Thanks to cloud storage and social media, photo albums are a rarity. Friends no longer have to carry photos of their kids in their wallets, because everything is already on social media so there’s no need to be prepared to run into someone and need to update them (not to mention, there are smart phones for that).
It seems that everything is shared on social media. The biggest ones started as a platform for college kids to meet and share their relationship statuses and have now become a worldwide staple for most adults in developed countries. Then, of course, there are several more that old people don’t even know about yet.
Today it’s normal to post everyday life online for friends and followers to see. Have a pretty plate of food for dinner? It should probably be shared with 350 friends on the internet. Having deep thoughts about today’s world climate, social media seems like an appropriate place to voice them.
This ability to post real-time updates is similar to a compulsion for a mom, because if she can’t get enough of her baby then her followers must feel the same way. Suddenly the girl whose feed was once filled with photos of her partying college days (cough, hypothetically speaking) is now full of her smiling baby’s every waking moment.
As much as everyone loves those cute baby cheeks, there are some basic etiquette guidelines every mama should stick to when it comes to social media.
15 Baby’s Umbilical Cord Falling Off
If you’re a baby of the '80s or early '90s it’s likely your mom had a baby book dedicated to you. It probably housed all the special things from your childhood like your hospital bracelet and first footprints. It may even have your (utterly disgusting) umbilical cord nubbin that fell off and made way for your belly button.
Today, many moms still save things like these and may even have a gorgeous Pinterest-worthy baby book to go along with them (my kid gets a box (no umbilical cord present)- please hold your applause for super mom over here). The problem is, moms often still share those little keepsakes on social media and for some reason, the umbilical cord photo has made its way into too many feeds.
Look, your kid is cute, and so is her belly button (well, it will be once it heals). We get it. You’re excited. But, please keep in mind that what just fell off your child was remnants of a tube that connected her to an organ that your body grew in order to feed her.
Not everyone thinks pregnancy and childbirth is beautiful, and whether it’s a natural part of life or not, healing wounds should not be shared with the public. Period.
14 Diaper Blowouts
Any mom can look at a picture like the one above and nod her head because she can totally relate. We’ve all been there. We’ve laughed at our friends the first time it happened to them. And we have all laughed harder the first time dad had to clean it up. It is hilarious to parents because it's a rite of passage.
Here’s the thing, though, your followers aren’t all parents. Even if they are all parents, not all of them want to see your kids’ bowel movements on display.
This is something that is private for anyone out of diapers. You’re literally putting your kids’ private time on blast for everyone to see. It may be a funny or “not again” kind of moment for you, but you’re taking your child’s personal business and putting it out for everyone to see. Not to mention, just wait until you’re 90 and the tables have turned, your kid can get some serious payback.
If the above “privacy is important” argument isn’t doing it for you, take a moment to remember….this is bodily waste. No one wants to see that. If you must share it to join in the comradery of moms, save it for your mama-text-thread.
13 Humble Brags
Oh, the humble brag.
It usually goes a little something like, “Wow! Little Johnny ate all of his broccoli tonight and politely turned down his mac and cheese! Then, he even helped clean up the dishes #blessed.”
Bonus points if it includes a photo of your child enjoying said meal (and somehow managing to have nothing smeared on his face or crumbs all over him).
Honestly, it’s great that your kid loves quinoa and prefers organic cauliflower crust pizza to Pizza Hut. However, while you’re over there telling everyone about your kid’s ability to eat a gourmet meal (that truthfully, a lot of grown-ups won’t even eat), your best mama friends may be struggling to get their kids to eat anything besides chicken nuggets or a pb&j for the fifth night in a row.
Moms everywhere want to celebrate certain moments, so if Little Johnny ate like this for the very first time, by all means share it and celebrate! There is a point, though, that it becomes less of an “I thought this day would never come” moment and more “look at me and my perfectly perfect child that I’m raising” which just makes everyone, with or without kids, want to throw up a little.
