In keeping with our recent child-centric posts, the New York Times today profiled the creator of the blog Shit My Kids Ruin. Julie Haas Brophy, 34, began the site when her kid tossed a bucket of black paint on the dining room rug. Cue Shakespearean dramedy!
Brophy posted a picture of the spill on Facebook, and the phenomenon began. She realized that all her friends with kids also had shit regularly ruined, and so the site was launched, written up by HuffPo, and no doubt we will see the book coming out soon.
The thing is, we are in an era of oversharing. If we don’t have kids to gloat about, we overshare about ourselves, with Facebook posts of what we’ve recently ruined (our love lives, our cars, our dignity). So it’s natural that when we have kids, we’d overshare about that too. But for some reason, it’s still just a tad more grating to open up your Facebook home page and see a post about someone’s child. In trying to think about why that is, I came up with a few reasons:
1. It’s always been annoying when parents overshare about their kids, even before the advent of Facebook (yes, readers who were born in the ’90s, there was a time before social networking sites). No one wants to see the entirety of your baby book in person or on Facebook, but the fact that it’s on Facebook means that I and other unsuspecting friends are now forced to view it on the homepage, where in the past we could have simply avoided our oversharing friends’ phone calls.
2. Kids are gross. Shit my Kids Ruined features a pic of a child with a huge trail of snot leaking from her nose to her shoulder. Listen – I like gross-out comedy as much as the next gal. And I’m sure that when I’m a parent this kind of thing will be very funny to me. But for now, snot makes me gag.
3. OK – here it is. I think that what really rubs me – and possibly other people who haven’t yet spawned – the wrong way about all this kid oversharing is that the underlying message is, it’s not about you anymore. If your sharing time with your friends is spent uploading images of your kid’s snotty nose, it means we don’t hear about your life, your accomplishments, your job. We don’t hear about the time that milk spewed out of your nose and it was hilarious – we hear about when it happened to your kids. And look, I know that once you have kids your whole world shifts, and suddenly you can’t afford to be selfish anymore. And there’s no doubt something very beautiful and life-affirming in sentiment. But it’s also, frankly, a little terrifying to think that everything I value about myself and my life will one day be trumped by snot – and the fact that parents find it necessary to post on Facebook in order to define their lives makes me wonder if it doesn’t bother them a little bit, too.
To that end, I appreciate the site’s tagline: “We want to know about the shit your kids ruined. Perhaps your couch? Your TV? Your marriage? Your dreams?”