So Over It

I think there needs to be a national day of “step away from your computers and smartphones.” We can then use the time to take deep breaths and focus on not being so angry.

For at least two years I’ve been making excuses when people would comment about how mean everyone had gotten on social media. I would blame politics and say it’s making people crazy or worse filter less. Meanwhile, I’m hiding more and more “friends” so I don’t have to experience their meandering rage.

Today, I’m barely on social media (except for my beloved Snarky FB page)  because I’m over it. It’s like when Oreo’s came out with Double Stuffed. They were great, but after eating a sleeve (or two) I discovered I’m more of a chocolate wafer girl. All that filling was just too much. When it was just a dollop it seamlessly melded with the wafer, but once they doubled down the artificial flavor kicked into turbo mode and the Oreo acquired an aftertaste of “I don’t want it anymore.”

The same thing has happened with social media. I don’t want it anymore. It has unleashed the worst in people.

If that’s not depressing enough this blob of emboldened fury has slimed its way into all forms of communication where it seems more and more of us feel like we’ve been ordained to be the royal highness of jerkdom.

It took a neighborhood website to show me how bad things have gotten in the “I’m thinking it so I’m going to say it” department. One would surmise that a neighborhood website would be the place of somewhat civil communication. After all, you live in the same hood and a certain veneer of politeness ensures cul-de-sac harmony.

 It’s not like Facebook where people feel like they can make a hostile comment with nary a care because chances are slim to none that you’re going to ever have to experience any in person awkwardness resulting from that harsh rebuke you wrote on a former high school classmate’s page who now lives in New Jersey.

But your neighbors are a constant in your life. You see them while walking your dog or even getting your mail, which would make it kind of important to dial down the jerk or knee jerk reaction.

Sadly, an innocuous question left by a fellow neighbor about when the Christmas decorations were going to be removed from the entrance of the neighborhood turned into a flurry of erroneous comments about picking on the alleged volunteers who put up the wreaths to who goes to board meetings and how lame the HOA management company is.

It all made me very sad. How does one question get turned around into being about nagging volunteers and then become a dumping ground for neighborhood angst?

No one wants to problem solve anymore. The go to now is just to complain or what I think is even worse make comments that have zero basis in fact.

What’s happened to us?

A decade ago I don’t think this would have occurred. I believe we were still following the other golden rule – hiding our true feelings lest we hurt someone else’s. Now, it’s an open season on just spewing whatever thought pops in your brain. No care or concern is given to the consequences.

I would have thought that a neighborhood website for a small Kansas suburb would be something of a safe space. But it seems we’ve become a society of disgruntled fingers furiously typing away in any on-line forum with a comment section.

Dear Snarky – A Teenage Girl VS Her Dad’s Girlfriend in a Social Media Smackdown

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 I’m getting a lot of pressure to force my 17-year-old daughter to apologize for something she did on social media. The problem is I don’t think she did anything wrong and I want to high-five her and take her out for lunch and shopping.

 Here’s what happened. My loser of an ex husband’s girlfriend went on Facebook and as a status update asked my daughter, who can’t stand her, want she wanted for Christmas.  My daughter replied, “to turn back time and have you not sleep with married men.”

 For background purposes my husband and I were still married when he began seeing this woman and after our divorce my ex pressured my daughter to accept his girlfriend’s friend request.

 Well, you can imagine how things hit the fan after my child posted that statement. To make matters worse the slimy girlfriend was off Facebook for hours and didn’t see my child’s reply so that meant it was up for a while and got a lot of responses. Some were not very kind to the girlfriend who had told many people that my husband was separated when they began dating.

 Now, my ex wants our daughter to post an apology on Facebook for hurting his girlfriend’s feelings. I told him she shouldn’t have to apologize for telling the truth.

 What do you think Snarky?

