Friday, September 11, 2009

More Baby Mama Facebook Drama

Remember my recent post about the Facebook "friend" whose non-stop updates about the minutia of her baby's life were driving me crazy?

We're not friends anymore.

One day, she posted yet another baby-related status update announcing that the cost of daycare is CRIMINAL and she can't believe it's 40% higher than it was back when she had her first child (who is now 11). So a bunch of her FB friends (parents) posted comments to her update sympathizing and agreeing with her, some specifying how much they pay for childcare and what an outrage it is. It was a big pity party.

So, feeling a little frisky that day, I posted this comment: "Another reason I am happy we don't have kids".

A day or so later, I went back to that thread to read comments after mine and guess what? My comment was gone. She deleted it! So guess what I did? I deleted her. I de-friended her. I know that sounds extreme and probably makes me an official Facebook meanie, but we were just acquaintences and I had been tossing around the idea of de-friending her for some time because her incessant "Baby Joey" updates had been driving me spit-bubbles (hence my vent on this blog). She is a nice person, though, and to date I had always felt too guilty to de-friend her. I just couldn't bring myself to do it - until now.

Of course, just my luck: she immediately noticed that I de-friended her, assumed it was because she had deleted my comment and sent me a private message apologizing and explaining her reasons for doing so. Apparently one of her FB friends is a young woman who is pregnant and anxious about having children and she thought my comment might make her feel even more anxious. She said she occasionally deletes friends' comments if she thinks they will hurt or offend any of her other friends. She encouraged me to re-friend her.

My response to her was that I didn't see how my little comment about being happy we don't have kids is any more anxiety-producing than the drawn-out discussion about how expensive childcare is. If anything is going to produce anxiety in a young, nervous mother-to-be, I think a detailed accounting of exhorbitant daycare costs will do it. Realizing that I did not want to re-friend her, I decided to be honest and told her that I think she's a really nice person and I wish her all the best, but I wasn't connecting with her constant updates about the baby and it felt like too much for me.

She got defensive and didn't take it well, and the conversation went downhill from there. She accused me of being closed-minded, saying that she has FB friends of all kinds - people who have kids, people who don't have kids, people who like kids, and people who don't like kids, and they are all open-minded enough to indulge her updates.

At this point, I could have let it die (and perhaps I should have), but I didn't. Let's just say I was in a mood. So I told her that I think it would be helpful for her to consider her audience when posting updates. Perhaps her friends may like to hear about other things besides her baby and may tire of hearing every single detail of Baby Joey's life and nothing else. I gave her the example of my cat (the example I wrote about in here) and asked her if she would enjoy reading daily updates about every aspect of my cat's life and nothing else - her vet visits, the flavor of food she ate this morning, how much hair came out in her daily brushing, the brand of cat litter we use. I told her my feelings about her updates had nothing to do with liking or not liking children, and I was sorry if she took offense with my honesty, but I really thought it would be helpful to her to know the truth of how I feel.

(I didn't say this, but I am also sure many of her non-baby obsessed FB friends who are similarly tired to death of her boring-ass updates would be CHEERING me on for my honesty, if they knew about our exchange).

As you might imagine, my cat-update-comparison didn't go over too well and her reply was something to the effect of "you can't compare cats to kids" and "good riddance" and that was it - the end of our Facebook friendship. I felt a little badly at first because I know I was a bit hard on her, but I think after months of enduring those awful, mind-numbing, narcissistic Baby Joey updates, her deletion of my comment was simply the final straw.

Edited to Add: For those of you who have similar Facebook issues, I have since learned that there is a way to stop a friend's updates from appearing on your wall without de-friending them. If you put your cursor over the friend's name (on their update), you will see a link appear to the right of their update that says "Hide (friend's name)" Click that link to "hide" the person and their updates will no longer show on your wall (although they will still be in your friend list).


The Pint said...

Well it seems someone got a little defensive and overreacted to this whole drama (clue: it wasn't you, Childfreedom). Jeez, I've got all sorts of friends on FB as well, some of whom have children and wouldn't you know, the majority of them may post occasionally about their kids (first words, first steps, funny-but-not-STFU Parent-worthy incidents), but that's not all they post about because obviously their kids aren't the only important thing going on in their lives and they know the quickest way they'll end up de-friended (or have their posts hidden) is to post about being a parent 24/7. And as a cat-lover with 2 furballs of my own at home, let me just say that hell yes, for some of us, our pets are just as important as kids because they're part of our family - they may spit up hairballs but at least they don't need diapers changed. I love my cats, but I sure as hell wouldn't post about them constantly because that would just piss my friends off and make me seem like a boring, 1-dimensional moron who has nothing else interesting going on in my life besides cleaning the litterbox.

firefly said...

There is a disconnect in this woman's thinking. It's okay for her to delete comments if she thinks they'll make someone else unhappy, but it's not okay for one of her audience to say her updates themselves are bothersome and might benefit from a little judicious editing? Hello? Anybody home?

