How 'bout those kids, eh? They're everywhere I tells ya! Some are cute and sweet (I was once called beautiful by a 4 year old little boy who came through my check-out lane with his mom). Some are precocious, with a quick wit that would make Zombie Joan Rivers' head spin. Some are obnoxious little fucks, and a large part of the reason that I sometimes think some kids should get the shit smacked out of them. But, regardless of the variety, kids exist and that seems to piss a chunk of the population right the fuck off.
|Believe it or not, this ain't that chunk.|
Parenting has become a weird beast, in this age of social media and instant updates on every aspect of our friends' and family's lives. In many instances a woman's circle of Facebook friends know she's pregnant before the father of the soon-to-be baby. It's a bold new world and, frankly, it's a little weird and awful. Did you know about that placenta art is a thing? I didn't until maybe a year or so ago. I admit to knowing that some folks make soaps or whatever with placenta, but I blame Practical Magic for that knowledge.
Then there's poop and naked babies. I lump these two together because they're just facts of life for parents. It's never been unheard of for parents to take the "first bath" pictures, or the baby butt picture. It even sometimes occurs that a child manages a particularly spectacular bowel movement and their parents feel some need to document the event. I'd judge, but I know men in their late 20s who do the same thing, in the a.m., after a particularly intense bender. What is new, and terrible, is that we can now share what were once private moments with pretty much everyone in the entire world.
Hey kids, did you know that once you post a photo on any social media you've lost control over that image for the rest of the Internet's life? Even when your privacy settings are set to private? I had a MySpace account about a thousand years ago, and my profile picture is still floating around out there despite the fact that the account is deactivated and I don't even have that picture in my personal collection anymore.
Now, with the exception of poop because I never want to see poop, I'm not actually against sharing those cute bath pictures, or even the baby butt ones. If your circle of social media friends are close friends or family, and not Dave from accounting who friended you after a team-build excursion, then there's probably a certain degree of expectation that you share some of those pictures. I don't. I'm generally too busy bathing my kid to run off and grab my phone or camera. Plus, I'm paranoid that if I take even a moment to snap a picture he'll find a way to drown. And, also, I don't care. Baths aren't treasured memories, unless by treasured you mean I'll never forget how I somehow ended up more soaked than the kid.
Of course, then you have the ones that post picture after picture as if that send button were attached to a morphine drip. The ones that either forgot that Dave from accounting is on their friends list, or simply assume that he is dying to know about every minute aspect of Jr's day to day. The way I figure it, if he cares that damn much there's a chance he's secretly Jr's dad. I'm not really writing this about those people though. There are blogs and humor sites dedicated to this kind of overshare already. Sites like STFU Parents exist to highlight this new world of bizarre candor and the assumption that everyone wants and appreciates it. They also skewer the concepts of "tiger moms" and "mama bears" and, I dunno, are there "lion moms"? The parents who not only think their children hung the moon and stars, but will shank a fucker who tries to explain astronomy or string theory or anything that negates the firmly held belief that their kids are the center of not just their, but everyone's universe.
Have you noticed that I have something to say about the behavior and actions of parents, but very little about the children themselves? Oh, there are absolutely some horrid kids out there. Sometimes it's due to bad parenting, sometimes it's because the kid clearly needs a snack or a nap, sometimes it's because horrible people had to come from somewhere. But I don't actually know one from the other, not without actually knowing the kid and his/her family. So when a rowdy-as-fuck toddler, up WAY beyond what would be reasonable for a child that young, chucked a bundled silverware place setting at me at a super-douchy hipster restaurant, I was annoyed at said toddler, but super-pissed at their Pabst-swilling fuckknob parents. Because they saw it happen, and not only didn't do the apology-parent-dance that we all learn to do when our kids are acting like shits to total strangers, but they didn't even retrieve their silverware or acknowledge that it had happened. The waitress did all that for them, while Handlebar Von Mustache and Lady Ironic Toaster Tattoo looked incredibly put upon that I might not have enjoyed their kid's performance art.
