One thing I really appreciate about my friends is that they are entering parenthood in a really mature way. They aren’t losing their identity, or trying to use their kids as a pawn. And they aren’t crossing any lines into oversharing. They are basically just acting with dignity, and extending that same dignity to their kids. It’s cool to see.
Frankly, most of my friends are pretty fantastic in this respect. But every now and then, something pops up on my newsfeed or while scrolling my Instagram homepage, and it just makes me cringe a little bit. Hey, it’s your life, your baby, and your social media. Do what you want. But if you care at all about how people perceive you (and your child) you might want to avoid a few cringey online behaviors:
- Posting picture after picture after picture.
I totally understand that as a new parent, you’re obsessed with your baby. Good! You should be. But let’s be honest. Aside from your close family and best friends, nobody else is going to be quite as obsessed as you are. Not to mention babies don’t change that much day to day — and they don’t DO that much day to day. The onesie might change, the background of your photo might change, but the baby looks the same in every photo. And if you’re posting a dozen photos of the same subject every month (whether that be your baby, spouse, or pet), it gets repetitive for the rest of us. Shake it up a little so that your feed isn’t just a brick wall of baby photos.
- Using your kid as a prop.
Sometimes parents take baby pictures a bit too far, and a bit too often. You know what I mean: the elaborate lay flats, or the infant basically dressed up in cosplay complete with props. It’s cute for major milestones…but when it’s happening on a regular basis, it’s a bit weird. It just seems like a lot of time, effort, and expense to get a picture of your baby looking exactly the same as they looked in the bassinet an hour ago. And to quote a good friend of mine: “Tell me you see your kid as an accessory without telling me you see your kid as an accessory.”
- Sharing about the dirty diaper situation.
This should go without saying, but some things just don’t need to be shared. And your kids diaper situation is one of those things. In general, potty discussion just doesn’t need to be broadcast across social media. I don’t need to know that your baby had a diaper blowout any more than I need to know about your husband stinking up the bathroom. It’s all gross, and I don’t want to know about it. Again, maybe your close family and best friends want all the gory details, but the rest of us are not that obsessed. So please spare us, and limit your potty talk to the people that need to know — like the pediatrician.
- Acting like your kid is somehow superior.
Humans are biologically wired to prefer their own offspring. But just because you think your baby is all that, doesn’t mean other babies are inferior. For the first several months, most babies are actually pretty similar. A lot look alike, and they all start off with the same exact limitations. They can only sleep, eat, and cry. Hopefully with some periods of quiet observation so mom and dad can catch a break. But there really isn’t anything to set one baby apart from another, so please don’t give yourself or your kid a superiority complex right out of the gate. Don’t be that person posting about how your baby is so much better or cuter than other babies. Don’t put that pressure on your child, and don’t be that unkind to other kids and their families.
- Making your baby your whole online identity.
I don’t mean this at all to put down a new mothers excitement: obviously having a baby is a huge deal and it’s going to be the main focus for a while. But it’s pretty sad to see smart, talented, interesting women suddenly going silent except for baby talk. Especially when that silence continues for years and years. I understand that being a mom is an awesome thing, but you can still be a mom who loves to travel, and learn, and climb the corporate ladder, and participate in cool hobbies, and spend time with your spouse and friends and family. Don’t give up on everything you loved before becoming a mom. Find ways to bring your kid into it and continue sharing your life with the world through your social media.