Sunday Reading List

I wanted to write something for Random Saturdays, but was drawing a blank.  All I could think about was office gossip and my To Do list.  I blame this on a combination of coming back to work after a wonderful Christmas vacation and my brain not quite recovering from back-to-back colds.  Other people have written some very entertaining articles this past week, though.  So, allow me to share a few of them with you so that I’ll feel like I’m only 99% lazy bum.

  1. My Year Was Tragic. Facebook Ambushed Me With a Painful Reminder. (Slate) – Yet another reason to dislike Facebook.  I mean, you know, it has it’s uses, but I did wonder if Facebook had considered the fact that not everyone would want to relive the past year via photos.  I’ve heard that Facebook has addressed the issue since this was published, but I also think that in the world of social media and “My Life is Picture Perfect” posts, it’s good to have a reminder that real life is not always represented accurately in social media.
  2. The Sad Truth Behind Those ‘Perfect’ Facebook & Instagram Photos Summed Up In One Comic (Huffington Post) – I can’t bash Facebook without bashing Instagram too, right?  This one’s funny (and short).
  3. christmas is the pits (bitches gotta eat) – Sam’s at it again, describing how anyone not celebrating the holidays Hallmark-style can still avoid jumping off a bridge.
  4. Most Hilarious Food Network Recipes of All Time (Rantings of an Amateur Chef) – This is a blog post inspired by a BuzzFeed article, but it ends with a serious recipe that is simple and healthy.
  5. If You’re Toasting To Health, Reach For Beer, Not (Sparkling) Wine (NPR) – Lucky for me, I prefer beer over wine because it fills me up faster and doesn’t give me headaches.  Maybe you could pair a good beer with the healthy recipe from the previous post.

I hope you all had a good New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Here’s hoping I have something better to write about in 2015!

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Random Saturdays – Proud Parents

I don’t remember how the topic came up, but I ended up playing the “Pregnant Women Are Smug” video for Ben recently.  That means that I spent the next few days with that song in my head, but I’ve had worse songs in my head.  It got me thinking about all of the “good” parent memes on the internet, though.  While there are numerous quotes with whimsical backgrounds that are annoying, today, I just want to focus on the ones that talk about being a good parent, all the sacrifices you make when you’re a good parent, and how you’re better than everyone else because of it.

It’s not that I don’t think parents shouldn’t make sacrifices for the benefit of their children.  It’s not that I don’t know any parents who make sacrifices.  It’s not that I think you shouldn’t be proud of yourself for being a good parent.

I just don’t understand why people have to advertise it in such a condescending way.

This is the social media trend, though.  People post memes, or even just status updates, stating that they are better than you for some reason or other.  Why?  If you are really great or really bad at something, then people will know, especially when it comes to parenting.  Everyone has an opinion on your parenting, regardless of how little you care.

Another thing that bothers me about those posts is that they’re usually obvious.  They’re always phrased as if they are grand statements of great truths that have been previously unknown to humankind.  Usually, they’re just condescending statements of the obvious.  When you combine parenting, condescension, and the obvious on the internet, you get a meme.  Sometimes it’s funny.  Usually not.

I remember Amanda and me having a conversation awhile back about a meme that a member of her family posted on her Facebook page.  It said something along the lines of, “Children are not supposed to sacrifice to make their parents happy.  Parents are supposed to sacrifice to make their children happy.”  Below it was roughly a billion likes and twice as many comments in the vein of “I hear that!” and “Let me list all of the ways I begrudgingly sacrifice for my children”.  It’s annoying because when people say, “I believe parents should put their children’s wants and needs before their own,” what they mean is, “I think I’m better than you because I do things for my children that make me resent them.”

