Hey there, Mama.
I'm talking to you, all of you, mothers of little children. I can call you something as familiar as "Mama" because I'm currently a mother of littles, too. We're brethren... sistren... why isn't there a fancy word for sisters?
Anyway, sistren, we need to have a talk. Yes, one of those. It's time for some tough love.
Before I begin, let me just say that I get it. I really, really do. When you have small children, your world often shrinks, because you're so busy changingdiaperscleaningupvomitdoingmountainsoflaundrynotshowering that you don't have much time for things like painting your toenails and keeping up on world news. It's so easy to immerse yourself in this focused (and dirty) little kingdom that you start to do things you would never normally do. Things that, if you were halfway sane (and any parent will tell you that parenthood leads to madness. It just does. And if they can't admit that, they'll say things like, "Parenthood doesn't make you crazy! Oh, and watch out for the mutant chicken- she tends to come around this time of day, trying to eat people. I think she's mad I'm not a vegetarian anymore and keep eating her children for breakfast HAHAHAHAHA!"), you wouldn't dream of doing- in fact, Sane You would be appalled at what Insane You is currently doing.
One day, you're chasing your kids around, still at least partially in your right mind, and the next, you're praising Junior for his amazing toilet prowess, letting your poor, exhausted brain takes its final turn 'round the bend, and telling the entire world, in graphic detail, exactly what your son just deposited in his potty chair.
I am talking, of course, about posting about potty training on Facebook. Or any other social media outlet, for that matter (unless it's a parenting forum dedicated to potty training- then go ahead, over-share your little heart out).
Now, just untwist those panties of yours and listen for a second. I know what you're going through, okay? I know how frustrating potty training can be, and how elated a parent can feel at a potty training breakthrough. (No more diapers! One less bodily fluid to touch on a daily basis! Holy crap here comes that chicken again, she's seriously pissed today!) I know what it is to be thrilled at the sight of a little bit of disgusting-ness in the toilet, okay? I do.
That thrill and elation has a place, though, and it is not with your 471 "friends", mmkay? Would you walk up to that girl you haven't seen since high school, or your old college professor, or your boss's wife, and trill, "JUNIOR JUST POOPED IN THE POTTY AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDED LIKE WHEN IT LANDED AND THIS IS EXACTLY THE SOUND HE MADE WHEN HE WAS SITTING THERE! ISN'T THAT JUST SO GREAT?!"
No. You would not. (Please, Heavenly Father, tell me you would not.)
But you know what? Broadcasting that kind of information on Facebook (or Twitter, or whatever) is just that: Broadcasting. You are letting every single person- and often people you don't even know, depending on your security settings- know about something that will humiliate both your child and you when your sanity returns (please, Heavenly Father, tell me it will). Not only do 99% of the people you have just invited into the bathroom with you and your preschooler not care, they are now grossed out and seriously questioning any future involvement with you.
Here's what to do instead: Pick up the phone. Call your spouse. Call your mom. Call your mother-in-law. Call your sister. Call your close friend. To be perfectly honest, there's an even chance they won't care, either, but I'm betting they will love you enough to pretend otherwise and be thrilled for you. (Oh, but NO PICTURE TEXTS. I have to say it because there are people out there who do that kind of thing.)
I do feel like I should add that every once in a while I come across a potty training post done right. It's either incredibly brief, incredibly funny (but not graphic), or a detail within a larger story. They're few and far between, but they do exist. Examples: "Kid #8 is finally potty trained- 15 years later, we're finally done with diapers THANK YOU JESUS." "My son just fell in the toilet and is now hysterically crying but I'm laughing so hard I can't fish him out so I decided to come post it on FB and leave him there to pickle in his own juices (2.5 years later but I'm finally exacting my revenge for 52 hours of labor, Mr. My Shoulders Are As Big As My Head At Birth)."
This has been a Public Service Announcement.