Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm a better parent than you

Ever get the feeling when you are talking to another parent that they are doing nothing but trying to outdo you or your child?

You: Timmy just counted to 10 yesterday!

Other parent: Oh that's great! Johnny can count up to 20 now....

You: Timmy got student of the month!

Other parent: Johnny has gotten it twice already this year

You get the point, and yes we all know someone that has done it.  You have maybe done it too either intentionally or unintentionally.  It seems that there is such a competition these days to be the best, and make sure that everyone knows it.  Everyone thinks they are the best parent in the world based on the decisions they make, and that's true, to a degree.  You ARE the best parent to YOUR child.  No one can raise your children better than you.  One of the many things I have learned from having children is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, it just doesn't exist, but you need to trust that the decisions you are making are the best ones for you.  You also need to remember that what may work for you may not work for everyone else, because that is what can make you too opinionated for even your closest friends.  Here are the things we need to stop imposing our personal opinions on other parents (unless they ask for advice).

1.  Breastfeeding

I am a huge breastfeeding advocate.  I think it is healthy, beneficial, and of course free.  It was my choice, but that doesn't mean you are wrong if you choose not to.  Like all of the topics I will cover this one gets people crazy.  I have actually seen people attack others for choosing to formula feed instead of breastfeed.  Saying things like "selfish" "you don't care about the health of your baby" or even "formula is poison! you are feeding your baby poison!!".  Seriously?  How a woman decides to feed her baby is entirely HER decision, it is a decision she has thought long and hard about and has come to the conclusion that is best for HER.  No one has any right to tell a new mom how she should feed her baby, or question the first major decision she has made regarding her baby.  You can be pro breastfeeding without making others feel like crap.  So unless an opinion is asked of you, keep your negativity to yourself (and your possibly insane comments)

2.  Vaccinations

Oh man this is a crazy one.  Within the last 10 years more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children due to the fear of Autism and the level of mercury used to preserve the vaccines.  Parents with Autism swear that vaccinations are to blame, which started a panic.  Now I don't know one way or another, but I would never discredit or attack a person whose views may differ from mine.   One of the people most seem to "blame" is Jenny McCarthy (who I love).  Sure she has been the most outspoken celebrity against vaccines, but so what?  Who is anyone to judge the way she decides to take care of HER child?  I saw it first hand the other day when I responded to a tweet she had written.  She posted a funny picture and under the comments one guy started laying into her saying how she is responsible for killing children, diseases coming back, and called her a "fucking moron" among other things.  The first thing that popped in my head was why the hell does this guy follow someone he hates?  The second is this person has no business attacking the way she parents.  Choosing to vaccinate or not vaccinate YOUR child should be based on YOUR research.  It is ridiculous to "single out" (ha ha see what I did there? huh? huh?) one person based on their beliefs.  Its not like she is the only one to speak out against vaccinations.  It is OK to disagree, but you don't need to be an ass about it.

3. Car Seats

One thing as parents we can all agree on is wanting to keep our children as safe as possible.  One of the best defenses in doing so, are car seats.  Now when my mom was a baby, they didn't have car seats, my car seat was like a bucket with straps, and even my sister had one of those with the huge bar across the front.  Now there are car seats with airbags, I'm not kidding, because I own two of them.  When I had my first son 8 1/2 years ago you were supposed to rear face the car seat for at least one year.  Same when I had my second son 4 years ago.  Now it is recommended to rear face for at least 2 years, but they say to do it as long as possible.  My daughter just turned 2 this month and on her birthday I turned her forward.  It was my own educated decision that I am comfortable with.  There are many out there who DO NOT agree with that, and its fine, but to be honest I am tired of seeing these horribly anger and profanity laced "debates" about it.  Much like the breastfeeding debate, people get nuts when you don't see things their way.  If you want to educate people fine, but don't attack them when they post a picture of their child in the backseat and it isn't to your liking.  It isn't any of your business.  Hopefully that parent has done their research and picked what they felt was best for their child.  I can tell you right now your opinionated passive-aggressive comment, or  comment posted with a "car seat safety link" will never go over well.  So just don't.

