You’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed, and you see them: Pictures of your friend’s babies or toddlers with captions like, “Trying carrots!” or “Happy 6 Months baby Bob!”. We have all been there. Quick – what is your reaction to this?
Chances are you fall into one of two camps: 1) Great, I love babies. That is cute! 2) Oh my God, another stupid picture of their kid. Why don’t they post about anything else?
I will tell you why I don’t think people should get mad at new parents for posting about their babies. (I know, you didn’t ask. Deal with it.):
1) As a new mom on maternity leave, I actually don’t do anything else to post about. My entire day is spent with the baby. Don’t get me wrong, we leave the house a lot. We go for walks, do mom-and-baby activities and run errands. I am not someone who stays in the house all day. However, 98% of the time I leave the house, the baby is with me.
A few months ago someone asked me what was new with me, and I mentioned something I had done with the baby.
“No,” they said, “New with you.”
I actually just stared at them for a good two minutes, while I racked my brain to think of something new with me that didn’t involve the baby. I was unsuccessful. It was awkward. I had to leave the room.
2) Last I checked, Facebook is for posting about your life. Whatever your life is about. Right now my life is about my baby. So, I post a lot about him. Just like you post a lot of pictures of you standing sideways with duck face or of the food you ate for dinner.Okay, so I am a bit jealous that you went out for dinner at night, with adults, but I don’t get irritated that you post about those things. That’s your life. What else are you going to post about?
3) Just like in real life, most people have some type of irritating Facebook behaviour. For example: posting 50 photos…one at a time, posting your results to 10 online quizzes a day or passing on those photos where you are supposed to type “Amen”. (WTF do those exist????) If people with babies put up with this crap on no sleep, you can tolerate their picture about their baby while well rested.
4) Sometimes you are not the intended audience. As hard as it is to believe, not all your Facebook friends post with you in mind. When a lot of your friends and family live far away, Facebook is a great way for new parents to stay in touch and provide updates about your baby. This is better than a constant stream of visitors or phone calls which always seem to be at nap time. If this annoys you, sorry, but it makes my life easier.
5) Parenting is a super thankless job. It is hard, and isolating and sometimes you just need some validation. So, after a sleepless night and no time to shower, you post your favourite picture of your baby on Facebook. It does two things: 1) Remind you that your baby is actually adorable and 2)Forces people you know to remember you exist. (Because you don’t go out with them at night anymore.) While there is a lot of writing out there about how our society is actually becoming more isolated as we become more connected by social media, if there is a choice between online connection and no connection with others, sometimes online is the best you can do. I’m sure we will see each other again in person soon. You won’t recognize me, but you will recognize the baby.
So, yes, most of my posts are about the baby doing things. If you are not a fan of my baby-related statuses, can I interest you in a post about my dog?
No? Well, that’s all I’ve got unfortunately. I am sorry, but you should probably just un-follow me. I won’t be offended because I have probably un-followed you too for other reasons.