I am proud of my kids’ accomplishments and like to post about them on social media. I have recently gotten flack about that from someone close to me who considers it to be self-aggrandizing and, apparently, distasteful. What do you think about it? Should I stop posting?
Since you call yourself a fanatic, I’m gonna assume that you don’t just like posting about your kids’ accomplishments, maybe you love it? To a large extent this is a matter of taste, and my taste leans toward silence. Do you want to be one of those parents? I know you are proud, but it’s a slippery slope.
In my unprofessional opinion, I would say a little goes a loooooong way. When you feel the urge to sing your children’s praises, call your mom, your sister or your close friend, but Facebook posts and huge lawn signs saying, “Congratulations, Maddie!” are too too, at least for me. Our kids haven’t cured cancer, they’ve just won a debate tournament. Good on them! Does the whole world have to know?
We named our cat Ginsburg, since, when I got her, the whole family was enamored of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and all she had done for women’s rights. I’m sure you know where this is going! Now, I see RBG in a totally different light – someone whose ego prevented her from stepping down during a Democratic administration and single-handedly helped overturn Roe.
Oh, the irony! But back to my cat. Can I change her name?
Personally, I don’t think it’s right to change a pet’s name after she’s gotten used to hearing it come out of her beloved person’s mouth for her entire life. However, why not reframe the situation? Ruth Bader isn’t the only Ginsburg in town! There are a long list of accomplished Ginsburgs, Ginsbergs, and Ginzburgs, including, of course, the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, the American gymnast Brian Ginsberg, and the lead researcher in a team that developed the first videotape recorders, Charles Ginsburg (who knew?). Gotta love Google.
So, don’t think of it as honoring someone you no longer find honorable, think of it as drawing attention to an otherwise unsung hero, like Lithuanian-born American Isaac Ginsburg, who was an influential ichthyologist.
Look it up! I had to.
One of my childhood friends, who still lives in the city where we grew up, asked me and my family to rent a vacation house with her and her family next summer. The problem is, my kids don’t exactly love her (she’s got a sharp tongue, which I also struggle with). And, while they like her kids, they don’t have a lot in common with them. In fact, zero. Nevertheless, given our very longstanding friendship (40+ years) I feel bad about rejecting her offer. What should I do?
If I could wave a magic wand and single handedly get rid of one useless, destructive feeling, it would be guilt. And I would happily send it into fiery hell to burn for all of eternity. Be gone!
I don’t think you should take your friend up on her offer, despite your 40+ years of friendship. Just because you’ve been friends for a long time does not guarantee a fun fortnight under one roof. As any family will tell you, living under one roof can be harrowing at best, and dig-your-own-eyes-out-with-a-mellon-baller at not best (don’t ask me about “worst” because I don’t think the editors would print it!).
You are under no obligation to say yes, just because she asked. You should just tell her that you have already made summer plans. If you prefer to take the direct route, you could say, “None of us like you and we really don’t want to go.”
Lots of options. But remember, life is short and the more soul-sucking time you spend with people who squeeze every ounce of happiness out of you like the old bathing suit wringer at the Y, the more you’ve betrayed the person who matters most: you.
You have Gabby’s permission to quote the very, very misguided, mistaken, and uniquely beige Nancy Reagan, and just say no.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.