The other night I read a blog post by a mother that used to write about her kids but now doesn’t because she doesn’t think it’s appropriate. And then an article about mothers sharing too much about their kids on Facebook and the like, essentially taking over social media with their overbearing motherness. Which then kept me from falling asleep as I wondered about my own sharing about my kids on the internet- both here and on other social media platforms.
I get what the first blogger was saying, I do- she wants to respect her kids’ privacy by not posting about them any more. I’m hopeful that my attempts to at least keep the boys’ names out of the picture on here will prevent any future embarrassing google search results when their future dates/admissions officers/potential employers inevitably harness the power of the internet to learn more about them. It isn’t that I think it would be impossible to find out their real names, it’s just that you wouldn’t immediately find them just by searching their names. Which is why I use nicknames for them, dumb as it may sound when they’re referred to as Fidget, Mini-Me, Chuckles, and Spike.
And I get the second articles’ point to an extent- if there are no photos of YOU and only your kids, if you have never interacted online except to mention your children, if you seem to have disappeared behind them, if you tell all others that their lives essentially have no meaning because they don’t have kids (or as many kids or kids that are as unique or challenging or whatever)… it’s an issue. But a lot of the comments make it sound like we shouldn’t ever mention our children, shouldn’t ever share a photo, shouldn’t ever bring our motherhood into the mix. Umm, this is what I do all day… how am I supposed to cut that out of conversation entirely? We wouldn’t ask anyone else to never mention their work or, god forbid, any pride they make take in it.
I do make an effort, especially when I’m with childless friends, to avoid the topic of my kids. I just assume that they don’t care that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they want to know that the boys are doing well, but beyond that cursory information I doubt there’s much interest. I don’t assume that anyone reads this blog, other than my mother, so I don’t expect anyone to force themselves into reading about my kids unless they so choose. But I also don’t have a problem writing this blog (not a philosophical issue with it anyway, the actual writing sometimes becomes a roadblock) or sharing quips on Facebook and elsewhere. Especially Instagram, where I have one long photostream of the boys. I don’t have a problem putting it on the internet. I don’t have a problem with it being out in the world forever.
I consider this space my virtual scrapbook. Instead of putting photos and stories in a book on the shelf, I put them here. Our family and friends- most of whom we live very far away from- get to glimpse inside at their leisure, if they so choose. I’m always a tiny bit surprised when people say they read about something on here. Mine is clearly not a blog out to get huge page views and make a ton of money (although I do occasionally make some).
Sometimes I joke that I post photos of the fun stuff I do with the boys on the internet so that when I inevitably die one day (hopefully very, very far in the future and hopefully before any of my kids), they’ll have a record of the fact that I was fun- but it really is part of the reason I share. I write to tell the world how much they make me laugh so that they one day they can see a record of how much joy they brought me. I write that sometimes it’s hard because I hope that when they have kids they can look back and know that parenting isn’t always easy but is always, always worth the effort. I write the stories that make me laugh because these are the stories of who they are as individuals, starting to carve their own space in the world. I write so there is a record of how much they love each other. I write so that they know that I don’t just tell them I love them when it’s just us- I write so they know that I’m proud to tell the world how much I love them too.
But I also write so that I have a world outside of them. Writing here gives me a chance to write in other places about other subjects. It gives me a chance to earn some money. It gives me a community to belong to outside of my kids. And I want them to know that I have a life that is full and fulfilling outside of my role as “mom.”
So hopefully I’m not annoying the crap out of anyone or destroying my children’s futures while I do it. But if I do, I hope that at least the enormous eye rolls and snarky comments that my posts induce are fun. There are a couple of people on Facebook that elicit that response from me and I get it- sometimes being annoyed by someone else is entertainment in itself.
There’s really no point to all of this rambling except that I couldn’t sleep thinking about it and now I’ve put my opinion out into the world, so hopefully I won’t think about it any more. And hey! Let’s end with a gratuitous photo of my kids: