Anatomy of a Parent Forum

Parent Forums are Unintentional Entertainment

When I encounter a parenting situation that I don’t know how to handle I do one of three things:

  1. Channel my creativity and mix it with a three-fingered pour of common sense AKA make stuff up
  2. Ask other parents
  3. Google it

The second option generally yields the best results [I’ll discuss the intricacies of talking to random parents in another post], but the third option definitely yields the best form of entertainment. You can’t make some of these people up.

Parent Forum Participants are The Worst

Picture the most annoying person you ever encountered in school: know-it-all + a putter-downer. Now imagine that person with the decorum of someone who frequently posts comments on CNN, or maybe NextDoor. This toxic person, unfortunately, personifies a majority of parenting forum posters.

Person complaining on NextdoorThis person ALWAYS posts whenever someone uses their fireplace. It’s great.

Real Life Example

At home, since day one, TRex has always slept in his own room [sleeping will be it’s own topic/post, but for the sake of the current narrative let’s all pretend we have no opinions on sleep habits – seriously].  Because of this, whenever the Saurus family has to stay in a hotel, we find ourselves in a bit of a bind: TRex can’t/won’t sleep in his crib if he knows we’re in the room.

Thus far, we’ve handled the above situation in the following manner:

  1. Either Mothersaurus or I will go drink somewhere
  2. The parent left behind follows the same routine we follow at home – book, song, put TRex in the crib
  3. Once TRex is in the crib the unfortunate, left-behind parent either showers [most common option]; hides behind the bed in the dark and checks social media or watches fight videos on YouTube; or hangs out in the hall way.
  4. Once TRex has fallen asleep [generally within 15-30 minutes], the parent is then free to lay down on the bed, in the dark, and either read, check more social media, or watch bully justice videos, again, via YouTube

Wondering if there was a more effective/efficient/less jail-like way of approaching sleeping in a hotel together, I typed the following query into Google:

My Google Query

Which led me to this parenting forum where someone posted the following:

A perfectly reasonable question/scenario right? Here is a parent who needs help and is looking for advice. What better way to obtain useful advice than to use a lifeline and seek wisdom in the crowd?

At first, people are friendly and doing their best to be helpful.

So far so good right? However, by the end of the first page, you encounter your first high horse parent [HHP]. Rant incoming: HHP’s, for the most part, are nice people. However, they believe, or rather… know… that their parenting style is the best style. Trying to discuss parental matters with them is an unfortunate time suck for the non HHP; you’re better off doing Whip-Its while watching Gigli. /rant

The unhelpful parent

And there we have it. The unhelpful HHP enters the fray. Instead of trying to answer OP’s question, HHP takes time to: insult OP and everyone who commiserated; push their sleep propaganda.

It gets worse.

Someone, who doesn’t cosleep, takes offense to the HHP cosleeper and claps back, while another non-cosleeper decides to make themselves feel inferior by subtly implying that it’s not a sleeping issue, it’s a parenting issue. OH SNAP!

And then this happens…

I’d like to introduce you to Tough Person Parent [TPP]. Their kids do exactly what they tell them to do, and the TPP gets to listen to whatever music they freaking want [that detail makes me laugh]. Because they’re tough! The end is great too, “since the time he was little”.  

For reference – both genera of parents [HHP and TPP] role up into the Perfect Parent subfamily.

SINCE THE TIME HE WAS LITTLE HE SAYS!

The Rest of That Thread Was Useless

The above example is clearly a first world problem, and while I’m poking fun of these geniuses, for more serious matters, they also rear their unwelcome heads.

No joke.

No topic is safe from them – postpartum, parent unsure if they’re doing a good job, mom not producing enough milk – it’s all pretty sad [not in a oh-man-I-want-to-cry-sad, but more of an oh-man-why-do-some-people-check-every-row-when-looking-for-their-seat-on-the-airplane-it’s-in-numerical-order-I-hate-people-sad]. What makes this a more unfortunate situation is that as parents we should all understand how difficult it is to be a parent as well as understand that we, the collective we, ourselves are not, and never will be, perfect parents. Assuming most people know this, you would think that when another parent else asks for help, we, parents, would actually try and be helpful. As TRex says, “nooooooooope”.

Moral of the story here: don’t post your parental problems on the internet because everyone already knows better than you and you need to GTFO with your questions.

HAPPY PARENTING!

– tam

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