I'll admit I was rather late to adopting a significant social media presence. I had Facebook, sure, but I stayed away from all other emerging platforms, convinced I didn't have time to maintain them all. Eventually, however, signing up became a necessity. Now Twitter and Instagram are not only an important part of my career, they're pretty damn fun. Still, I'm new to hashtags and, as a result, have some feels. In my opinion, there are just too many parenting hashtags that shouldn't be a thing. I mean, yes, you do you, but come one, you guys. Really?
I don't think hashtags are meant to be taken completely seriously, so it's important to view the entire "social media" thing with a grain of salt. However, and having said that, the hashtags I take a particular issue with are those that shame parents or kids, try to pigeonhole all parents into one type of identity, or perpetuate a "reality" of parenthood that doesn't actually exist.
Of course, social media hashtags can be positive, too. I mean, they have started entire movements that have evoked significant cultural and political change, especially now and in the midst of a contentious, dangerous, and polarizing political climate. They bring people together and make those of us who might not have access to a significant support system, feel less alone. They can raise awareness of important debates and causes and help to build a community. So believe me when I say that while some are annoying, the majority of hashtags serve a righteous purpose I am all about. Still, when it comes to these particular parenting hashtags that do more harm than good, I wish we didn't need them or use them. Like, at all.
This hashtag started to trend after the 2011 book of the same name gained popularity. Yes, there isn't a parent alive who hasn't begged their kid to "please just go to sleep." I know it's just a dream, but I fantasize about my son just going straight to sleep without any fuss or nonsense.
I guess this hashtag proves we are all experiencing the same hell #solidarity. However, I really wish it wasn't a necessity.
The #ParentOfTheYear hashtag often goes together with #ParentingFail, and it enforces the notion that there is some sort of competition between the so-called "winners" and "losers" of parenthood. We don't need to win "parent of the year." Parenting is hard without any added pressure to achieve some arbitrary standard of greatness. Plus, I bet your kid already thinks you won all the parenting awards.
The self-deprecating aspect of this entire hashtag, too, is really unnecessary. There's no reason to be so hard on yourself, mom. No reason to highlight your fails to the masses, just to prove you're human. We know you're human. You're allowed to be human. There's no such thing as a perfect parent, so you don't have to juxtapose your "losses" against an ideal that really, and truly, doesn't exist.
This hashtag usually accompanies a gruesome photo of a child's injury or their sad little face following a boo-boo. Or it will be posted as a warning packed as a prediction of the future, along with a picture of a kid doing something crazy dangerous.
I can't help but grow increasingly angry when I think about the entire situation. No, I don't want to judge. And hey, that parent probably has a better sense of the situation than I do, because, you know, I'm not there. Still, and having said that, shouldn't the parent put their damn phone down and tend to their child? Nobody wants to be photographed, or the focus of an update, when they are in pain or in a potentially dangerous situation. This type of post may seem fun, but it always feels exploitative to me.
This hashtag is usually underneath a picture of your kid doing something really, for lack of a better word, stupid. Like putting something up their nose or reading a book upside down.
I know they are lighthearted and are meant in jest and a way to combat the idea that every parent is raising the next Albert Einstein, but they seem so shaming to me. You're basically saying your kid isn't very smart, before they even have a chance to learn. Yes, most toddlers don't understand gravity, but it's their age, not their abilities, that keep them from realizing that what comes up must always come down.
Parents will tag their posts with this hashtag if they are doing something with their kid that they would rather not be doing. I get it; there are plenty of kids activities I have yawned my way through.
Unfortunately, it also seems to be used a lot at school plays and concerts and that's why I, personally, don't like it. As a former teacher, I know how much work goes into preparing children to perform for their parents and how much it means to them. The idea that their mom and dad would rather be watching TV, even if they are joking, seems a bit mean. Yes, a 3 year old isn't the next Shakespeare, but still.
This hashtag seemed to mirror the "Reasons My Son Is Crying" website that highlights the ridiculous and over-the-top-reactions toddlers can have to normal and otherwise understandable requests.
I really wish this wasn't a thing, only because I really wish illogical tantrums weren't a thing. Seriously, it's so frustrating to try and reason with a kid who thinks you are an "asshole parent" for trying to protect them.
Some parenting days are rough and us parents are simply hanging on for dear life until bedtime rolls around.
I am personally not keen on the idea, though, that parents need alcohol in order to cope. It seems like an unhealthy message to me.
The #HappyFamily tag is such a humble brag. Social media posts that only show the best bits of parenting can make the rest of us feel like we are the only one struggling.
What is a happy family, anyway? I am sure it's different for us all, and cannot be summed up with a hashtag. Yes, we should all take the time to enjoy the "wins" and be fulfilled and even speak openly about the joys of motherhood. However, if that's the only thing you're talking about, it's clear you're missing out on some very important realities of parenthood, too.
Moms will use this hashtag to denote any time that isn't spent directly with their kids. It gives the illusion that you're only valuable in the ways you relate to other people, rather than being your own independent person.
You deserve to do things without your children. You can read a book, get your nails done, watch a movie, or go for a run. You can also do any of the aforementioned (and more) without having to describe it as #MommyTime. It's simply your time and you deserve it.