Q&A with the founder of STFU Parents: oversharing smackdown

Posted at 1:34 PM Jul 02, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Being on Facebook is the second most narcissistic thing you can do. The first is, of course, having children, 'cause you are so awesome you just can't help but pass on these tight genes AMIRITE!? Combine Facebook with babies, and you get some serious trainwreckage.

"B.," the founder of STFU Parents, has had enough, and she's taken it upon herself to call out, Lamebook-style, parents who overshare about their baby's every shit, spew and smatter. Readers submit screen shots of their most irritating Facebook parentfriends, and hilarity, bitching, moaning and more than the occasional flaming ensues. The blog got a bit of press over at Broadsheet, where Judy Berman found it alternately funny and disturbing, but ultimately felt ambivalent about it. I e-mailed B. with a few questions about having a hilarious, occasionally hating, blog.

1. Who are you? (Do you have kids? Do you want to?)

I really don't prefer to stay anonymous, but there are a lot of people out there who seem like loose cannons so I'm going to protect my anonymity for now. I can confess to being a female who does not currently have kids, but absolutely wants them one day when the time is right. Some crazy woman in my comments called me a "barren whore," so I've been considering my options!

2. What prompted you to start the site?

A few friends in my status feed began revealing their new identities as what I call status 'Offenders,' and it started to get on my nerves. Their updates were nowhere near the caliber of the submissions I receive, but they had qualities that were slowly driving me nuts. At the same time, a girlfriend (who is pregnant with her second child) started sending me her friends' annoying updates because they were driving HER crazy, hoping to commiserate. I figured this epidemic should be showcased in a submission-based blog, so I can say what's on everyone's minds, or just provide some comedic distraction. Some people think it's an "anti-kid" or "anti-parent" blog, but that's simply not true.

3. What's the oversharing parenting habit that drives you the craziest?

There are so many habits! I categorize my submissions, and there are definite patterns. Parents that post pictures of their kids pooping or throwing up baffle me. Two of my favorite categories to post from are what I call "Woe Is Mom" and "Mommy Me, Me, Me." i.e., moms using Facebook as a Pity Party Platform.

I think overall it's annoying when parents ignore that little voice that says, "Stop! Your friends don't want to see this!" Some people say "Oh, but you can just hide the person in your Newsfeed." Sure you can, right after you get an accidental eyeful of Jr.'s diaper explosion when you least expect it.

4. What do you say to angry parents who hate on the blog?

Usually I make light of it, like I try to do with everything on the blog. I tell them to get a sense of humor. Some parents have discovered their 'updates' posted on the blog - sometimes with scathing commentary - and are fully able to laugh it off, which I greatly respect. Others remind me of those mean parents you see yelling at their children in the grocery store. I tend to not mess with those people. Twice this week I've dealt with "extreme" haters - in one instance, I posted the hating parent's email and in another, I went on my first ever rant on the blog. It's a case-by-case scenario. I still try to make it funny, though.

5. Looks like you've already encountered some serious douchebaggery--is this something you expected to happen, the backlash?

I expected the backlash, because everyone knows overprotective parents, and people in general, whose sense of humor can be touch-and-go and who aren't afraid to express (read: SHOUT) their negative opinions. Mom blogging has been around for a while now, too, and the various communities are very tight. Usually it's a love or hate thing. But it's not just women; the guy I called a tool in my rant went totally ballistic over his post. His facebook 'friends' have been emailing me saying he really is a douchebag.

That being said, I have been astonished at how many people - parents and non-parents alike - have responded to the blog, and like it. Some people email me things like "Keep up the good work!", "I'm a parent and I LOVE your blog!" or "Your blog helped me through a breakup." I have made some great friends and the response has been mostly positive for sure.

6. Do you think the blog has the potential to be sexist, since so many of these parents who need to STFU are moms? Does it cast moms in a bad light?

I think the blog can be interpreted in many ways and can be controversial for that reason. I certainly see myself as an equal opportunist - that is, any parent has an equal chance of making it onto the blog! I post stuff written by the guys, the gals - it's just whatever I think people want to read. I mostly think about not focusing too much attention on "poop vs. potty training vs. incessant labor updates vs. nap time rants, etc." That's how I choose what to post. I pretty much never focus on the sex of the post Offender or the sex ratio of that person's commenting friends (if there are comments).

As far as casting moms in a bad light - I really am just trying to make light of what I consider to be a social networking trend. I have many mom friends, I love my own mother dearly and hopefully I'll have kids myself one day. Being a parent is a very tough job, and I think everyone knows that. Just keep your kid's bowel movements to yourself!

7. Has anyone written and asked that you remove their post? If so, did you?

A: Yes, a couple of people have written me. I think the number is two, and both were from moms who asked that a picture (that was already edited and unrecognizable) be removed from the post. They were fine with leaving the post itself up. I did what they asked immediately and ended up having pretty good email conversations with them both! I am happy to try to accommodate anyone who writes me.


Esbat said:

If you put it out on the 'Net, which as any kind of movie or television show will teach you, it will find its way to the public. By broadcasting pics and info to friends, family, and acquiantances in an easy to capture digital format its easy for it to be shared. And the site creator has done the right thing by being easily accessible for content editing and removal.

Great interview and I have a new internet site to fill up my days.

Kristen said:

STFU Parents is a great blog to check into when you're having a bad day and need a giggle! The author's commentary under each submission truly makes the blog so enjoyable. I hope she keeps up the good work for years to come b/c when I last checked my status update feed...oversharing parents don't seem to be quieting down, lol!

Jill said:

This is fabulous! I am surrounded, both on and off FB, by people who don't realize that NO ONE loves their kids as much as they do. Constant feeds on wonderful days swimming with the best, most beautiful children in the world, obnoxious children who are still cute as a bug even when they are vile and disrespectful, and how these women "just love being a mom" are set to make me throw my computer out the window. Why do we care? I have children, but I also have more to me than that, and no one cares if my daughter looked cute climbing the stairs for the first time. Wait! Let me photograph it and post the pics really fast! And why do people drop everything to post that their child of four said something a teenager would usually say? And, yeah, your kids has cute feet and chubby legs - so does mine, but I'm not starting a feed about it. So the next time you have a wonderful, heavenly day that starts with a rose-tinted breakfest and drifts lazily into a blissful afternoon with the most beautiful girls and boys in the world, and finally ends with hand-holding in the moonlight as you pledge undying adoration, keep it to yourself. We don't care!!!

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