My friend Heidi just remarked on Facebook: “You know you’re old when you don’t mind “friending” your own mother.” Tru dat.
Could you ever have imagined, back when you were smuggling Pink Champale into your bedroom in your schoolbag and doing Lord knows what in the bathroom at Danceteria (or your local version thereof), that you would someday have so piss little left to hide? That someone’s mother might be granted access to a forum that wasn’t carefully edited and sanitized for her consumption, one in which she could not only see what you’re up to but also what your “friends”–including that guy in college who was known campus-wide for spitting into his tumbler after brushing his teeth and drinking it–were up to? (For those of you not on Facebook, a “friend” of yours can see many of your interactions with others of your friends, even if she doesn’t know them.)
Some would call that a sign of maturity. I think it means you’re a straight-up Formerly.
One of the inestimable benefits of being a Formerly is that you are less beholden to others’ standards of comportment. Clearly, if you are still doing anything your mom would take issue with, and you’reÂ posting about it on Facebook, you’re either subconsciously hoping she’ll stroke out on reading it or you’re long past worrying about what she thinks.
But I think most of us “friending” our moms are doing it because at some point they stopped beingÂ quite the Other they once were. Just as my young nephews and nieces have recently started to clam up when I enter a room (I’m cool for a grown-up and all, but I’m still “one of them,” with all the narc potential that implies), inviting one’s mom to join the conversation doesn’t seem that insane anymore.
My mom was my friend on Facebook until she had trouble logging on, declared the whole thing a ridiculous, frustrating waste of time, and closed her account. She obviously didn’t appreciate the bonding opportunity inherent in learning that her beloved daughter is Courtney Love in the “Which Crazy Bitch Are You?” quiz, or to discover which five albums I found most life-altering. That’s OK. I’m not hurt. I don’t need to be her friend, either. I have my mother-in-law, after all.
(Meanwhile, I’m hiding all kinds of stuff from my children because I don’t want them to know I eat more candy than I would ever allow them to have, watch way more TV and secretly take their gummy vitamins. I’m allowed. I’m the grown-up.)
What do you think? Sadie, a writer on Jezebel, an incredibly on-it blog aimed at not-yet-Formerlies, said in her posting on oldsters on Facebook that younger adults don’t want their moms on Facebook because they have a one version that they show their parents, and another for the Internet universe. I guess you go from young adult to adult–or Formerly–when you’ve got just one version, and it’s rated P for Parent?
So here’s my question: Do any of you still have anything you are hiding from your parents? Not something they simply don’t happen to know about, but something that you are deliberately keeping from her? If you can, TELL!
Photo by Christopher Angell CC
April 20, 2009 at 8:06 pm
My mother doesn’t know about my tattoos. Not worth the drama.
April 20, 2009 at 9:42 pm
I was kinda relieved when my parents lost the ability to access my blog about my wife’s cancer, and they didn’t seem to be able to regain it. There’s something comforting about being able to control the flow of info to one’s parents, even when one is 41.
In other news, my 11-year-old Aviva is FB friends with me about 10% of the time, depending on my status update. She’ll be my friend when my status is not embarassing, cuz, y’know, her friends can see my status when they view her list of friends. I’m on her good side at the moment, but I’ll need to be careful.
April 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm
I have ignored the friend requests from my son, and the children of my friends. I have allowed my former students who are in their late 20’s to be my “friend”, but they still have to call me Ms._______(last name). I figure since I have seen them at parties and at the bar, I can give them a pass. We spent 6 hours a day together for 180 days and in some cases more than 1 year.. They already know who they are dealing with.
I wont allow my colleagues to be my friends, although I have been guilty of searching their names and looking on their unprotected pages.
April 20, 2009 at 11:13 pm
The moderator lady wanted me to clarify my previous post.
When Aviva first joined FB, I sent her a friend request, and she accepted. But then she defaced me a few days later when I had an “embarassing” status update. Ever since then, we’ve had an on-again, off-again FB friendship, where we go through a cycle of friend request by me, acceptance by her, maybe, and then being defaced a few days later.
April 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm
It was a bit awkward to get the friend request from my mom- I couldn’t very well NOT befriend her. And then her sisters and some cousins, etc. etc. I had to put them on a special list that can’t see that my relationship status is not just “married” but “in an open relationship.” If I want to post a status update regarding that I reference it vaguely via 90’s pop culture references. If she goes and google them it’s their own damn fault. 🙂
April 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm
When after a hard day my friends still leave fb comments like, “roll yourself a fattie,” I am relieved that my kids refuse to friend me.
April 23, 2009 at 7:23 am
A REAL sign of being a formerly is when your 15-year-old daughter tells you not to even THINK about friending her, not-on-your-life, are-you-insane???
April 24, 2009 at 9:38 am
I love having my friends’ moms as my Facebook friends. I can totally count on them for a kind or helpful comment anytime. Complain about my weight? “You were really too thin before, dear.” Going to the beach? “Wear SPF 50!” And they never laugh at your old pictures–just insist how cute you were in your plaid pants and Donny and Marie T-shirt. They’re the best!
April 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm
I don’t tell my mom anything I don’t have to, on therapist advice. She is way too negative and judgemental, so it’s not worth the drama. To her, I’m still an irresponsible 16 year old. Mind you, I was extremely rebellious! Unfortunately, that’s the image that stuck.
There’s no issue about FB, since my mom has no idea what to do with computers. much less the net.