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Posted at 9:19 AM ET, 01/28/2011

Story pick: 'The Mommy-Fight Site'

By J. Freedom du Lac

Around the time my son was born a couple of years back, I found myself trolling the Internet in search of information about child-care options. My search led me to the D.C. Urban Moms and Dads message board, which, as I quickly discovered, was a rough-and-tumble place where anonymous commenters are always at each other's throats about their parenting practices and lifestyles. I thought it was a pretty ridiculous place, so I didn't stay long -- and I rarely went back, except to rubberneck.

Journalist Kathryn Masterson spent significantly more time on the site during a recent month of research for her first child, due in March -- and also for an excellent City Paper story about the absurdities of the site, on which people's positions in life are a frequent source of debate and ridicule. As the story's subhed says: "Welcome to the D.C. Urban Moms message board. And by the way, your kid's stroller sucks."

Writes Masterson: "Flame wars are common wherever the Internet grants people anonymity, but the fights on DCUM have a uniquely Washington flavor to them. With all that ambient worry about where we live, how much money we make, and how gifted our children are, it’s a place to ponder what it means to raise a child in America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area. DCUM might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis."

It's a great read -- a wonderful bit of journalism as anthropology. And and it turns out, it's inspired some of the same sort of commentary that makes D.C. Urban Moms and Dads such a wild place, with a near-riot erupting in the story's comments section.

By J. Freedom du Lac  | January 28, 2011; 9:19 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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Comments

Thanks for covering the City Paper story. It captured the absurdity of over-parenting nicely. The best part was that Masterson included the original, best, and funniest critique of DCUM and the whole idea that parenting can be done perfectly at all, the Adequate Parent. She started out as a poster on DCUM and became the AdequateParenting website/blog that Masterson cites and links to in the story.

Posted by: Dave80 | January 28, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

'Rough and tumble' does not begin to describe the quantity and quality of vitriol present on the DCUM bulletin board. That is one angry bunch of folks (I say folks because I'm supposed to act like I think there are more than 3 men posting there, but really? It's dang near all women....) Where was I - Oh yes -- I don't understand how you could fail to note the sharp and frequently profane musings of Adequate Parent. She is the hero of anti-helicopter parenting and the enemy of pompous Washingtonian self-regard everywhere it rears its poorly coiffed, overeducated head.

Posted by: lorikay4 | January 28, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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