Everyone has that friend…The friend who posts EVERYTHING, and I mean everything on social. I’m talking about when they were pregnant you got those updates about what fruit their nugget was being compared to. When they fight with their partner they post quotes or ominous status updates. When their child does something embarrassing and they want a good laugh. I am sure there are even friends of yours out there that post about their bodily functions or something similar.
When Facebook first came out I believe I was one of these people. I wanted everyone to know what I was doing, where I was, and who I was hanging out with. I wanted people to look at my Facebook and think to themselves “that girl has a fun, cool, exciting life and I should be her friend, jealous of her, or want to do things like her.
When I met my husband he was completely the opposite. He felt these kinds of things should be for just us. He felt the world didn’t need to know what we were always doing because 1. the world doesn’t really care and 2. you don’t need the world to validate you and your life choices. At first, I fought him on this. People care what I am doing, my friends and family want to know.
One day I looked around my Facebook and realized people actually didn’t care what I was doing. Sure they would throw me a like here or there, but no one was really interacting with me on Facebook. So I stopped writing all the status updates, but I still kept uploading the pictures, and I still do upload some pictures. I validate the pictures because I do have family all over Oregon, Texas, and even the East Coast. However, I don’t post every single photo from every single outing anymore. More between 1 to 5 of the best pictures from our adventure.
But something I realized when I stopped bombarding Facebook with all the status updates, check-ins, photos, and everything else. I noticed I really started to cherish those activities more with my husband or our family. Not worrying about getting all the best photos from the adventure or telling my husband to wait a minute while I check us in at this place. The pressure to “keep up with the Jones” was off. I also noticed who the friends and family are that actually wanted to know how and what we were up. Realizing these are the people I actually wanted to be around, in the real world not just in the online one.
When we got pregnant I knew I did not want to be one of those mom’s that posts everything about being pregnant on social (it is totally ok if you are, it just wasn’t what I wanted for my family.) I told my friends and family in person (for the most part) and I would text photos of my big pregnant belly for people who asked me specifically. When we announced on social that we were expecting our first baby we just posted a simple picture and that was that. I think my whole pregnancy I only posted 3 pictures of me being pregnant.
When you are expecting and when you have a baby you get attacked with tons of articles. “Do this and your baby will be smart” “Do this and your baby will sleep through the night” “How to put your baby on a schedule at 2 weeks old” (haha as if). But one article that I found was from theBump.com and it was about why this mom will never post photos of her child on social. When I read this article I thought to myself: 1. “wow, I didn’t know people, besides celebrities made this kind of decision” and 2. “I want to learn a little more.” So I googled… I found article after article about parents who were making the decision not to post photos of their babies on social.
I talked to my husband and we both read the articles and we looked on our friends who do have kids and do choose to post pictures. Then we talked and we talked some more about if this was something we wanted for our family and our son. After a lot of soul-searching, we decided no, we don’t want to share his life on social. (again if you choose to post your family on social, there is no judgment from us, this was a personal decision we made for ourselves.)
Something that really struck me when reading these articles was how when the children got older they said they wished their parents had never posted pics of them. Or how they were going through all the photos and untagging themselves, we are talking years and years of photos. But these older kids also just said they wanted to make their own social media presence and now their social media presence was tainted by what their parents had posted from day one of their lives. We didn’t want to do that to our son. We want him to be his own person without us and everyone else pressuring him to be something they think he should be or telling him “oh yeah, I saw you in the bathtub when you were a baby.”
Something that my husband always comes back to is what you post on social will be there forever. That cute picture you post of your son taking a bath when he is 2 will always live on the internet somewhere. That snap you sent your friends of your child throwing a fit, it might disappear, but its footprint lives somewhere.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love social media, more Instagram these days than Facebook, and I will post photos of things we are doing and how much I love my family and all of that jazz. But here is what you will not find. I will not post a picture of my son where his face is visible and I will not post a picture of my son in “compromising” pictures/videos. What you will see are cute pics where my son is turned away from the camera, or his face is blurry, videos of him dancing with his dad and the back of my son’s head, videos of him being the cutest baby in the whole world, but not of his face or specific other parts that the world does not need to see.
When my husband and I made this decision we didn’t really tell anyone, we just figured people would get the point because they weren’t seeing pictures of his face. But I found that people didn’t really understand. In fact, I had a family member write in the comments section of a photo “You guys are so mean. I wanna see faces in your pictures. Especially of the baby.” I quickly realized that we were going to have to share with people what we were doing.
I did create a private group on Facebook for family only where I show pictures and videos with his face showing. In the about me section of the private group, I explained our reasons, linked to some articles that helped us make our decision, and told them if they shared pictures from here on social media I would hunt them down… No, we just politely asked them not to share pictures on their social media. People seemed to be a lot more understanding than I had anticipated. It might not be the decision they would make for their family but they are respecting our decision.
Gone are the days when someone would come over and you’d get out the photo albums and talk about the memories you made doing this or that. In this day and age, you get so little things to yourself. Everything is online. You google something one time and you start to get junk mail and ads based on that one search. In a world where it is so hard to keep things private, we just want a few things to be just for us. We were able to find a balance of what works for our family and I hope you can too, even if your way isn’t our way.