12 Throwing Mommy Shade
Have you ever told a fellow-mom something and immediately felt like she was judging you? I once told a mom that I was turning my daughter's car seat into a forward-facing car seat before she turned two (because she met all weight and height requirements- and frankly was a real jerk about facing backward) and I could almost feel the judgment spewing from her eyes. Guess what? I stopped telling that mom any decisions I made about my daughter from there on out.
Now, what if that woman had gone on to her social media page and shared that story (from her perspective) with all of her followers? I’d have been mortified and would have questioned my ability to be a good mom. Thankfully she didn’t do anything like that, but a lot of women do.
It is really easy to snap a quick picture of a mom sitting at the park on her laptop working and not paying attention to her kid and then share it on Instagram with a caption about being present in your child’s life. What good does this do, though?
For all you know she may be working on her laptop because she has a second job to help cover the bills, or maybe she’s researching flights because she has to get her family home to visit a sick loved one.
We are all hard enough on ourselves as moms, so mommy-shaming is unnecessary and, frankly, pretty mean.
11 Requests For Advice About Baby's Fluids - With Photos
There are so many wonderful and encouraging spaces online that are meant for mommy-to-mommy advice. The Bump, The Baby Center, and What To Expect are three great websites with community boards for moms to chat with each other and ask questions.
These mommy communities are a great place to ask about things like odd findings in diapers or whatever it is your kid just coughed up. Posting pictures in those forums is often encouraged so that the readers (and, usually, veteran moms) can see what you’re seeing and give some advice.
The place NOT to post those pictures? Basically anywhere that is not a mommy forum or a text message with your mom-friends….or doctor.
Just like no one wants to see photographic evidence of your baby’s blowout diaper, no one wants to see it of something out-of-the-ordinary in your baby’s diaper (in fact, that may be even worse).
Your friend from college who is traveling the world loves to see pictures of your kiddo, but probably has no interest in the infected wound on his arm that you need advice on.
When in doubt, don’t post the picture. Actually, even if you’re not in doubt, please just don’t post the picture.
10 Doctor Stats
“Great news, everyone! Susie has gained 4lbs, grown an inch, and has a great big head! She’s right on her growth curve and is in the 75th percentile!”
Why is this being shared? I do not go to my annual physical and come back with an update for all of my social media followers to let them know that now that I’m 30 my metabolism has effectively stopped, I have stretch marks thanks to my baby, and I am for some reason shrinking instead of growing.
Unless your baby is overcoming something like premature birth, low birth weight, or some other health issue that everyone has been following and asking for updates on, very few people care about your child’s ability to grow like the majority of other babies out there.
Of course this is big news for you, mama, because it’s proof that you’re doing things right and your baby is doing well and honestly, it’s a reason to do a happy dance as a mom (if a healthy baby isn’t a reason to do a happy dance, what is?).
This is the kind of news that will be very well-received by your own mom or some other family member, but will make the rest of the people who aren’t in your inner circle shrug their shoulders and think, “okay?”
Save the social media posts for big updates, and let the everyday ones stay with you and your baby’s daddy.
9 Seventeen Photos In the Same Day
You know who is really cute? Your little kid. Especially when she’s dressed up in her Sunday-best or in a romper with two different shoes and her swimmies on because she insisted on dressing herself. She’s also really cute when she’s somewhere like Disney World and is star-struck meeting Mickey.
Your kid is adorable, and your friends and family love her. However, after about two photos in the same day, the cuteness factor fades a bit. Two pictures a day every single day runs the risk of your social media followers essentially becoming immune to her cuteness. The swimmies are silly and all, but no matter how many different angles you get, the fun-factor wears off after the first picture.
As a mama, you probably cannot get enough of your little one (well, unless she’s throwing temper tantrums), but you’re seeing her through the rose-colored-glasses of motherhood.
To you, there is no such thing as too many photos but unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone else, except maybe her grandmas.
So, do yourself, your sweet baby, and your friends a favor and try to cap out at one picture a day, or better yet, one picture every other day.
