This is the first blog that I have started and stopped writing so many times in my head I can't count because I am like actually worried about offending someone. This is such a personal thing, sharing your children. Choosing how much of them to share and why. That's up to the parents and really it is not my business what anyone decides to do as long as you can sleep at night. I am not here to throw stones because Lord knows my house is made of single pane.
Disclaimer: LONG WINDED POST AHEAD...
Maybe you don't care or haven't noticed but, I never post pictures with my baby's face showing, or in just a diaper, or shirtless, or naked on my social media accounts that are public. I have pretty strict rules with what to put out there for perceivably anyone to see. I have really been thinking a lot about this topic lately because a mom not much different than me, got her Instagram account closed for posting photos of her daughter that were deemed "inappropriate." They didn't specifically tell her what photos were reported, but she narrowed it down to one of her toddler in shorts and I tank, lifting her shirt to almost her chin, and gazing at her belly. Was it "inappropriate" idk, but I wouldn't have reported it. Someone felt the need to, and it really gets my mind racing.
The way that we look at our children, adore their innocence, think that everything they say and do is so funny, is not the way they are received into the world. They are met with harsh judgement and to be honest there are some sick fucking people behind these phone/tablet/computer screens. That second part probably comes from us watching way too much Criminal Minds, which is also the reason I call my daughter pet names in public so that a stranger couldn't call to her and kidnap her. I know! Some of it is over the top but we worry that's what we do!
So, why do we just put everything they do out there for everyone to see? To judge us? To judge them? I know it happens because I am a big fucking culprit. What a clean house...what a messy house...holy shit so many toys...did they not see their kid's diaper was full before they snapped the pic...that's not a very flattering angle....that just doesn't seem age appropriate...hmmm...interesting. We all do it, don't leave me hanging here.
When Miss E was born we waited almost a month to post a photo of her on social media. Now, there were a few reasons for this:
1. My sisters live out of the state and I wanted them,and the rest of the family to "meet" her in person, not on social media.
2. I am NOT the type of person the put up my swollen face, baby covered in birthday frosting, ugly cry photos, and threats were made in the delivery room to insure my wishes were respected. (I commend women who are brave enough to share and have seen some gorgeously tasteful images)
3. It's so PERSONAL in the beginning, this adventure and joy belonged to my husband and I and we selfishly wanted to keep her guarded. So many of those first moments are so, so precious, why would you want prying eyes sneaking a peek? We wanted to live in our bubble for a while, I told next to no one when I went into labor, and I sent a family text when I got to my comfy hospital room like "surprise bitches, a baby happened", - I still get shit for this...
PERSONALLY I don't like to over share on media platforms that are "public", and I won't show her face. My husband and I had a long discussion about this before the baby was born, about how we wanted this to be handled on our private channels. Which, that's a whole other thing, is anything truly private? Are we really in complete control of who is seeing what we share?
Anyways, I strongly recommend talking to your significant other about this and getting on the same page because it isn't something that isn't going away and lines need to be drawn. Here are the rules we have:
1. Photos of the baby are only allowed to be posted by him or I.
2. No photos would be allowed to be posted by friends or family, which did result in some awkward conversations in the beginning, especially family who just wanted to share in our joy and show off the new addition. Now, it is a non-issue no one really gets upset. Most of our family and friends know that we have this rule and will occasionally ask if the can post some photo of our little cutie, to which we politely decline. I have asked people to take photos down of her as well. eek!
If you want to do the same with your little, you have to stand your ground from birth, "we want to be in complete control of her social media exposure, I'm sorry, thank you for sharing that photo with us though it really is adorable."
*rule number 2 is very important to stick to because if we say yes to one person then everyone will ask and use it as leverage or the flood gates would just open. (I am not so vain to think people just CONSTANTLY want to post photos of m gorgeous child, I just know that it is an off the cuff, non-issue for most people and they do it just so frequently its the norm to post whoever and whatever they are doing.)
3. Photos to be posted need to be cleared with the other parent.
I am gonna be honest here, I really don't want pictures of my kids posted by whoever is babysitting them at the time covered in chocolate, with a full diaper, one shoe, and a snaggle too because "grandpa thought it was cute." No thank you.
I am weird about it, and I will continue to be weird about it to protect MY kid.
