I don't post photos of my child on social media

When Facebook started, I had years under my belt of drunkenly dancing without fearing it would end up on the Internet. The Internet was for research, information and email. I could dance on as many tables in as many countries as I pleased.

Then it happened—the explosion of social media. It didn't take long for people to start posting photos of everything. Not everyone had a good camera on their phone, or the ability to send those photos via text message. It was just easier to share everything all the time.

Right around this time, my friends started having babies. Before knowledge of privacy, birth photos, complete with graphic images, started popping up in my feed. These were my friends. It was safe, even if it was a little TMI.

I am a pretty open person. Most people view me as an extrovert. I love people, I love honesty and I love looking at cute baby pictures on the Internet. I can't stop an "Awwww" from escaping my mouth when I see parental pride bursting in 280 characters or less.

Yet my son is only on my phone and in printed pictures. His privacy is pretty similar to what mine was in the '80s (perhaps even more so, because my naked baby bum picture is a classic at family reunions). My partner and I decided to do this consciously, to respect our child.

Sometimes people think this means that we are standing on our high horses declaring, "Hey! We are better than YOU." Far from it.

Parenting is so different from family to family. Few of us feed our kids the same thing or take them to the same activities or read them the same books. We all do our best. Most of us sit in unified hope that it will all turn out okay.

Social media may not be forever. Perhaps by the time my little man is an adult, we will have moved to something my mind can't comprehend. (In 1996, I nodded in agreement when adults declared, "The Internet is a phase.") But perhaps it will be pretty similar, the way my childhood wasn't dramatically different from my own parent's childhoods in the '50s and '60s.

I don't want everything that is put out there of my son, years before his consent, to be my version of the truth. I want my son to feel that even publicly, he is the protagonist of his own life. I too am bursting with pride (because, man he is pretty amazing). But my pride is quiet and unadorned. My pride sits at our dinner table and is reflected in the presence that can only be found when our phones are put away and we aren't recording images for the sake of future nostalgia.

I will always love looking at my friends' children and I am so grateful for social media for allowing me to see their little faces more often than I am geographically capable of. But I, the extroverted mother, will allow the first pictures that are on the Internet of my son to be curated by him. He may grow up and think that my protection of his privacy was ridiculous. This is me, mothering my son in the best way I know how, with no judgment to a mother who decides on recording these years more potently.

Whether we have hundreds of thousands of pictures or just a few, we are in the same boat. It is fleeting, precious time and we are all doing better, as we know better, every single day.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My belly has been through some things.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yep, severe debilitating pregnancy-related vomiting), the pregnancies of each of my four kids, the 65 pounds of weight gain I have endured with each pregnancy, stretch marks, Occupational Therapy for pregnancy pelvic pain, unmedicated childbirth, and of course, postpartum recovery.

It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

Here's why I love Belly Bandit:

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My first son was born via a non-medicated vaginal delivery. I felt like a mama warrior after I delivered him. (I was all—“I am woman, hear me roar!"—and everything.) So when I went into labor with my second son after my water broke at 34 weeks, I knew I would be having a much different experience.

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