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To Share or Not to Share: Negotiating Social Media With Kids

Parenting can be fun, exciting, and so very rewarding. When things are good, I want to share everything: retell their funny jokes, the time they accidentally farted in public, or the sweet words they whisper in their most vulnerable moments. Not only do I want to remember all of it forever, but I want to share that joy with the world.


Conversely, the challenges that come along with parenting can be indescribable. There are shameful moments when we lose our tempers or say hurtful things. There are crushing moments when we can’t believe how different our lives are than how we imagined they’d be. And there are heart-wrenching days when we witness our children struggle and hurt – from illness, from other kids, from themselves.

Children have an uncanny power to give us our greatest highs and our deepest lows, and astonishingly can accomplish both in the same day.

As my kids shift from children to young adults, I find myself struggling with how to share my experiences as their mother while still respecting their privacy.

As parents, we need support. We need to know that we aren’t alone in this and that it’s perfectly normal to feel helpless. We need to know that other people’s kids can be pretty shitty at times (it’s not just ours) and that other people’s children suffer from anxiety, or bullying, or depression. More importantly, we need to know that they got through it and how they got through it. We need to know that there’s hope, that we have each other, and that it’s all normal. How can we know all this if we don’t share?

When sharing about our kids, there needs to be a balance and that can be hard to achieve. What you put out there won’t go away – our stories may seem cute when our kids are five, embarrassing at ten, and simply horrifying at fifteen.

I’m envious of the young mommy bloggers (minus the diapers) who have endless hours of footage and features of their kids doing all things kid-like: mud puddles, growth milestones, and endless snuggles caught on film. But kids grow to be tweens, teens, and young adults, and their interest in being our comical centerfolds dwindle. They may not be willing to provide material for our likes and shares. We’re left to untangle what is theirs and what is ours.

This is an ongoing discussion in our house. As we create social media guidelines for our kids to follow, I find that they are good for me too. Here are three concepts our family strives to remember while navigating social media.

Ask: A little permission goes a long way

Every person has a different personality and a different place in the social world. One child may be psyched to be in the limelight of your feed but the other might not. We now ask our kids for their permission to post about them or to use their pictures. Sometimes the answer is no. More often than not, however, they say yes, trusting that we care and will respect their privacy. I’ve noticed they’re also more willing to be in pictures when they know that we won’t post every photo taken.

Limit: “Worlds are colliding, Jerry!”

Kids are friending parents, friending teachers, and friending everyone. It’s all a mess! That being said, your stories will travel. The details you share online about a meltdown or nightmare day your child had will likely reach their teacher, coach, friends’ parents, or friends. That could have a negative impact on their playing time, social life, or job opportunities going forward. The picture you’re painting can have a lasting impact on how people perceive your child.

The tables will turn

Imagine stumbling upon your child’s social media feed to read about what an awful parent you are. The minute-by-minute update of how you woke up like a beast and yelled all morning. How they hate your hair and how you dress. OMG that would be horrible! Do unto others, my friend.

Some things are not meant to be shared online. Save it for a private conversation (with your therapist or with a close friend). There’s a difference between posting that you’re struggling with your child (universal and relatable) and sharing every gory detail for the world to read (and judge, because they will).

We’re still learning. I keep more of the photos of my children private even though I’d love to share them. I ask more open-ended questions to the larger online audience. When someone responds with a connection, I invite that friend or soon-to-be friend into a more private conversation.

Overall, I think there are more benefits derived from sharing than from being totally private, but we still have a lot to learn about finding the mix of what’s right for us and what’s right for them.

How do you and your family find balance in the big wide world of social media?

Oh, the irony that I ask you to share!

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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She's an A-list actress who wrote a book about healthy habits and spent so much time in workout clothes that it became a business, but these days, Kate Hudson is also a new mom who is two months postpartum and trying to develop new healthy habits while simultaneously caring for a newborn going back to work.

It is a lot to balance, but Hudson now going to be getting a lot of help from Weight Watchers after announcing she's the new brand's latest ambassador. Hudson and the brand are both going through a bit of a transformation at the moment. Hudson is trying to lose 25 pounds for a film role, and Weight Watchers is rebranding as WW, with less of a focus on weight loss and more on healthy habits that can lead to weight loss but have other benefits too.

Hudson's big reveal about the new gig came in the form of a FaceTime call with Oprah, who has, of course, repped the brand for years.

"Health and wellness is my number one and I always say that what works for me doesn't work for everyone," Hudson captioned a recording of the FaceTime call.

