The funny thing about parenting is ….that shock, horror, parents post pictures of their children online.
I read a piece recently in the Irish Times. It actually didn’t have any purpose, any opinions so to speak except for being a little vent about all the latest photos of kids online.
But hey, what would I know. I am one of those mothers that posts pictures of my child on Instagram, on Facebook and on Twitter. And I surely must be doing this to just show off as I must not mention the bad times.
This actually couldn’t be further from the truth.
I did not post my pregnancy news on Facebook. Very few people knew I was pregnant. This was probably down to the fact that subconsciously I was afraid of people being ‘judgey’ and by that I mean as in ‘oh look at her posting her pregnancy news, now all we’re going to hear about is the baby this and baby that’. Interestingly enough, when I eventually posted a photo of myself and the hubby posing beside a pram-it actually got more likes and comments than even my wedding photos. With that came ‘where are the baby pictures and why didn’t you post pictures of your bump?!’. I lived in London at the time and family were kept up to date via various means of communication-from FaceTime to album sharing. It was only when Paige was 7 months old that I realised that there was this huge community online that I knew nothing about and probably could’ve utilised when I was on maternity leave. It was also 3 days before I returned to work that I posted an actual picture of Paige on my Facebook. One where everyone could see her cute little face and hairless head. Since then, I have gone on to post hundreds(and I mean hundreds) of pictures of her on Instagram and not so many hundreds on Facebook. But the reality is, my pictures of me apparently boasting on Facebook receive many, many more likes than me tagging into Coppers (one time people, one time!). Surely I can’t be the only one who looks at my Facebook Staus Bar thinking really?! What am I meant to say?!
If you’ve been on Facebook for X amount of years, you’ve probably checked into tonnes of places and in reality now you’re just sat at home watching X Factor on a Saturday night. I think the reality is that as we grow older, we evolve and yeap, that means people start having babies and they pretty much consume all their time. I also think we kind of get fed up checking into places as we’ve probably been there already.
Within my friends group on Facebook, the majority are settling down, getting married, buying houses and along come the little sprogs who manage to get more likes out of us rather than us being absolutely twisted in a bar. Who knew? (Aren’t we all secretly cringing at the absolute state of us all back in 2005/2006 and so on when we took pictures on a digital camera🙈).
This leads nicely to the whole thing of embarrassing our children. Really? I think we embarrassed ourselves hideously when digital cameras and iPhones and any phone with a camera came out. Our generation invented the selfie for christs sake-so with any luck our children will look at that and think-god you embarrassed yourselves way more than the pictures you took of me😂
I look at my postings on Instagrams as memories that one day Paige will be able to look through and go ‘wow, you truly love me’ and with that I mean through everything. Through the tantrums, through the sickness and through the blissful moments. My aim is to chart her growth, her inner beauty and her wonderment of the world around her-from pointing at stars to getting acquainted with the sea and sand. I want to capture everything that I can. Working full-time means that from time to time, I do miss precious ‘firsts’ so to speak, but I try to be around to capture everything I can. I want to have memories that she will eventually be able to look upon and for her to show her children, her friends, partners, family later on down the line.
I love looking back at albums that my parents have stowed away, but now it’s so much easier. I am also terrible at printing out photos and usually upload and empty pictures from my phone every month, so having this ability to go online and remember a picture by looking at the date and remembering why I posted it is special. I’m not asking people to like them. I really couldn’t care less whether they like it or not, just unfollow me or unfriend me.
I’ve unfollowed people for posting the same stuff day in day out, I don’t have to like their posts. I am still friends with them, I’ve just unfollowed them. I’ve also seen people repeatedly post stuff that they have no idea about. At least we’re not posting cryptic messages saying how much someone has annoyed us, but won’t say who or why!?!
I’ve also made some amazing friends online all through the power of our mutual adoration of our children and we’ve all been their to handhold if something isn’t quite right, if they’ve needed a vent or even just needed to see if something is normal. The power of this has been amazing. To know that you’re not alone, as sometimes parenting can be so isolating- as you do tend to lose touch with some friends- because we may not want to always air our frustrations with potty training or how our child is tantrumming because they wanted ‘something nice’ but everything you gave them was not ‘nice’ is a huge relief.
Instagram and Facebook, and for those that I follow is a huge support. It’s an amazing network of parents who want to help each other – don’t get me wrong, there are a few out there who will bash other parents for doing something wrong or will say everything in their lives is perfect – but I choose not to follow them, for my own sanity.
I suppose this whole idea of oversharing works both ways, and no matter which way you look at it, we all move on. We will always lose friends as time goes on. We are all growing up in the world of social media, and if someone wants to unfollow me for posting pictures of my child because they don’t want to see her, that’s fine, it doesn’t bother me. Just like I don’t really have time to go out that much anymore now that I’ve bought a house, and have a child to look after. That’s evolution. We’re all slowly growing up and our priorities change and thus our outlook on life and what’s important to us changes. And is posting pictures of our child on Facebook or Instagram really any different to posting a selfie or a picture of our OOTD or dog any different?
I don’t think so. We post what we care about most, and what makes us smile each day. Surely that’s all that matters.