8 Constant Updates On Getting Your “Figure Back”
After giving birth, there is this moment every mom goes through where she finally looks in the full-length mirror to assess the result. For some women, the result is simply a changed body that allows for an excuse to buy some new clothes. For other women, it’s a major change that is hard to accept and they no longer feel comfortable in their own skin. Each of these reactions and every other reaction in between is perfectly fine and acceptable.
What is not acceptable? It’s taking to social media to show all of your followers your journey to getting your “body back.” Here’s the thing, you already have a body, it’s just changed. The only body you lost is the infant’s that is no longer living in your uterus.
If you are using exercise as a means to be healthy but could use some encouragement and accountability and want to post your progress and journey online, that’s up to you. A lot of your social media following will cheer you on and tell you that you’re beautiful no matter what (because you are!). However, be sure to explain that you are doing this for your health, whether it is physical or mental, and not because you are ashamed of your body post-baby, because there are a lot of mommies out there whose bodies have changed as well and the last thing they need is to feel ashamed of themselves. Choose your words carefully and promote self-love.
7 An Over-Saturation Of Milestone Photos
You know what people love? Photos of your growing belly or your growing baby. It’s fun to see the progression and look at the crazy difference a year can make. You know what people don’t love? Weekly photos of your baby’s growth (how much can your infant change from week two to week three, really?) or a weekly update on your belly and the fruit/size comparison.
Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, such as a baby whose health impacts his size or a mom expecting twins whose belly has somehow tripled in size in a matter of days. However, much like the classic book “He’s Just Not That Into You” says, assume you are the rule, not the exception.
Monthly infant photos are adorable, as are monthly belly pictures. Once your baby hits a year old, though, stick to yearly pictures. A fun trend right now is taking a picture on the first day of school and then again on the last and putting them side-by-side to show how much a child has changed over the course of a school year.
It’s not that your friends and followers don’t care about your growing child, it’s that they don’t need a weekly update any more than you need a weekly update on their children.
6 Anything Preachy
If you took part in a birthing class before your baby arrived, you were likely told the first few months of parenthood are tough and you’ll just be in “survival mode.” If you are reading this and are out of the trenches, cheers- you made it! If you’re in the middle of it, hang in there!
The thing is that even after those first three months, moms are still just trying to survive - they just have a little more sleep to help them do it. Every day there is a new question of “am I doing this right?” or “is this good for the baby?”. New moms (and veteran moms) need their friends rallying around them and reminding them that no matter what if their baby is happy and healthy they are doing a good job.
So, well-meaning posts about “breast is best” or “vaccinations are bad” aren’t exactly creating a loving and supportive environment.
If you believe that breastfeeding is best, that’s great and you are welcome to raise your baby on breastmilk, but by pointing out all the reasons formula is bad you’re alienating your friends who are formula feeding their babies whether it is by choice or necessity.
You are allowed to your opinions on how to raise kids, and you are a mom so you get to implement all of your beliefs when raising your child. What you don’t get to do, though, is tell another mom how to raise her baby. That’s a really good way to be unfriended online, and probably in real life too.
5 Moments To Share: First Words And Steps
I don’t care if your 20-year-old cousin in college is totally anti-babies, even he can’t get enough of a baby walking for the first time (and toppling over all cute) or saying “cheese” to a camera. There are some things in life that are just so cute that even the coldest of hearts will melt.
First words and first steps are the kinds of milestones that everyone is excited for.
Have you ever watched a video of a kid who has just learned to walk and seen him crying or hating every minute of it? No! He’s thrilled and smiling, and wobbly, and when he inevitably falls, everyone claps for him anyway and he gets right back up and does it again. These are the kinds of moments that social media was made for!
Fill up your feed with stuff like this! If your daughter is obsessed with shoes and says it over and over while she makes you put on pair after pair because she can’t decide which one she loves more - share that! If it’s your birthday and your toddler is trying to sing “Happy Birthday” to you, but it is coming out more like pure jibberish, that is worthy of at least 100 likes that will come from everyone from your mommy-friends to your too-cool-for-kids cousin.
