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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Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.