) how LUCKY I am to have a CAREER and travel all over the world in order to pay my own goddamn mortgage (which husband pays for), I'm going to tell you to shut the fuck up.
3. Any commentary about your child / parenting abilities should be laced with humor.
Props here go to my friend Wendy. On a day when all the Mommy Bores were posting pictures of their perfect offspring looking perfectly adorable in perfectly coordinated outfits, fall leaves gently drifting around their cherubic faces as they trundled off to school, Wendy posted a picture of her little girl looking murderous and demented, entitled 'Portrait of the Comedian as a Young Psycho.' Again, I have to congratulate Patrick, whose fascinating posts about politics and traveling are now only accentuated with the occasional affectionate video or picture of his tiny little son doing something unpleasant or offensive to someone unwittingly. Points have to be taken away from Ella, whose dry and fretful whining that her children didn't get into the French Lycee despite an incredibly expensive move and job change precisely for this purpose, really just makes me hate her for being so fucking middle class. I CAN'T AFFORD MEDICAL INSURANCE, BITCH. Send your fucking child to France if you want it to speak in tongues.
I really like parents with humor.
4. Stop telling us how hard being a parent is.
Hey - guess what? I KNOW IT'S HARD BEING A PARENT! I do not need you to tell me about how you were woken at 3 a.m. by projectile diarrhea and your left nipple nearly got severed off by Billy, sucking angrily for colostrum while your evil lactation consultant told you to power through the pain, and the lining between your anus and your vagina has never properly healed resulting in difficult decisions come the return of your menses. I do not need you to tell me, patronizingly, how being a parent is the hardest job you've ever, ever done in your life. If it's so hard, why are you having a second child, and moaning about how little you fucking sleep? Is it meant to make my heart bleed that you don't get your Sephora time anymore, while other women across the world actively have to hand over children they can't financially or physically support to orphanages, tearing out their goddamn hearts? Or those women can't get Clomid handed to them on a plate so they can get knocked up with a multiple pregnancy in one go? Or those women can't even get a simple pap smear? I can assure you, Sephora does online. It's OK.
As to the charge that I have NO idea how hard your life is, now you're a mom, at home. You may have forgotten that while you were being a graduate student at Harvard / working in a law firm / editing NY magazine / surfing in Australia / doing a lot of blow / living off your parents money / not having a job / being a wife (I went to Cambridge University, I know a lot of these folks, they're pretty bad), I was working as a slave on private yachts for rich people, cooking, planning the menu and feeding 16 people breakfast, lunch and dinner, assiduously mopping up their vomit and their shit, tidying and cleaning the bedrooms, occasionally nannying the kids, and assisting in sailing the goddamn fucking boat. And no, I didn't get to 'see the world' as I was working 24/7 to pay off my student loans, you dipshit.
It's safe to say that while not exactly the same as raising a child, the unrelenting workload of caring for 16 mega-rich people might be seen as comparable to nurturing eight pounds of mini-terrorist. In much the same way, my nanny friend in London just had her own child after years of looking after other people's, and isn't finding motherhood as overwhelmingly traumatic as she's been told she should be by the Mommy Bores. Might your insistence that it's the hardest job EVER (I think prostitution, single-momming, being a working mom and being a bikini waxer beats you, sweetie) be because, oh Mommy Bore, you belong to a breed of woman who probably hasn't spent a great deal of your life dealing with other people's demands, needs and bodily secretions? It's all a bit new? This 'other people' business?
The Mommy Bores last at least 18 fucking years.
If my husband doesn't get a vasectomy after reading this, I think I'm saying goodbye to Facebook.
Follow Ruth Fowler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fowlerruth