(sidebar: Before anyone gets the idea that I think these two asshats were such because Dad enjoys scarves in the middle of a California heatwave, and Mom's baby registry included a complete Sleeter Kinney discography, it's not that at all. You know that Cat Whisperer Guy? He's got a doppelganger who lets his kids dress like pirates all day, every day, and that family is kind of awesome. Of course, his kids are well behaved, and when one does act up they either clean up the mess and/or apologize and take said kid off-stage to deal with whatever underlying issue is at play.)
|He might actually be the real Cat Whisperer. I don't know if Jackson Galaxy has kids.|
I know it seems like this is that meandering off point that I mentioned before, but I'm actually getting there. I just usually take the scenic route. The point is that I rarely would call even the worst of these kids brats, or worse. Maybe in a nebulous, "some kids are assholes" kind of way, but rarely a specific child. And never as a response to the actions of the parents. I might hate someone's guts and think they should fall into an industrial sized rock tumbler, but I don't hate their kids. And I certainly don't hate their kids because they, the parents, have differing opinions or a sense of humor that is counter to mine. But there seems to be a simmering subset of the population who hates kids! Not the "I don't want kids" or "Some restaurants should ban children after a certain time of day" kind of hatred. I get that. Hell, I have a kid and I don't want to be around kids. I'm referring to those people who hate children to the point that they wish actual harm to them. They hate parents to the point that it's not enough to say "I hate you," they have to throw in personal attacks on the one person in the equation that doesn't have a say in their role in the world, the kid. When we started calling people "special snowflakes" it was usually in reference to those twee fucks that think they fart rainbows and have really deep souls and why wouldn't thousand-year-old vampires want to make me one of their own, just because I'm 14 and I drew pentacles all over my notebook only to be asked why I'd drawn a bunch of Stars of David?
There are people who have flocked to a humor site that documents this whole new territory of social media parenting, and the hilarious results, under the banner of "I hate children and parents and everything to do with them!" They are just appalled that there are parents in the comments sections, laughing with everyone else, because it's called "Shut The Fuck Up PARENTS, so go stuff a pipe bomb up your snatch, you filthy breeder!" I don't know if these people act like this in real life, I doubt it. It's just another instance of people on the internet acting like people on the internet.
They seem to have this massive hard-on, believing that every parent is trying to ruin their lives by having kids. People they have never met decided to have children, and that is really impeding on their lives. They also seem to have this belief that once someone has had a kid they stop being a human being, but instead some sort of parasitic host looking for others to infect. People who hate kids are very much under the delusion that there's some kind of conspiracy to force them to give up their brunches and parties and their youth in favor of kids and all the messy accessories that come with them. While I don't doubt that many of these guys and gals have a family member (or a dozen) and friends that are constantly nudging them in the ribs and asking when they'll become a mommy or daddy, believe me--the rest of us? We really would prefer you not breed. Not because you'd be a bad parent, though I've long suspected that those who scream and bitch about other people's horrible children are the ones that somehow spawn perfect babies that speak three languages and have names like Quinoa and Pittsburgh-PBS. No, we'd all really prefer you not become parents because...you don't want to be parents.
Here's a mind-blower, and I'll probably be dragged out and set on fire by the local PTA for saying so, but being a parent isn't as bad as some of us make it out to be. No, don't get me wrong! You definitely lose sleep, and there's poop. So freaking much poop. And other gross shit. And some of your friends may end up becoming more like acquaintances, which can happen because of moving or job changes or lots of other major life changes other than parenthood. And you're different because life is different. But it doesn't take a goddess or a rocket scientist or anything else special to be a parent. We all do what we can, for better or worse, to raise not-assholes. Some of us will succeed, some of us will fail, and those who fail's kids will flock to humor sites to lambast a segment of humanity for being different or making different life choices despite the author of that site being a member or potential member of that segment. For all those people who bitch about all parents acting like they deserve a parade for a choice they've made, you should probably come back down to reality and realize that very few actually have that opinion. They're out there, for sure, but just like the small handful of Ebola cases in the U.S. getting blown way out of proportion, you've decided that a very small percentage of parents represent us all. Believe me, I hate those mama-bear Facebook posts and "those aren't stretch marks, they're tiger stripes!" memes. I'm not a mother because I'm amazing, or invincible, or fucking dipped in chocolate and covered in gold leaf. I had a child because I wanted a child. I may not have set out to have my son, and once I found out I was going to have a baby I could have gone a couple different routes. But I decided that I wanted him, and that I (probably) had the tools to raise him. I lucked out, because I had a choice and I got to want and keep him (which isn't always the case for some women). I don't shove it down anyone's throat how special or whatever I think I am (I totally am, but for reasons other than my son), so when I crack a joke--probably at your expense--go ahead and think I'm an asshole, but it's a weak piece of shit who has to attack someone's kids because they don't like that person.
And please don't have kids. Unless you want to have kids. But definitely don't be a dick.
|Wil Wheaton is watching you.|