Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.
I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.
People often ask me why I don't share pictures of my daughter online now that she's older and my answer is twofold: We live in a world where people can learn a lot about you in a short amount of time and I don't need people knowing where my family is 24 hours a day. I also want to respect my daughter's privacy. She's not old enough to tell me if she's okay with me sharing her life with the world or old enough to understand what that even means.
At 16 months old, my daughter loves books, playing with her toys and puzzles, helping me vacuum, throwing perfectly folded clothing out of her drawers, anything that involves bubbles, climbing on anything and everything and music. She does something clever or entertaining every five minutes. Sure, I would love to share those things with my social network.
But I don't know who my kid is yet.
I have no idea if she will be disappointed when she's a teenager and learns she doesn't have a million followers because I failed to make her an Instagram account when she was a baby or if she will be thrilled to find out that there are no bathtub photos, tantrum photos or anything else she might find embarrassing on my feed or anyone else's for that matter.
Shying away from social media has made for some awkward moments. For example, when my daughter was a baby, we joined two different "mommy and me" classes. In the first, the facilitator encouraged everyone to take pictures during the class and tag the program. In the second group, the teacher had more of an offline approach but all of the moms wanted to take a picture of all of the kids on the first day.
I politely removed my daughter from the circle before they all started snapping, videoing, tagging and posting, and got some eye-rolls as a result. The following week, when the moms assembled the babies again for another picture, we scooted out a little early to avoid having to answer any more questions on the topic.
I have found some moms take what you do and connect your actions with what they are doing; however, just because I don't post anything of my family on Facebook, doesn't mean I think it's wrong that you do.
Will I take a picture of my kid when she starts school? Of course! Will I share that picture on my feed with the name of the school, her grade and teacher's name? No. Whenever I've been in an environment when someone has taken a group picture my daughter happens to be in, say at a birthday party, I haven't asked anyone to not post pictures of our kids. I have gently reminded them not to tag my husband or me and found most people understand our point of view.
I can't protect my child from everything, but I can treat her with respect and support her choices. When she's old enough to have a phone, or whatever device we're all using in 13 years, I'll be more than happy to airdrop all of the photos we've taken and I'm sure I'll be the first to like all of them if or when the time comes.
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