4 Moments To Share: Real Life Moments
We’ve all seen that one mom on social media. She posts all the wonderful things about her family. Around the holidays, your feed will likely be flooded with photos of her family trimming the tree, hanging up stockings, then snuggling by the fire (in matching argyle sweaters) eating s’mores - and somehow managing to not get marshmallow all over the place. That mom is the worst.
So, when you post a picture of your Christmas tree with only the top two-thirds decorated because your curious toddler just can’t seem to leave the ornaments on the bottom alone, it is awesome.
Everyone loves to see your real-life parenting moments. No, friends don’t want to see the pooh moments, but they absolutely do want to see the picture of the white pants you have to throw out because you made the mistake of giving your kiddo some chocolate while you were wearing them (RIP, all the white clothes).
Social media somehow became this place where everyone is on their best behavior. It’s a virtual way to keep up with the Jones’. So, a real-life picture is a breath of fresh air not only to the fellow-moms but to anyone who has logged on only to feel inadequate for some reason or another. So, post all those funny, dirty, sad, crazy real-life moments.
3 Moments to Share: Updates On YOU
You know why your friends added you on social media? It’s not because of your kid. It’s because of you. With the exception of a few random followers you’ve maybe accumulated over the years, most of the people who are reading your updates and looking at your photos know you as a person. It may be your high school friend, your college roommate, or even the neighbor you met at the community pool a year ago. Whoever it is is interested in you.
When you become a mom so much of your life becomes about your baby. It’s fair because most of your life is spent keeping that baby alive, raising that baby into a toddler, and watching that toddler grow into a kid who suddenly has soccer practice three times a week and swimming lessons two other nights. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of your kid. But, you’re still you, and people still care about what's going on with you.
So, make sure you fill your feed with a bit about you, too. Even if it’s something simple like updating your friends about your latest shopping trip or something big like a blog post about your mental health, your friends want to know. You are more than a mom to those people, despite how that toddler of yours may make you feel.
2 Moments To Share: Your Happy Family
In addition to your friends and followers loving you, they love your family and want to see all of you happy. No matter what your family looks like, whether it’s you and your baby or you, your husband, your baby, and your three dogs, your social media followers want to see you all happy and smiling.
Fun family pictures are always welcome on social media, as long as they are real-life.
As much as everyone enjoys a good Christmas-card-photo, they really love the pictures of you and your family on a Saturday afternoon playing with the water table in on the back patio.
Smiling faces, wet hair, and a lawn that desperately needs mowed make for a really great shot.
Even better than the genuine smiles, are the genuine laughs. Any time you can post a video (or, live story) of your family having fun that includes a baby giggle, it’s sure to get some likes and loves on social media. Because your friends, on top of loving you and your smiling family, will always love the sound of a little kid giggle. If your friends don’t love a kid-giggle, that is on them and has nothing to do with your post. In fact, unfriend anyone who doesn’t love a kid-giggle.
1 Moments To Share: All Of The Cute Moments
When it comes to posting about your kids on social media, there will always be a fine line between what is appropriate and what isn’t. What will people enjoy and what will make them roll their eyes and click “unfollow”.
What you can always count on, though, is people loving those classic silly moments. Baby bundled up in a giant coat and hat the first time it snows - no one can resist it. Spaghetti all over your toddler’s face - post that! Baby asleep in his jump-a-roo - instant success. There are just some moments that even though they aren’t the traditional milestones are just too cute to keep to yourself.
The majority of your followers know that a shot of your sleeping baby snuggled with his blanky and stuffed animal is an objectively cute picture. Your mom friends, in particular, will eat up the picture of your daughter snuggled on her dad’s lap while he reads her a bedtime story. And, there is a reason there are Instagram accounts dedicated to pictures of babies with dogs.
Go crazy with these kinds of posts, because they are real and sweet and way better to look at than another political rant - just make sure to stick to the one-or-two a day rule for good measure.