Over the years I’ve become more and more private. My Facebook account, which I’ve had for well over a decade now, has grown sparse.
As soon as Instagram came around, I started posting photos of my oldest two children and photos of basically everything I did. As a stay-at-home mom at the time, it was all I could do to have social interactions and I made the most of it.
When I found out I was pregnant with my third, I kept it quiet for a while. I’d moved out of the city to lead a quiet life (which lasted all of a year) and mainly kept to myself. I’d undergone some significant life changes that I wanted to keep private, a novel idea in our share-all culture.
I hesitated to announce my pregnancy online and am certainly not one for gender-reveal posts or anything else Pinterest makes you feel is necessary for family life in the 21st century. No judgment; it’s just not my thing.
But there are photos of my baby online and they’re damn cute.
A few weeks ago, CharlotteFive writer and former editor, Corey Inscoe, wrote up a great article about why he’s not posting photos of his new daughter on social media and I have to admit I felt a little twinge of guilt when reading it.
“Holy sh*t,” I thought. “Am I doing my children a disservice by having posted photos of them in silly costumes and videos of them screaming, as I low-key torture them with bugs?”
Corey is right—what happens on the internet stays on the internet and for all we know these photos can follow them into their adult years.
Cautiously, I am beginning to accept that this is the new normal – that this is the world we live in now.
We are not a social media obsessed family by any means. My partner, Randy, has no social media (unless you consider the old Tumblr account he used to use) and my children are not allowed to have social media, even if their friends do. (I know, I know. Mean mom alert.)
Like Corey, I’m really proud of my kids. But unlike Corey, I’m okay with their photos being posted for all the world to see.
I run into people from high school and college and past life experiences all the time who tell me how cute my family is (I know) and that my kids are growing into great people (you’re so right!) and I appreciate the sense of community and connectedness the internet can offer.
I started a #littlehumansofinstagram hashtag a few years back as sort of an online photo album for my family. It served its purpose for a while, but pretty soon it got hijacked and now there are 482 photos, most of which are not my family. Que sera sera.
These buncha babes. No matter how many times we have to repeat ourselves to the kids, remind them to be kind, forget to be kind ourselves, we have formed an incredible family that is better than I ever imagined. Happy Fathers/step-father’s Day to basically the best person I know, with the obligatory shoutout to my own dad. . . .#dearoldad #babes #littlehumansofinstagram #lunaayers
I love having my photos so easily accessible, to look back and think, “Man, we have really had some good times together.” When old photos from TimeHop come up, I’m often moved to tears by how far we’ve come and how beautiful my growing family is.
Sure, this could happen if I had a hard-copy photo album, but what kind of primitive animal do you think I am? I don’t have time to get photos printed or organize them. I barely have time to do laundry.
In my latest Instagram post, my son clearly is not happy to be in a photo. He rarely is. For now, that doesn’t stop me from showing him off, especially when we have coordinating outfits.
I don’t post everything. I don’t even post most things. It’s not a self-indulgent get-as-many-likes-as-you-can thing and my self-worth is not wrapped up in what people may think of an image. It’s just a way of sharing little bits and pieces of my life and I’m okay with that.
If my kids ever grow up and want their photos erased in the future, I’ll assume that by then there will be some internet version of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and I’ll contract Elijah Wood to erase all traces of them. Technology is advancing at an alarming rate. Sounds feasible enough to me.
So, if you’re posting photos of your kids, keep it up. If you’re sitting it out, go for it. Whatever you are doing, be mindful and make sure to get that just-right filter so everyone sees how perfect your life is. Besides, that’s what social media is all about, right?
Photos: Liz Logan