4.  Homeschooling

We all want our children to be educated, as smart as possible.  Homeschooling is something that has always been around, but has really picked up steam in the past few years.  With things like online classes, and even Skype, it is easier than ever.  Some parents choose to home school because of the violence in schools, or because their child is a slower or faster learner, or just because they don't trust their specific school district.  Whatever the reason may be they made the decision for a reason.  The cliche about home schooled children being isolated is unfortunate as homeschooling has come a long way.  When some people hear "We decided to start homeschooling Timmy" they really hear "We want Timmy to become anti-social and grow up to be a serial killer"  It is pretty sad but the reality of what certain people think.  Home schooled children still participate in school events, and even have field trips and social events.  It is not as isolated as so many still think, and I suggest you do your homework if you are going to try and tell a parent they are going to turn their kid into a serial killer. 

5.  Milestones

Never ever EVER compare your child to another, it will either make you look like a douche, or have you so panicked you will develop carpel tunnel from googling.  Just because Johnny is crawling at 4 months and Timmy isn't doesn't mean his motor skills are bad.  If Johnny starts talking before Timmy it doesn't mean Timmy has a speech problem.  If Johnny gets teeth before Timmy, it doesn't mean Timmy is going to need baby dentures, so calm down.  Every child hits different milestones at different times.  The books you see on the shelves are only there as guides to project when you may expect your child to his a certain milestone.  Try to keep the comparisons to a minimum, especially if your baby is ahead of everyone else.  No one likes a bragger, or a one-upper.  Sometimes it is better to just listen to the other person without interjecting about your kid.

All I'm saying with this is we need to be respectful of others, and their choices.  We will never agree on everything, because that just isn't how the world works.  If that were the case the word "war" wouldn't exist.  It is fine to be opinionated, but make sure that you aren't being overbearing, or lecturing others who don't want to hear it.  Like I said before, you DO know everything, and you ARE the smartest, most loving and educated parent, but only to your children.  Try and keep that in mind next time you want to lay into someone who doesn't see things the same way you do.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

10 things we need to stop doing on Facebook

There was a time that Facebook was fun.  Finding old friends and catching up, keeping in touch with family members that live far away, and countless other reasons.  I'm not sure how we went from that easy go lucky idea to what it is today.  While I still enjoy logging on everyday (OK all day) I find myself rolling my eyes a lot more lately, because some things have gotten out of control. We are all guilty of at least one of the things, or in my case multiple things, but you know what they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem so there you go.  Here are the top 10 things that need to stop, in no particular order.

1. Vaguebooking

I put this one first because it is MY biggest Facebook pet peeve. We all need a little extra attention every now and then, but Vaguebooking is just downright annoying.  You can always tell when someone is feeling a little left out of the cyber world when they post things like
"I'm sad"
"Why me?"

Well you get it.  There is nothing wrong with posting those things but when you start getting responses asking whats wrong (which is exactly what you want) and then respond to no one, it is obvious you just want to make sure people are paying attention to you.  You may be able to get away with that once in a while, but when you start doing it on a normal basis people will stop paying attention to you.  People will not even ask whats wrong anymore, because you have proven time and time again that you have no intention telling everyone just what the hell is wrong.  Whether you like to admit it or not, we are all nosy and hate when we get sucked in with no payoff.  That is a major Facebook turn-off.  Which brings me to my next thing.

2. Airing Your Dirty Laundry

I like some drama and gossip just as much as the other person, but somethings really should remain private, no matter how entertaining it may be for us.  This is most important when it refers to a couple.  Remember, when you are mad and post something horrible your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover or whatever did its hard to take it back.  Even if you delete it, chances are a majority of your friends have already seen it and will not be able to delete it from their memory.  This is especially important for couples with mutual friends. or couples where the other person doesn't have a Facebook and has no idea you are spewing your private stuff all over.  You may need to vent, and that's fine but when you share it with everyone you have just asked for more trouble.  If you have mutual friends someone WILL tell the other person and your mini venting session went from what you thought was something innocent to something on a much higher level.  Surely if you have 100+ Facebook friends you are close enough with someone you can text, call, email, or even IM (remember that?) right?  A temporary lapse in judgment is one thing when you write a rant but if it continues, you will most likely stop getting sympathy and start getting more eye rolls, and be prepared for someone to call you out on it.  The whole "I can write what I want its my page" thing only goes so far before people start hiding your feeds, or even deleting you.

