"Shut up, parents"

Moms and dads are posting the disgusting details of child-rearing on Facebook. One blogger fights back

By Judy Berman

Published July 2, 2009 10:19AM (EDT)

What happens when the Mommy Wars and online oversharing collide? Well, if STFU, Parents is any indication, the answer involves a seemingly endless supply of Facebook status updates involving bodily fluids. The blog chronicles some of parents' (and mostly mothers') most disgusting and narcissistic posts. We hear about boogers, tots caught eating dog poop and one child who happened to puke directly into her mom's mouth. (Ugh, I'm still shuddering about that one.) A recent STFU, Parents post shows a screen capture of a photo one parent posted of their offspring dismounting a potty, having successfully, well ... used it. "Look what our big girl did!" reads the caption. A ridiculous quasi-apology follows: "(Sorry if this grossed any of you out ... but we were so proud of her and look how excited she was!)" How considerate!

STFU, Parents is only one of many popular, low-maintenance blogs that use scorn at a particular social subgroup -- goths, hipsters -- to rocket their masterminds to (often fleeting) Internet fame. As such, it finds its bread and butter in extreme examples of parental self-involvement. And it's in these marvels of gross-out narcissism that STFU, Parents really excels. The blog is both a welcome source of catharsis for the childless and an excellent reminder that there really are worse things than friends who constantly post (poop-free) photos of their tykes.

Unsurprisingly, STFU, Parents has already awakened the ire of moms and dads who don't see the humor in the site. "You know what?" writes a woman named Miriam in an e-mail posted on the blog. "If people don't like parenting updates on facebook, they should unfriend that person and get the fuck over it." She goes on to call the anonymous blogger a "bigot" and wonders whether "STFU blacks" and "STFU gays" are on the way.

While I generally enjoy the site, I can see what may be upsetting reasonable parents. (Those who still believe that a hundred or so friends want to know every detail of their child's bowel movements get none of my sympathy.) Simply put, the blog suffers from poor quality control. I don't, for instance, find posts that mock parents for complaining about how tired they are or how little time they have terribly entertaining. And if people want to announce their pregnancies on Facebook, well, that's their business. But I'm interested to hear what Broadsheet readers -- and especially parents -- think. Is STFU, Parents funny, or is it yet another unprovoked attack by the child-free on the child-rearing?

Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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