With the media and social networking sites in full Royal Baby frenzy now seems as good a time as any to think about parenting. I find myself at that age where more and more of my friends are becoming parents. After a while you begin to notice patterns in parenting emerging based on how people discuss and portray their family life online. Here are a few of the online parenting types I've noticed as a non-parent thus far. How many of these do you see in you own friends? Do any of these even apply to you?
The "sharent" is the sharing parent. You know the type. As soon as they have the first ultrasound photo of the baby it's slapped onto Facebook in eager anticipation of all the photos to come. These parents are happy to share their joy with the rest of their friends. The photos from the hospital alone take up an entire 150 photo album. Once little Dora or David join academic clubs or teams there are usually videos of them at dance recitals or football practice. These parents often have at least two photographic devices on them at any outing.
The I-Am-My-Child Parent
Of course parenting takes a lot of time, effort and energy but some parents find themselves utterly absorbed in these new roles. Everything they say, do or post has a clear focus on their child. Every status is the child. Their life is the child. They are becoming the child. You're likely to see them with glitter glue in their hair, wandering through the supermarket humming the theme music of In The Night Garden. They seem to lose a part of the identity they once had as they are so focused on their little darling/darlings.
The TMI parents
Wow. I didn't expect to see photos of your baby butt naked so you could ask Facebook if that rash is normal. I also didn't expect photos of your baby covered in puke chunks and snot trails. I now feel a little queasy. Every time their baby is ill they'll coo and fuss over a status describing their symptoms in full, worried detail.
The Competitive Parent.
Any time someone mentions their own child the competitive [arent tries to one up them by saying what their little darling can do. "Oh, your son is taking a nap? Little Jimmy is already sleeping though the night!"
"Your child started reading? My daughter reads at a fifth grade level already and she can't even walk yet"
Even for those of us who aren't parents it can be really uncomfortable to watch a competitive online parent.
These are the parents that will warn anyone who will listen to not become a parent. Any time they see someone cooing over a photo of a baby or discussing how much they'd love to be a parent these are the people that will rain over the parade. "You think you're ready for a baby? No one's ready for a baby. It's Hell. You totally shouldn't do it."
The Wise Consultant
These are the parents who will actively get involved in any discussions of child-raising, parenthood, pregnancy. They can probably recommend books on child psychology techniques or have a decent argument as to why you should use fabric baby slings and cloth nappies. These are the people that are often helpful to new parents in need as they are ready and positive to lend their wisdom.
The Not-Sure-If-They-Even-Have-A-Child Parent
Every now and then you have those friends you rarely see anyway who have a child. You aren't near enough to see them regularly but because they then never seem to mention their child you almost forget they've had one at all. You are more likely to see a status about them "hanging with the girls and getting a few cocktails" than anything about their child. Not a whisper, photo or quick status. Suddenly I begin to hear the music from the start of Rosemary's Baby in the back of my head...
The "Too Cool For Drool" parent
Ever a comedian these parents seem to remain their cool selves after the birth of their children. On Facebook or Twitter their children often feature in witty remarks or interesting anecdotes that leave you chuckling and under the impression that parenthood is a laid back, funny adventure. These are the parents that lure others in because they manage to make every parental job look like an exercise in being awesome.
What kind of parent are YOU?
Are there any other types of parents you've noticed?
I wish any new parents, including Kate Middleton and Prince William, the very best of luck in this new journey.