To be absolutely fair, we have CF friends who overpost minutiae too -- although, thankfully, no poop updates. I think it's the nature of Facebook; you're on stage, and you have to do something to keep the audience's attention.

On the other hand, I find it screamingly ironic that the very parents who insist on child-centric movie and music ratings will turn around and post the most disgusting information about their children's bodily functions in a public venue without so much as batting an eye.

If you were a Facebook meanie, you'd have submitted one of her TMI updates to STFU, Parents.

Phoena said...

I always find it extremely offensive when people with kids whine about how much it costs for childcare. Hello, aren't your children worth it? Is bargain hunting in the best interests of your children? They never complain about the price of cable or internet -- they'd pay ANYTHING for those things, don't you know. But when it comes to their kids, they get all cheap? Assholes.

redwings19 said...

OF COURSE you're cats can't be compared to kids! Your cats are well behaved! Your cats can find the litter box! Your cats don't poop themselves, spit up on other people, scream at the top of their lungs, or cost half your salary for day each week.

AND, when you travel, you can put them in a crate!

I agree with Firefly - this woman deserved what she got. You are not a meanie - you were honest and didn't let Baby Joey become the center of YOUR life, too. Good for you.

Laura said...

That was great! I wish I had the guts to do that. Maybe next time I'm in a mood I will.

Enola Knežević said...

Another reason I am happy I don't have a Facebook account :)

CFVixen said...

Wow....that chick should have taken your first hint! LOL!

I thought your cat play-by-play was hilarious!!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking both as a childfree woman and as someone who's mother operates a home day care for a living I just have to say that the cost of child care, at least from what I've seen and experienced watching my mother provide day care for almost thirty years, is that the cost of day care is far from being too high. My mother has eight kids in her day care and she still struggles to pay the bills every month. I have absolutely zero sympathy for parents who complain about how high the cast of day care is. My mother doesn't provide day care as a public service. It's how she makes her living and she deserves to be payed a living wage just like everyone else. Besides, kids are SO worth it, aren't they? At least that is what I've been told all my life, that kids are worth the financial burden they impose on you. Paying for child care is just a part of the parenting game, so quit complaining.

And I would also like to thank Childfreeeee's former Facebook "friend" for reminding me why I avoid those social networking sites like the plague.

Schrodinger's Kittens said...

Your ex-friend's actions almost seem like another instance of that "conspiracy of silence" you've talked about before that makes women to say things like "I wish people had told me what it was REALLY like to have kids because I might have done things differently." Which they then disregard and tell younger women that motherhood is the bestest, most wonderful thing EV-ar, thus perpetuating the cycle. Can't have people thinking there's another way!

Mrs. Ogre said...

I had a similar situation when a former HS friend on FB was complaining how haaaaaaard it was to take care of a baby (it was no accident, she wanted it). So there goes a pitty party with other mommies, and they all say it's worth it when they say "I love you mommy!". I had to chime in and say : "But remember, they will one day become teenagers who say 'I hate you!' "
She unfriended me. I guess, they think their babies will stay that way forever. They never think in the long term.

Dave said...

The 'hide' function has served me very very well on facebook. :) Almost all of the people I've hidden are because of their nonstop child updates.

And you could have really got her going by mentioning how expensive it is for the rest of us to subsidize her kids through those child tax credits we don't get to claim. ;)

Childfreeeee said...

You guys make the most awesome (and at times entertaining) points! I thought many of the same things about the situation. It's okay for HER to delete my comment, but not okay for me to tell her her posts are a bore. And why are parents complaining about the cost of daycare? Think it's too expensive? Then don't have a kid. It's NOT too expensive - what do they EXPECT to pay - $1.00 an hour? I mean, get real. Caring for children is hard work. And it's true - cats are no comparison to kids because cats are much easier to care for (and as I like to say, you don't have to send them to college either). But the point is...people think it's okay to go on and on nonstop about their kids as if everyone is interested but they wouldn't like it very much if someone else went on and on just as much about some other topic. For some reason there is this unspoken rule that narcissism is perfectly okay if it has to do with CHILDREN. Well, it's not okay with me.

, said...

This was good. I loved the comment about posting updates about your cat's daily routines. lol

Anonymous said...

Shrodinger's Kittens said it best. There does seem to be a conspiracy. There were so many things that I had to find out after becoming a mother. Parenting is hard. No doubt about it, but she's here now and and she didn't ask to be so I do what I have to do.

Daycare is expensive. I don't understand what's so upsetting about discussing it. Even people who have no interest in children know this. I'm just not understanding the complaining. Comparison shopping to find a surrogate parent (because that's what they basically are) for your child is sketchy, in my opinion. The local facilities in the area charge more than I believe they're worth, so I stay home and scale back certain unnecessary expenses. It's not that big a deal, really.*shrugs*

Unknown said...

Perhaps if she was actually AT home looking after her children she wouldn't have to whine about the high cost of childcare?

Sorry but nothing I dislike more than people who pop sprogs out and then bundle them off to daycare whatever their age!

I've defriended friends off Facebook too, they just became too much!