"I believe that we need to celebrate diversity in how each individual wants to celebrate their bodies. We aren't all going to enjoy the same work outs, outdoor activities, foods etc. I've become an Ambassador for the WW family because it is the perfect community for people to live healthy their own way and I love sharing this knowledge with you all! This is not a community for people who just want to lose weight, although leading a healthy lifestyle lends itself to such, this is a community about supporting each other through a life long journey of wellness."

The message WW and Hudson are promoting (that health and self-care, not weight loss, should be the number one goal) is an important one, and one we're happy to see celebrities and companies embracing.

The era of headlines about celebrities "bouncing back" after pregnancy is behind us, and it's refreshing to see Hudson admitting that a mother's body doesn't change overnight after she gives birth.

For Hudson, whose career depends on her looking good on movie screens and in leggings, the goal of losing 25 pounds makes sense. It's literally her job. For the rest of us, weight loss may not be the goal, but sometimes it is a nice side effect of taking care of ourselves.

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Last spring, my husband started a new job that includes a hefty dose of travel, and adjusting to a schedule with a lot of solo parenting stretches has taken its toll on me. In my scramble to make sure I'm not overlooking anything and am being all the things to all the people all the time—it's easy to let my own needs fall by the wayside. And when that happens, I end up burned out and grumpy and that's not good for anyone.

The truth is, when I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of anyone else.

To avoid burning the candles at both ends, I came up with 10 resolutions for this year that are me-focused so they can serve as reminders to include myself on the list of people I'm caring for.

My goal is to make sure my tank is full so I'm ready for whatever life (and motherhood) may throw at me.

1. I am going to make time for myself.

And I'm not going to apologize for it.

As moms, it's all too easy to "should" all over ourselves. I should be able to keep going. I should be more intentional during playtime. I should plan more activities. I shouldn't pay a babysitter just to go sit at Starbucks. The problem with all that should-ing is that it leaves us feeling like...well, crap.

This year, I'm giving myself permission to claim my time. I know that I need a few hours away every week to stay sane, and I'm not going to feel bad about that.

2. I am going to be intentional with my time.

There's one small thing I can do every morning that makes the difference between starting off on the right foot or the wrong one—getting up before my kids do.

One of my friends calls this waking up TO your day, rather than being woken up BY your day. I will set my alarm for at least 15 minutes before my kids' typical wake up time.

That gives me time to brew a pot of coffee and do a quick devotional or maybe just watch the sun rise. Waking up to peace and quiet rather than cries of "Mom, Mama, Mommy, Maaaa-mmaaaaa!" will help ease me into my day.

3. I am going to take care of my body.

I'm kicking this year off by running a 15K and I've also committed to my first triathlon in June. I'm not an athlete (not in the slightest)—I will be slow and the training won't be easy—but breaking a sweat and getting my heart rate up a few times a week are critical to my state of mind.

In the famous words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don't kill their husbands."

4. I am going to accept help.

I'm not very good at asking for help when I need it. I have a very "I can do it myself" mentality (my 3-year-old daughter shares this trait), but it often leaves me feeling burned out and overwhelmed.

In the name of taking better care of myself, when someone extends a dinner invitation on night three of solo parenting, I'm going to say yes.

5. I am going to take care of my mind.

I'm going to read one book a month. I love to read but, truth be told, haven't done much of it since I became a mom—and I miss it. It doesn't have to be highbrow literature, just a good story I can lose myself in for a few hours.

6. I am going to be kind to myself.

Scrolling through Instagram can make it real easy to feel like I'm not thin enough, fashionable enough or sufficiently well-lit in my photographs. Pinterest can lead to dissatisfaction with my small house and disorganized closets. Facebook can leave me longing for more vacations or a more successful career.

Social media is great for maintaining connections, but not so great for encouraging satisfaction and contentment. In 2018, I'm going to be kinder to myself and more appreciative of what I have by spending less time on social media.

7. I am going to prioritize friendships.

In this season of raising young children, it's been all too easy to neglect my friendships. "They'll understand," I reason. "They're busy, too." And they do, and they are, but it's so rejuvenating to take the time to reconnect.

So every week, I'm going to reach out to a friend—whether by text, email, or over a cup of coffee. Just a quick check-in, to see how things are and let them know I'm thinking of them.

8. I am going to spend more time being present.

I work part-time from home. It's great because there's no real set schedule and I can get my work done whenever it works for me. Of course, these are also the precise things that make it difficult. If I'm not careful, I spend a lot of time on my laptop or phone when I'm with my kids, because I think I can check just one more thing off the to-do list real quick.

This year, I'm going to do a better job of drawing lines around my time with the kids—the first hour after school and the hour before bedtime will belong solely to them, as will mealtimes. Work can wait.

