To share or not to share? This has been a hotly debated question amongst parents since the dawn of the age of social media. While I do have strong feelings about this topic, I remain firmly in the camp of you do you. Every family dynamic is different, and therefore their comfort and personal convictions on sharing their kids’ lives on the internet will be different. I have no judgement or negative feelings towards anyone who keeps their kids off social media for any reason.
Personally, I do share a lot of our family life on Facebook and Instagram. At the tender ages of 9, 4 and 7, my kids’ digital footprints are deep, but beautiful. I love that the stories of their lives are being captured in real time, and part of those stories are the connections, comments and Likes from my online communities.
This is MY Story Too
One of the criticisms I often hear about posting pictures and stories of kids online is that theirs are not my stories to tell. I disagree. It is impossible to separate their lives from mine, and vice versa. And while motherhood does not define the whole of my existence, it sure is a huge part. Stories are what keep us connected, and telling my story means telling the stories of motherhood. And I can’t share about motherhood without also sharing about the little people who made me a mom.
Sharing Creates Community
I love when other moms share stories and pictures of their kids, because it reminds me that there are so many women out there experiencing both the joys, hilarities and frustrations of raising children. There’s power in being able to say “Me too” to the struggles, and connection in being able to laugh in unison to the funny stuff kids do every day.
Sharing Means Support
From my earliest days as a mom, I’ve found incredible support from various online communities. I’ve found this to be especially true as a mom raising a child with medical needs and disabilities. Parents raising children with disabilities are often isolated, and conversations and connections on social media are sometimes the only social contact they have for long periods of time.
Navigating the early days of uncertainty, grief and fear surrounding my son’s missed milestones, endless doctors appointments and therapy sessions was made possible by sharing details of my everyday life with a special needs child. Online, I found lifelong friends also raising children with special needs who understand my daily life better than anyone else possibly could.
Just as I have boundaries about who has access to my life on social media, I use discretion about what I post about my kids. I ask them any time I post a picture if it’s ok that I do so. I recognize that this will become a lot more important as they get older, and I always want to respect their personal boundaries. I also carefully consider each time I post, especially if it’s a picture or story that could potentially be embarrassing to them later.
As my kids get older, I know my feelings on this topic likely will shift, and there may come a day where I don’t feel comfortable offering so much of our family life up for public consumption on the internet. But for now, I do enjoy sharing some parts of our story, and am thankful the internet and social media exists for these purposes.