3.  Posting Too Many Pictures of Your Kids or Pets (or both) in a day

Yes your kids are adorable, yes your pet is too, but don't over do it.  As parents we think every single expression, outfit, haircut, and sleeping position are adorable, and they are, but posting all of those things in one day is overkill (albums excluded).  No one will ever love your children the way you do, and the same goes for loving every picture you take.  I am 100% guilty of this.  It isn't an attention thing, you just want everyone to see how awesome your kid or pet is, but the truth is only a select few will really care after the 4th or 5th picture of the day, after that most will just scroll right past you.  Doing this every once in a while is one thing, then there are a select few that do it on a daily basis, posting nearly the exact same pictures every day.  Feel free to share but try to keep it to a minimum, or get on Instagram.  Oh and if you don't have kids and swear you will never be one of those parents, at some point you will. 

4.  Pictures of Disgusting Things

This is pretty self explanatory.  No one wants to see the massive poop your kid took, the projectile vomit, or the aftermath of a long drunk night out.  You may think its hilarious and interesting but the rest of us are cringing and unsuccessfully trying to get the image out of our heads.  You may even think its pretty cool your kid used the potty for the first time, and it is, feel free to tell us, but we don't need a visual.

5.  The Daily Selfie

We all know someone who loves themselves so much that they have to share a new picture with us sometimes multiple times a day.
"Going to the club!"
"Going to dinner!"
"Going to work!"
"Going to the bathroom!"

Its great that you have such high self esteem, and we like seeing new pictures of you, but unless you got plastic surgery, you look exactly the same as you did yesterday, thanks for reminding us.

6. Food--Instagram yes, Facebook no

As much as I was hoping this was a short lived trend, it is still going strong.  Nobody needs a daily picture of what you are eating.  If you are really REALLY proud of it then lets see it, but a PB&J? Yeah that's not newsworthy.  Save the food pictures for something special, like something you worked your ass off all day making, something unique, or even a Pinterest success (or fail, those are fun too).  In-N-Out is obviously an exception to this, but not if you eat it everyday.  And don't you dare post a picture on my news feed of plain old boring In-N-Out fries, those better be Animal Style or you'll hear about it from me.

7.  #hashtagging

#we #need #to #stop #talking #like #this #about #everything.  Also 100% guilty of this.  Hash tagging started off on Twitter for a reason.  Sometimes it can be hard to fit all of your thoughts in 140 characters, and on Twitter it is a way to see what other people are saying about the same thing you are talking about, but Facebook doesn't work like that.  It is understandable if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter, but if not then just say what you need to say, you have plenty of room!

8. Compulsive Woe is Me Posts

Everyone has bad days, there is no argument there, but attention seeking daily posts about how bad your life is is annoying.

"My life sucks"
"When will I have a good day?"
"Why do things keep happening to me?"

If you are posting like that on a daily basis you either are in need of some serious help (no sarcasm there) or you need to change what you are doing.  Unlike #1, this is the person who is constantly being shit on and doing nothing about it but feeling sorry for themselves and wanting everyone and their mother to know about it every day.  Nobody likes a constant Debbie Downer and with each post your sympathy level goes down.  The days will be numbered that people comment with "whats wrong?" "everything OK?" or "I'm sorry :(".  Eventually people will just be thinking "Shut up already!"

9.  Facebragging

Got a new car? I want to see. Met a celebrity? I want to see that too.  Wads of cash? Um yeah no thanks.  Fifth super expensive unnecessary new toy this week? No thanks I'll pass on that too.  There is a fine line between sharing things with people and bragging about them.  We all like to make people envious of us sometimes, but if you overdo it, they will just start thinking you are a douchebag.  Yes we all want nice things, and its cool when we get something we have saved for, or got for Christmas or whatever, but if you just have cash coming out of your ass and cant stop talking about it, we will stop being excited for you, and roll our eyes as fast as we scroll past you.

10.  Asking for Money

Why people do this I will never understand.  It takes a real ballsy person to ask people for money on Facebook for whatever it may be.  Charity, school donations, and stuff like that are different, but just for you?  Are you kidding me?  This sometimes can tie into #8.  Not always do people come right out and ask for money but they imply that they really need it.  Writing their sob story (or stories) in hopes it will appeal enough to garner donations.  Its tacky, and if you are hurting for money that bad contact someone privately that may be able to help you. don't post it all over the damn place.  The only time I have ever done this is in a joking manner like "Hey who wants to lend me $20,000 for a car?" or "Hey my birthday is coming up who wants to buy me an iPad?"  am I really asking for it?  Obviously not, its a joke, jokes are funny, pity is not.