 Signed, Proud Mama

 Dear Proud,

 Your husband’s girlfriend is a fool! Primarily because she should not have asked your daughter on a social media forum what she wanted for Christmas. Was she trying to show off and pretend that she and your daughter were BFF’s? It makes no sense. Good Lord, she could have at the very least communicated via private Facebook message. Also she must not know how a teenage girl’s mind works because I’d rather wrestle a rabid Grizzly than go head-to-head with an emotional 17-year-old who is working through very raw feelings about her parent’s divorce.

 As for having your daughter issue an apology on social media – worst idea ever!!!  It’s just going to stir things up again in a big way. Tell your ex he needs to let it go and in the future if his girlfriend wants to communicate with your daughter than she can deliver her message either in person or via your ex husband. 

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky, “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or send me a PM on the Snarky FB page. 😉

Dear Snarky – The Selfish Selfie

a-true-friend-only-posts-the-photos-you-both-look-good-in-cHwDear Snarky,

Please help me because I’m ready to disown a friend. I realize the problem I’m about to tell you may sound stupid, but its super annoying and I’m just so over dealing with it.

My friend takes pictures constantly and she’s always posting on all of her 4 social media sites. The problem is when you’re in a picture with her or any group photo she goes in and uses all kinds of apps to make herself look good from teeth whitening, wrinkle erasing, slimming her face, etc and leaves the rest of us looking like crap. AND I think sometimes she edits us so we look worse.

How do I get her to stop without making it a big deal? I’m afraid if I say anything she’ll put zits on all my pictures.

Signed, Photoshopped

Dear Photoshopped,

Have you ever thought about just saying no to having your picture taken? As in, “No, thanks, I don’t want to be in the group selfie.” There’s an easy fix to your problem. 

For more suggestions I consulted my social media, selfie expert – my 15-year-old daughter. She says the best way to deal with a friend who “blurs,” that’s her word for someone who is over zealous in their use of Instagram beauty apps, is to just call them out on it.

She said she had a friend who would always whiten her teeth in pictures and no one else’s so kids starting leaving comments like, “Love the bleach teeth. Which app did you use – Clorox?”

I know this maybe harder to do when you’re a grown woman BUT if someone is going to go all photoshop crazy in a group pic then I feel you have every right to bust them on it.  Your friend, unless she suffers from some sort of delusional mental illness, has to know that nobody is fooled by her enhanced photos.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice with an Attitude please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

Snarky Gets Hacked the Finale

So, herhackinge’s the deal. I have a really good story to tell that I can’t tell . . . yet. A couple of days ago my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page got hacked. Apparently, someone really, really wanted to be Snarky and took over my page. (Was this unnamed someone unaware of my cankle affliction? One would think that would be a deal breaker for anyone wanting to be me.) They even started posting stuff. The good news, at least, it wasn’t porn. The even better news as soon as they started posting they left a digital trail which made it easy for the authorities to trace them. All this now has me in the middle of an investigation which is full of intrigue and I have been told to not write about what I know until I get an all clear from the law.

You can’t know even begin to imagine how hard it is for me to keep my mouth shut especially when it’s chocked full of juicy goodness. As for my Snarky Facebook, well it had to be completely nuked, like a Grade A thermal nuking of intergalactic proportions to cleanse the demons. This means I went from having well over 166,000 “likes” to zero. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. Seriously, with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms when I had 166,000 “likes” sometimes it would show that only 30 people saw a post. That said, with my new book coming out in January I would LOVE to get the word out that folks need to “relike” my page to get their daily dose of Snarky. So, if you would be so kind as to relike my page, share what I post, and spread the word via social media that  Snarky is back I will be forever in your debt.

And as for that story I’m not allowed to share yet, well, here’s a little clue because I can’t help myself. Three words: mom blogger envy.

Yeah, you read that right. Stay tuned, my friends, stay tuned.

For sharing purposes here are my social media links.

Snarky Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/qgbrkdl

Snarky Twitter: https://twitter.com/snarkynsuburbs

Thanks and Snark On!

Ache Free

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Last week, I got a bruising social media beat down and not by discussing politics or religion. Oh no, this was a subject infinitely more volatile: motherhood. All it took was two words, one syllable each, to cause a firestorm.

