Before Finn was born, one of the subjects that plagued me was whether or not to post photos of him online. Seemingly everyone I am friends with does it—celebrities do it—and overall it just doesn’t seem like something that would even come to mind among all the other details of having a child. There are plenty of other things to worry about without adding Instagram to the pile. Still, it came up, and it wouldn’t get off my mind. After a lot of thought I decided that I didn’t want too much of Finn present online; people can be creeps, and my Instagram is public, so I just didn’t feel like it was the best option.
And then he was born. And he was the cutest little guy I’d ever seen. And I couldn’t stop pulling my phone out and taking pictures of him, even from my hospital bed, and I couldn’t help myself from posting some on my Instagram story. And then some more. And maybe a couple more.
Now it’s become a nearly daily habit to share an update of him in some cute little position, meeting a milestone, or some other such adorable state. I don’t have a ton of interest in sharing potentially embarrassing photos of him, even if I fully enjoy my own personal embarrassing moments from when I was a child. (Including the photo of myself stuck feet first in the toilet—yes this really happened. It’s still a mystery.) I’ll text a funny story to a friend or my mom, but for the most part, those things are just for us to enjoy. I like the photos that are a celebration of him.
I got swept up in the fun of sharing and the satisfaction of all the likes that his cute little face would get because I made that.
Recently, though, I was reminded of all the less-than-stellar parts of sharing your child’s life online, from the more mild invasions of their privacy to the truly terrifying possibility of identity theft. My mind has been churning again with all the worries and worst case scenarios, and almost immediately my sharing of Finn—or at least his cherubic face—has slowed down noticeably. On the one hand, this is nice not just for the prevention factor but also as a reminder for myself and everyone else that even if I spend 24 hours a day with him, I’m not focusing those 24 hours on him. I’m still writing, cooking, and crafting. I read more books in January than I probably did through the last three months of 2019 combined. I’m even practicing watercolor now.
On the other hand, I want everyone to see and know how cute my child is, dammit.
In an age when we’re surrounded by everyone sharing every moment of their lives and demanding that we share our own (often so they can compare, consciously or not), it’s hard to remind myself to take that step back. It’s hard to remember to stop and wait for a moment before adding something to my Instagram stories. But it’s worth it to put in the effort, even berate myself once in a while if needed, to give myself that peace of mind regarding the comfort and safety of my child.
I feel like this is going to come off as if I’m saying that no one should share anything about their children online; I actually feel completely the opposite, and I love when my friends post updates about their children. I just wish people weren’t such garbage that I felt unsafe for Finn, and I also have personal qualms about invading his privacy for the sake of other people’s entertainment and my own social media gratification. But I love when other people do it, no doubt. And maybe I’m just overthinking everything, although if that’s the case, I know I’m not the only one. And maybe this will only last a month or two before I go back to constant photo and video updates of this kiddo. I honestly don’t know. I just know that it’s something that’s on my mind right now, and I wanted to get it out.