How To Deal With Your Mom On Facebook

Dear Kelsey,

My mom won't stop commenting on my Facebook posts. Every. Single. Post. How can I make her stop without hurting her feelings?

Sincerely,
EVERY DAMN POST
Dear EVERY,

Here's the shortcut: Put her on a restricted list, and she won't see anything you don't want her to see. Done.

Well. Kind of. Not really, actually.

The thing about shortcuts is they usually come back to bite you in the ass. Yes, you could technically just block your mom, but if she's this good at leaving comments, I'm guessing she's even better at asking questions. "Where'd you go?" "Why no posts this week?" "Your sister told me you dressed as Sexy Hamilton for a Halloween party, but I didn't see it! Was it cute?!"

Then, of course, there's Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and all the other places your mom can jump in and comment on your social life. "Oh, she doesn't do Twitter," you tell me. And to that I say, "But she will." Unless you go on a social-media blackout, your mom will always find a way to find you.

Do you remember that children's book, The Runaway Bunny? It's about a baby rabbit who wants to run away, claiming he will transform into a bird or a ship or a crocus in order to escape his mother. But, no dice:

"If you become a crocus in a hidden garden," said his mother, "I will become a gardener and I will find you."

"If you become a gardener," said the little bunny, "I will become a bird and fly away from you."

"If you become a bird and fly away from me," said his mother. "I will be a tree that you come home to."

The little bunny doesn't have any real reason to run away. His mom isn't pressuring him to get better math grades or nagging him about his eyebrow piercing. This is just what bunnies do when they reach a certain age. And mother bunnies will bend the very laws of physics in order to find their children, because that's just what they do. So, rest assured, wherever you are on the internet, your mom will find the comments section.

"Shucks," concludes the little bunny. "I might just as well stay where I am, and be your little bunny."
It'd be nice if there were a sequel to this book for adult children (something like The Runaway Bunny & The Healthy Boundaries), because I don't have such sweet prose to quote for what comes next. You'll always be your mother's child, but you're also a grown-ass bunny at this point. If you really want your mom to ease up, it's time to have the boundaries talk.

First and foremost, don't come to her all worked up and irritated. You'll come off like a grousing teenager, and that'll get you nowhere. Think about all the times you've made social faux pas and how much better it was when someone corrected you with grace and empathy (versus anger or mockery). Tell her you like being connected with her on Facebook and it's nice that you can share in each other's daily lives so easily (if that's at all true), but that all the comments make you a little self-conscious. Would she mind maybe holding back a little? Or just texting you privately sometimes?

Real talk: She's gonna see through this. Bottom line is, you're telling her to butt out, and I'm sorry to say that you may indeed hurt her feelings. And I promise you, it will not be the first time. You have hurt your mother's feelings three- to four-bajillion times in your life, sometimes subconsciously and other times on purpose. (You don't remember when you were a 3-year-old asshole, but she does, and she loved you anyway.) She may get upset, but on some level, I bet she'll recognize that you are trying to be kind. She'll also understand that of course there are things you'd rather your mom didn't see. That won't obliterate the hurt and embarrassment she may express to you, but if you act with love, then at least you'll know you did your best. And hopefully, she'll know she raised a person who thinks about other people's feelings.

On the other hand, you could just live with it. There are, after all, far worse things than being pestered by a steady stream of well-meaning comments from your mom. I'm not assuming she's perfect or even a good mom. But you clearly like her enough to worry about hurting her feelings, and that says something about your relationship.

People have been putting up with overactive mothering ever since there were mothers. Not to play the guilt card, but you're pretty darn lucky to have a mom who loves you enough to care about what you wore for Halloween or how badly they misspelled your name at Starbucks.

Ultimately, she just wants to be in your life. You're an adult now, but you'll be her little bunny, always. It might be easier to simply stop running away.

Sincerely,
Kelsey
Welcome to Unprofessional Advice: a column to help you handle problems of all kinds. With zero professional experience and a complete lack of credentials, I will take on your issues with compassion and humor (and I'll keep it anonymous, obvs). Got a question? Email me: unprofessionaladvice@refinery29.com.

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