And here I was, ready to post a few choice vacation photos starring our adorable (of course) toddler, when I checked back into the news world (it is my job, after all) and saw all the stories about unbaby.me.
Unbaby.me, in case you have not already downloaded this Google Chrome extension for your Facebook page, is a technological tool that, according to it’s tagline, “deletes babies from your newsfeed permanently – by replacing them with awesome stuff.”
Yes, if all those baby shots from your once-cool, now goo-goo-ga-ga-ing friends are gumming up your page (all the scrolling you must do to find the droll commentary on life or witty observations on current events), you have recourse. Now, rather than snapshots of your nephew’s first birthday party, or your college roommate’s kid at the beach, or your colleague’s daughter jumping rope, you will see a professional photo of a dog. Or a race car. Or a manatee. Maybe a plate of bacon. Something “awesome.”
“Rejoice,” is how unbaby.me puts it on its website. “Now you don’t have to look at all your friends’ annoying kids.”
Move over Mommy Wars. Bring on the Parent-Versus-Non-Parent Smack Down.
Unbaby.me, it appears, has hit a nerve. As of this morning it had garnered nearly 70,000 Facebook “likes” on its webpage. The New York Times reported last week that it had already been download 19,000 times.
Along with protests over baby-friendly happy hours at pubs, shouts of joy for restrictions on kids on airplanes and restaurants, and the popularity of movies such the recent “Friends with Kids,” it’s clear there’s a new social divide in the country. On one side are urban-living, 20- and 30-somethings who are consciously childless. They tend to see kids as generally annoying, a sign of “settling down,” and a huge damper on their once-exciting friends' lives. (Ah, the inconvenience of dealing with other people’s needs. It’s true. Husband and I feel this every night we’d really prefer to go out for dinner.)
On the other hand are the parents, who, the anti-kid faction says, suddenly want the rest of the world to revolve around their little ones. High chairs at the local watering hole. Sippy cups at the hip new bistro. Stroller-friendly boutiques. Toddlers at museums. The madness.
And worst of all – these parents want to share.
As unbaby.me creater Chris Baker told The New York Times: “It’s like a certain part of the brain gets activated where they feel this crushing desire to share with the world their little creations.”
So ... do I post those vacation photos? I think so. Because, you know, I like seeing my friends’ kids on Facebook. This was true even before I had one of my own. I like it because I care about my friends’ lives and enjoy getting a glimpse – even a shallow Facebook glimpse – of what’s important to them. And clearly, children are important to them; far more than I ever realized.
So I’m hoping some of them feel the same. And for the rest of them, well, Baby M can now simply appear as a manatee. She won't mind. Promise.