Which leads me to another reason I dislike these memes – don’t cover up your bragging with your bitching, and vice versa.  Yes, as someone who chose to bring a person into the world, you should be making sacrifices here and there (some big and some small) for the well-being of your child.  Fine.  Don’t act like you’re put upon by the world for it, though.  I wonder how popular memes for other responsibilities would be.  What if I started bragging every day about how I get up Monday – Friday, go to work, and actually work while I’m there?  What if I added on the enviable fact that if I’m too sick to come to work, I actually go the extra mile and let my boss know that I need to use vacation time for that day.  After reading that, aren’t you wondering why I’m not the CEO of the company for going above and beyond?  I doubt anyone in the world works as hard as I do, except for those who like that comment, in which case, we are now best friends in suffering.

I don’t mean to poo poo on all the people who are glad that they’re good parents or who support good parenting habits or whatever the heck it is they’re trying to accomplish by SPAMming us with good parenting memes.  It’s just one of the many aspects of American culture that I don’t understand, like casual dating and mayonnaise.  If you find that you just can’t let go of the parenting memes, then maybe try a little less of this:
https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4f/46/74/4f4674ade06ae3b8111dddcea38bb54d.jpg
…and a little more of this…

http://mylovelyquotes.com/do-not-handicap-your-children-school-quotes-for-kids/

The final reason that I do not like those memes is that if you constantly tell your children about all the ways you sacrifice and make yourself miserable for them, then you are teaching them some very bad lessons:

  1. They are more important than anyone else in the world, and should always expect to be treated as such by everyone for the rest of their lives.
  2. Making yourself a priority is bad.

Neither of the above are true and either one will make for a miserable life for your children and the people around them.  Do yourself a favor and teach them that being kind to others is just as important as being kind to yourself.  If you don’t want to do this for your own sake, please consider doing it for the good of the children.

Random Saturdays – Facebook Rules

I always forget that I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t pay attention to Facebook.  I’m on Facebook.  I check in once a week or so to see how things are going with people – see what their kids wore that day, what people ate that day, and see how many people started their updates with, “You know you’re a [fill in the blank] when you [insert something that half the world does, but you have somehow convinced yourself that it makes you different anyhow.]

I mean, you know, it’s just how we keep in touch with each other nowadays.  More often than not, I get frustrated with Facebook, itself, and can’t look at it for more than a few minutes at a time.  I don’t like the way it’s organized, how crappy the auto refresh is, all the ads, all the different streams of every activity that anyone does on Facebook at any given time, the multiple ways to post and chat with people on all of the tabs, etc.  It’s just overkill for me.  I check in once a week or so, and then move on with my life.

So, imagine my surprise when people started asking about my relationship status.  I didn’t realize that people really paid attention to that type of stuff.  I mean, it’s Facebook.  I didn’t send anyone wedding invitations.  I just clicked a box on a website that may or may not have had a heart near it (don’t remember, not going to double check).  That same week, the government shutdown ended, there was another school shooting, and a 7.3 earthquake hit near Japan.  All I heard from people was, “So, you changed your relationship status on Facebook!”

I mean, you know, that’s fine.  It’s nice that people care.  I just didn’t think they would, and I don’t understand why they do.  Erica told me, “Nothing’s official until it’s on Facebook!”  I’ve been trying to figure out whether that is true or not.  Based on my experience these past couple weeks, it sure seems true.  I don’t think that I’m comfortable with that, either.  I’m not anti-social media, of course.  I just think of Facebook as a dumping site for everyone’s streams of consciousness.  It’s loaded with so much from so many people, that not much on there is really important.  I can’t say the same for, as an example, Twitter because it has been used to start revolutions, for crying out loud.  Also, nobody gets mad at you if you miss her tweet on Twitter.  My feelings for Facebook are similar to how I felt when OK Cupid switched from a cool site where users took fun quizzes to a dating site.  The biggest difference is that Facebook is the only way I have to communicate with a large part of my family and some of my friends.  So, like it or not, I am tied to Facebook until something better comes along for all of us to fervently adopt.

If anything, I have learned that Facebook really matters to people far more than I thought it did, and more importantly, they pay attention to what I post on there.  So, I’ll probably start editing myself even more than I already do.  Or not.  I’m lazy.