A friend from back in the day had linked to a post a woman had written about her kids getting older and how she ached, painfully — desperately ached — for the days when they were babies. So, as you can guess, many moms were writing ooey gooey prose in the comment bar on Facebook about how they also ached for those baby days. The smells, the smiles, the spit up.

I, on the other hand, wrote my two words. Ache free.

Well, well, well, say hello to a blistering rebuttal of mom hate. Those two words give birth to a firestorm of comments on how I must suck at being a mother because I don’t ache to climb into a maternal time machine and re-live sleep deprivation and sore nipples.

At first, I was all “Holy crap” at the outrage and then I thought to myself let’s do this! Let’s really mix it up! They want ache. I’ll give them an ache right in the old backside. My first course of action was do what I would call a social media airstrike. One ridiculously, outrageous comment to take down (tick off) many. So I posted this: “Maybe I’m not aching because I’m proud of my children and parenting skills and don’t feel the need to go back in time to correct my mistakes.” Talk about a direct hit! The fallout was nuclear winter in it’s intensity. The angry, the hostility, the rage!

Then I went into sniper mode and one by one took aim at the most pompous targets. The most delicious was tweaking the “friend” that posted the ache link. You would have thought she was still clutching her now teenage children to her breast in an XL, steel reinforced, Baby Bjorn. Oh, how she went on and on about the halcyon baby days with her “precious munchkins.”

I have no problem with that. Every mother should look back fondly at those times. What did irk me was that she led the charge in leveling mom hate towards me when all I did was post – ache free. This woman called me a “baby hater” and then went all stabby with the statement that by being ache free I was a bad mother AND she felt “sorry for my children.”

Really? She felt sorry for my children because I don’t want them back in diapers. And this was from a women who had a skill, no, make that a talent, for foistering her children off on other mothers. She’s the one who would invite her child over to your house for a playdate and then forget to pick them up for 24 hours. That’s why I had zero problems with posting this:  “@dmj I get why you’re aching. It’s probably guilt festering from 1999 when you petitioned the church to change their mother’s day out rules to accept babies at younger than six weeks so you could have more ‘me’ time.”

That’s right. I wrote that. Yes, it’s horrible but factual and I was thinking of the greater good. Someone needed to call these women out on their mom on mom hate campaign even if it was me adding lighter fluid to whole hot mess. This is what I don’t get – we’re all on this journey together so why do mothers feel the need to keep a constant vigil scanning the horizon for any chance to bring another mother down? Are we that insecure? I sure hope not.

Oh, and do you want to know why I typed ache free? It’s because as the mother of two teenagers every so often, I, get the briefest of glimpses, of what my children might be like as adults and it’s thrilling. More exciting than when they started sleeping through the night or took those first wobbly steps. These nano second glances into their future makes me not only ache free but joyous for what they might someday offer the world.

cover_1.3-2 *Attention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Decoding The Gratitude Posts

1385804_646492132039328_467233133_nI used to like the month of November. It was a low pressure month. Sure, there’s the whole cooking a gargantuan meal that will take you two days to prepare and be consumed in under 15 minutes because a football game is starting but besides that your only really “must do” is help your kid’s clean out their Halloween candy baskets.

Now November has been ruined. It’s become the show off month. 30 days of “look at me, look at me” where the boastful pummel social media with a flurry of blustery prose disguised as gratitude posts. In an attempt to decipher what all this “gratitude” really means I’ve done extensive research analyzing these posts and have been able to discern through a complex matrix of psychological and environmental evaluations a code to help you translate what the gratitude poster is really saying.

The “I am thankful for such a loving and supportive spouse”: The spouse post usually kicks off the gratitude season and you can expect to see at least five spousal related posts in November – each one getting mushier and/or making the reader feel more uncomfortable as the month progresses. The serial “I love my spouse” poster is usually motivated by one of three emotions or a combination there of 1) He/She is having conflicted feelings about the old ball and chain and hopes that the act of proclaiming how much they love their spouse just might make it so. 2) He/She feels guilty about something related to the marriage and uses the gratitude posts as a way to minimize their shame. In the scientific community we call this the “eraser effect” and find the more heinous the spousal guilt the more lovey dovey the posts as if the person is attempting to expunge their marital malfeasance by an inordinate amount of Facebook/Twitter hugs and kisses. 3) He/She is married to a self-esteemed challenged individual and to keep crying jags and pharmaceutical usage to a minimum must constantly be cooing and wooing their lesser half on the social media stage.