End rant. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what I say and I know I can just keep on scrolling or unfriend or hit it to the left if I don't want to see a million pictures of your kid. And you can give me the big X if you don't care for what I am saying. It is just a conversation worth having, because the social media obsession and exposure it only going to grow. We can't even begin to imagine what the effects will be on out kids down the line because we didn't grow up with it this prominent. Think about these kids that are infamous "memes".
Let's look at it this way, would you like there to be public, documentation of every stage of your life, good, bad, awkward, or ugly, immortalized online forever. I for one am glad this whole craze didn't really come into my life until like the end of highschool, and the reel that is out there is from those few years and shows up on my time hop makes me cringe and want to climb under a table. Because, once it is out there it is out there. I don't know if it is completely fair for us to make this decision for our children. I just don't know what the answer is. I mean there is s teen SUING her parents for not giving her a choice. Suing her own fucking parents. If that doesn't make you pause and think I don't know what will. PERSONAL image and online presence should be decided by you right? Shouldn't our kids some sort of chance to create themselves without the loom of their every waking move since birth already there for the world to see on social media?
I want to share this amazing experience we call motherhood with my sister mommas, with dads, who aunties, with whoever will scroll and listen. But, there is a cost and I wont exploit my kid to gain popularity.
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You guys, the other day I was so jacked to start my bullet journal. I almost went to Walgreens for materials at like 8:30 at night, but decided to contain myself and wait until the following day and take my time scowering the shelves at office depot filled with, washi tape and felt tip pen yummy goodness! Great decision by me.
Now, while I was there I couldn't find the notebooks with grid paper, which I needed because I wanted to be very methodical about my sectioning and page dividing. So, I searched around for probably too long, the baby had thrown enough things on the floor and was clutching an address book she decided to claim (btw, who the fuck is still buying address books?), and I thought it was best to ask for help. I find an employee, she looked to me to be in her 50s, I don't know if that is relevant you tell me when you hear the whole story. I told her what I was looking for and promptly showed me where to find this OCD journalist's dream notebook and then she said something that for some reason pissed off. I haven't been able to shake it. There were 2 color options and she said "Is it for a boy or a girl?."
I have to assume that at this point she thinks that I am buying this notebook for an older child who is not featured on this episode of "how to survive office depot with a toddler." Um, why does that matter? If I (or said imaginary child) had a penis would I (he) be physically incapable of writing in a hot pink notebook? Would my vagina fall off if I chose the blue one? Where does this crap come from? It popped back in my head today because on GMA they were discussing the new commercial with one of the William's sisters where words flash on the screen and the word female disappears and replace by "greatest athlete of all time" (or something like that). I see this commercial and I am naturally like "yes bitch, woorrrrrkkkk." But, now that I have a daughter I think a little more into it. Like, why is this such a big deal? Why do we still have to get these "wins"? Why does she have to chose the pink notebook? Why does everyone ask if I dress her in tutus or put headbands on her?
Let me step back for one second, I am a HBBQ, as my friend Jena Sims so affectionally calls us. Has. Been. Beauty. Queen. SO, some of these questions would so happen to come with the territory: the former strutter of swimsuits and evening gowns in heels territory. When I found out that I was having a girl I think people expected me to shoot out a rock step rocking, runway twirling, glitter covered, perfect pretty little princess. I can count the times that I have put her in a tutu on one hand. Most of the toys and big tickets items that we own for her that are gender specific I did not buy. Listen I love Cinderella, Aurora and Snow as much as the next 90s kid but I don't want my kid thinking this shit is reality.
I don't want to raise a "girly-girl" or even a "tom-boy" for that matter. I want my kid to be herself! If that means eating sand and smashing her face twice in one week playing rough fine! If that means mimicking me putting on my make up and picking bows to put in her hair, also fine.
I had a conversation today with a mom of 6 girls. Count em SIX. All fucking girls. She told me, all but one of her girls chose to marry a man from an ALL boy family? Why? "My girls were just people, they learned to be people. They can cook AND mow the lawn." I would have to assume the same went for all of the chosen husbands. This really struck a cord with me. If you don't have a direct gender comparison what would happen? You do it all. You are just a people and you learn to do it all, I just want my kids to be PEOPLE. Boys can have dolls and girls can play with trucks.
Get out of their way! They don't know any better they are allowed to have varied interests. Unless you tell them pink is for girls or blue is for boys, guess what? They don't know!!! What you do with your own kids is none of my business, but when you see my bad ass baby girl in your son's jujitsu class. Keep you fucking mouth shut.
Because, I know some bad ass lesbians that will kick your ass:)
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.