As a mother in the social media age, I’m expected to share everything that my kids do, or risk social expulsion. Yeah, it’s a no from me.
I’m what you may consider an odd parent. I’ve not been called that, nothing has been said along those lines, lord no, but the definition moves in the subtext. It’s why the school drop-off is orchestrated at a slow speed (tuck and roll, babies), it’s why I attempt to reroute the topic of conversation in mothers group, and it’s why I glibly mention that “they’re not dead” when I’m openly asked what is new with Junior I and Junior II.
It’s not that I’m not proud of them, it’s just that I feel I don’t have to prove that to everyone else. Plastering your child on the walls of social media is the culture, and daresay it, the A1 condition one must meet to be welcomed next to the fire of motherdom. It’s almost like behaviour that must be presented as credentials for access – “you’re a mother, hey? Prove it.”
Everyone has been squeezed next to the type on the train, or bus, or coffee table. The most basic of all the bitches; their child becomes their personality. “Oh, Bradley is doing so well.” “Oh, yeah? Well, Mason is too and now they’re blah blah blah.” I don’t want to make this a personal attack, so I’m forming this golem of assumption and uniform behaviour I’ve witnessed. It’s peer-reviewed slander. I ask you, mother, what is the point of these monthly updates of child, written in the second person, gleefully describing all the things they do (shit, vomit, sleep) in a sarcastic “I hate you but I love you” tone? I mean, it’s not for the benefit of the child, I’m fairly certain that baby-dearest knows nothing of Facebook’s metrics. It’s clearly for you. You and the other mothers. I have two kids, and they’re pretty much the same from when they’re born, to now. They just ask more questions, and shit in their pants less. I’m wondering if little Rudiger is going to appreciate the pile of printed Facebook memories on their 21st birthday. This is an emoji your mummy used to speak for you. Say it. Say the words that mumma said.
This is my child.
This is my child on social media.
Cute, right? Looks just like her brother.
Speaking as a mother, we do many a great thing and have much fun. No, I’m not going to tell you what that is…which is the kicker; general assumption dictates that you trumpet the minutiae of child rearing. That, in itself, is the battle, and the war. It’s merely a turn to allow each party to unhinge their jaws and garble until the garbling is done. The amount they sleep, the amount they eat, whatever. It’s all a measure of how well you’re doing. Knowing the kids in question is irrelevant. Assumptions are formed on the strength of your anecdote. Wow, Tina needs help. Mason won’t let her sleep. Coffee this week?
Back to social media. When my partner (name redacted) and I had our first child (name redacted), the warm wind of vowelled speech buffeted my door. Everyone wanted to meet it, so, images were requested immediately. I thought, no. If one wants to meet child, one can meet said child. You know where I live. The knocks on the door were less frequent then the ding on my telephone. Eventually, my resistance manifested in the appearance of the self-appointed arbiter of the group, who warmly informed me that I’d be “good if you just put the photos on Facebook, you know, just to shut them up”. I’m thinking, “bitch, you were one of those requesting frequent Facebook updates.”
Eventually, I pulled the plug. But I did not waver. You need to give up things as a mother, and I gave up memes and the drunken images of my twenties.
There is nothing wrong about being a proud parent. But just show restraint. Being allowed to share every little detail doesn’t mean you should.