By: Mary Fran Bontempo

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davidtoysThank you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Equally lauded as the best thing since ice cream and reviled as the downfall of civilization, Facebook, Zuckerberg’s contribution to society, inspires nothing if not intense emotion, which is weird since Zuckerberg himself kind of looks and acts like an animatronic Disney robot.

I’ve mostly landed on the “Facebook is evil” side of the fence, until recently, when I came to embrace FB and its founder for the gift it offers mothers—namely, the ability to embarrass, mortify and shame our offspring.

As every mother knows, it’s part of our job to embarrass our children. It doesn’t start out that way; at first, they love everything about us. Then come the double digits, when the mere thought of being seen with us sends them ducking for cover and our every utterance is more fodder for their mortification.

A mother’s first reaction is confusion. When did we become pariahs to our own kids? Then we’re annoyed—it’s okay for us to spend our lives handing them money and driving them around everywhere, but God forbid we speak to them in public. Finally, in a demented kind of payback, it devolves into mothers actively looking for opportunities to embarrass their kids—kissing them goodbye outside of school, singing in the car while driving them somewhere with their friends, calling them on their cell phones when they’re on a date….

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Facebook has afforded me the opportunity to continue harassing my kids at a distance, especially my son, who richly deserves it for what he’s put me through, and I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying it.

Last week, while putting some mail in David’s room, I looked at his neatly made bed. Then I looked at the Bert and Ernie dolls, along with the Dapper Dan doll that taught him how to zip his pants, leaning against his red soccer ball pillow. How cute, I thought, he has all of his dolls lined up on his bed. Then I thought, wait, isn’t David 28?

And THEN I thought, ooohhhh, this is too perfect. Smart phone out, picture snapped, caption written, posted on Facebook. I waited for Facebook to work its magic, which it did, in approximately seven minutes.

David was indeed mortified, while his co-workers were delighted to have an opportunity to tease him without mercy. I, for my part, chalked the whole thing up to poetic justice; like I said, this kid put me through the wringer and payback’s a bitch.

It was all in good fun, though I’m sure I enjoyed it more than my son. But I’m equally sure he learned a universal truth: No matter your age, no matter the distance, your mother still has the means to embarrass you in an instant.

And if you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with Mark Zuckerberg.

Do you use Facebook to harass your kids? Click “comments” below and share!