The Hallelujah poster:  The repeat “I love Jesus” gratituder is trying to let us all know that they not only attend church, but are leaders of at least two bible studies, co-teachers of Sunday morning worship lessons, sing in the choir, and are a guiding member of the Spiritual Formation Committee. What they don’t want you to know is that they have a “Shades of Gray” level crush on their minister, work the sanctuary like a Walmart greeter because they need to up their Arbonne sales figures and use church as a socially acceptable way to escape their family.

The “I love my family” gusher:  This continuous stream of familial praise is often a disguise for less than stellar happenings on the home front. In fact, our research shows that the more grandiose the gratitudish compliments, specifically pertaining to teenage sons and daughters, the more likely the chance that child has recently been suspended from school or has a court appearance in their near future.  Any use of a “click here if you love your son or daughter” post on Facebook increases the likely hood of an impending court date to 95%.

The Traveloguer: This poster uses November as an opportunity to share their vacation pictures (again) on social media. The gratitude posts usually go something like this: “I am so grateful for my family’s opportunity to see the world and experience different cultures.” No matter that they went to Disneyworld because there’s Epcot and that counts – right? Each day is a new thankful vacay ditty accompanied by no less than four pictures. A psychological profile of this type of poster reveals a deep-seated need to justify the cost of their vacation by forcing themselves and “friends” to re-live the “good times” every month.

The “I’m Rich in So Many Ways” list maker:  This gratitude post is really a list better suited to share with an insurance company and/or police department in case of a robbery or home invasion. The poster with methodical precision takes you on a tour of their possessions from their 7,500 square foot Mediterranean style home complete with wine cellar to their “I am so thankful for my amazing closet with a Swarovski crystal chandelier and designer handbag cubbies.” What the poster is really grateful for is that the bank has given the family one more month to get up to date on their mortgage. The poster is also honing his/her skills writing product descriptions just in case an Ebay auction of a “few non-essential personal items” is needed.

The Selfie: Beware of this gratituder. Research shows the Selfie possesses an attitude disorder called “Oversharing Dysmorphia” or in layman’s terms “I’m 45 but still hot. Here are the pictures to prove it.” This disorder is known to affect both the male and female of the species. It usually manifests itself in a series of selfies accompanied by a compliment lamely disguised as a gratitude post as in, “I am soooo thankful for my trainer because he helped me get this amazing set of 6 pack abs! oxoxoxo” Mental health care professionals advise that you delete or hide the “Selfie” during November in order to minimize your own anger management issues.

The All in One:  Slowly back away from your computer screen, tablet or smart phone if you encounter the All in One. They are armed and dangerous and have been known to inflict brutal pain and suffering to your visual cortex and are so infused with their own B.S. and deeply hidden (like core of the earth deep) self loathing they could implode at any moment. The All in One is the gratitude poster who has the gift of employing all six aforementioned poster traits in one status update as in – “I am beyond grateful for the eternal blessings of the Lord who daily smiles on me and my wonderful, handsome, triathlete husband who is such an awesome 7 figure provider for our family. Everyday I give thanks for our gated community of million dollar plus homes and my amazing twins who have attended four different private Christian high schools and now are doing mission work by enrolling in the local public alternative school. I rejoice and give glory to my maker and trainer (LOL) that at age 46 I still get mistaken for 25. If you don’t believe me here’s a vacation photo from our summer home in Hawaii. P.S. So not photoshopped. #nofilter. Is God good or what?”

Now that you’re armed with this scientific data go forth and enjoy the November cornucopia of social media and be grateful for your new found skills of deciphering the gratitude code.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.