9. I am going to make space for my passions.

I love to write. It's how I make sense of my emotions and how I capture memories. But it doesn't pay the bills, fold the laundry, keep the house clean or take care of the kids, which means it often ends up at the bottom of my priority list.

I know I can't move it to the top of the list, but I can carve out time every week just for writing. And I will.

10. I am going to give and accept grace.

Some days, my 3-year-old is going to wake up in a bad mood. My 7-year-old is going to spill his milk all over the kitchen floor (again). I'm going to skip my workout.

Typically, these are things that would make me roll my eyes and my temper flare. But what if I met mistakes with grace instead? "That's okay; let's wipe it up together." "No problem; I'll just set my alarm early and workout tomorrow instead."

In my opinion, an unexpected dose of grace never fails to make an impact.


New Year, I'm ready for you.

This story was originally published on Coffee + Crumbs. Check out their book, The Magic of Motherhood, for more heartwarming essays about motherhood, love, and the good kind of heartache.


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There is a lot of encouragement from postpartum and mental health experts for new moms to ask for help. As a new mom, you should be focused on resting, bonding and adjusting to your new role. Amen, right?

But what happens as you come out of those first 40 days? What about the moms who are a couple years into this whole motherhood thing who feel like they are drowning in the sheer volume of work that has to get done? Because let's be honest, it all can feel like work after a while.

The constant routine of getting everyone out the door in the morning, accomplishing your job and then some at the office, coming home to prepare dinner, clean up from dinner, play with the kids, get them ready for bed, take care of the laundry, pick-up and as you have time or energy, tackling a few other projects around the house that you've been meaning to do for far too long.

You are a high achieving woman. You always have been. You can certainly handle it.

Sure, you might have a meltdown every now and then as you crack from the pressure of all of it, but on the whole, you know what needs to be done and you just do it. You vent to your girlfriends and emphatically like those silly memes that a little too accurately describe the sad state of affairs in your life as a mom, but you don't usually ask for help. You can do it.

But have you ever stopped to think about what it would feel like to have one of those chores eliminated from your responsibility list?

Would you feel relieved, grateful, happy, a little lighter and less stressed? What does that even look like?

You've probably dreamed of having a full-time housekeeper, a nanny who takes care of much more than the kids, or a chef who prepares your weekly meals each Sunday so all you have to do is heat and enjoy. Heck—you'd take all three if you could! But I don't know anyone with that arrangement, and I'm guessing you probably don't either.

So what could you do now to eliminate one or two chores from your list? How can you get creative and get more help at home?

Because with even one or two fewer chores on your list, that's time that you could do something fun—whether that's for you or for the kids. That's five or so minutes of relaxation that could make you feel like a totally different person at the end of the day.

This week, try one of these five ideas for getting more help around the house and challenge yourself to get at least five minutes back in your day... for you.

1. The obvious answer: Outsource

Outsourcing is the obvious idea here, but ask any mom who has outsourced one item from her life and she'll more than likely tell you it's worth every penny. If it's in the budget, or if you can re-work your budget to accommodate hiring out, here are some ideas:

  • Find someone to clean for you, even if they come just once a month for a deep clean so all you have to do is maintenance work.
  • Hire a virtual assistant (I've used this one) to help with making appointments, getting pricing, or placing orders.
  • Outsourcing your weekly cooking to a meal-delivery service is another easy one. Not quite a personal chef, but if it takes even a couple of meals off your plate (no pun intended), that is a huge relief.
  • Yard work is another big one that can take time depending on how much you have to maintain. What high-schooler in your neighborhood is looking to make extra money by mowing your lawn?

2. Hire a mother's helper

Maybe you don't have the resources to outsource all of your chores. Instead, you can get help entertaining the kids while YOU take care of the chores. You will no doubt get them done much faster than if you had to constantly fulfill requests for snacks and water and "play with me." Mother's helpers do still exist and really are a win-win for you and for the kid who wants experience with childcare before going out on their own for full-blown babysitting.

3. Get creative with your village

Maybe hiring anyone, even a mother's helper, is not in the picture for you. That's the case for many working moms with the cost of childcare being what it is. But surely you know other working moms, other mom friends, who feel the same as you—like they never have enough time or energy to do all the housework.

  • Can you do a childcare swap on the weekend, again to buy you dedicated, interruption-free time to clean and take care of things while she watches your kids, and then you do the same for her?
  • Can you get together and batch cook some dinners or put together freezer meals for the upcoming weeks making it more fun over a glass of wine and some conversation?
  • How can you leverage your community to get more help and in turn help them?

4. Have a clear and even division of labor

I realize not everyone may have the luxury of having a co-parent or partner to share in the workload, or that some may have a partner whose schedule absolutely does not lend itself to helping out around the house. But, if your co-parent is working a similar job to yours or with similar hours, you should absolutely be able to split the household responsibilities.

Make sure you are doing that and not falling victim to the old "I'll just do it myself" mentality because you think you do it better. Having a chore done is better than having it done your way.

If you've not had this conversation before, it's not as scary as it sounds. Trust me. You just need to be open to compromise and make sure that you're each assigned the chores that are easiest for you to do. And then you have to trust each other to get them done. That last part is key.

5. Get your kids involved

Are you a mama who thinks that chores have to wait until the kids are either asleep or otherwise entertained? Have you ever tried involving them in the chores, even if it takes a little longer than when you just do it yourself?

Teaching your kids how to take care of things and that you're all a part of a team is GREAT learning development. Try starting young, by wearing the baby around in a carrier while you vacuum or load the dishwasher or sort laundry. Then, as they are old enough, have them start putting their clothes into the wash, wipe down their chair after meals, or put clothes, groceries, etc. away.

Kids are capable of so much, and doing chores together is much more fun. If they see you having fun with it, rather than complaining about it, they'll be even more eager to get in on that!

Bonus: Doing the chores while they're awake means less that you have to do after they go to bed, which could mean a few minutes to yourself (gasp, I know!).

If you're continually frustrated about how much you have to do around the house, and how little time you have, it's time to get creative and do something different than what you're doing.

Life is too short to be miserable working around the house. It takes a team to maintain daily life and you should start building yours.

Originally posted on The Mother Nurture.

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To my baby,

When I was pregnant with you, and you were growing inside me… your heart was in me. And my heart was the thumping soundtrack to your developing life.

But when you came out into this world, it seems like my heart came out right alongside you.

It seemed like when I looked into your eyes that I saw myself, I saw your father; I saw the greatest love of our lives.

It wasn't just on the day you were born that I noticed this feeling of extreme, overpowering love. I see it and feel it every day. I see it when you look at me with tired eyes, knowing the only place you want to rest is in mama's arms. I feel it when we're walking together and your hand reaches up to grab onto me; your tiny, chubby fingers entwined with mine.

I see it when I know you're doing something to make me proud as you say, "Mom, look at this! Look at me, Mom! Mom isn't this cool?!" And I feel it when you tell me you love me more than the stars and planets combined.

I see it and I feel it all the time, in so many ways... because you have my entire heart.

You have my heart when I leave for work and we're apart for a chunk of the day. When I'm trusting someone else to keep you safe. Some days go by so quickly, while with others, you're on my mind all day—during meetings, writing emails, giving assignments—and I'm wondering if you're happy right now, if you're eating enough today, if you're missing me like I'm missing you.

You have my heart when I walk back to my car after dropping you at preschool. When your teachers are looking out for you and they're the ones teaching you things instead of me. When you're learning to navigate friendships and big feelings, without me. When you're working on becoming independent from me, as I work to become comfortable with a little independence from you, too.

You have my heart as you become more you every single day. As you figure out what you do and don't like, what you are good at and what's not really your thing. You are trying to define yourself, and I am trying to give you the space you need to do so.

You'll have my heart forever; it's not just on loan for these years when you need me so much. It will be yours for the rest of our lives. Even when you "get old and move into a new house" as you say, our hearts will be connected.

You'll take my heart with you when you go off to college. When you're choosing the classes you want to study and the people you want to date. You'll feel my heart even if you're miles away. I hope you feel it most when you're missing home or when you need to step up to do the right thing.

You'll take my heart with you on adventures. On road trips with friends or soul-searching journeys abroad. When you're looking for answers or hoping for direction. I hope its beat guides you long after having left my womb; when you're lost or alone or needing to feel my presence even if we are not physically together.

You'll take my heart with you when you move to a big city or across the country or maybe just around the block. When you're creating a home and building a family of your own. I hope my heart is felt inside those walls and inside the lives of the people you choose to fill them with.

I've given you my heart as a duty of motherhood. But also because it was so natural for me to do so. As much as my heart beats to sustain my life, it beats for you, too. To show you my love; to prove my commitment; so that you know I will always be here.

So can you promise me something, my baby?

You have my heart. So I ask you to be gentle with it.

You are my heart. So I ask you to take care of it.

E. E. Cummings once wrote,

"I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear."

Know that because you've given me the honor of motherhood, this relationship has tied our hearts together for eternity. I will always be with you, and you will always be with me—no matter how old we are or how much distance may be between us.

No matter what life throws at us or how hard life can feel—we can both find comfort in knowing that our hearts will always be one. You are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside, and I am the only one who knows what its like to carry yours.

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