Before the days of social media and smartphone popularity, I remember when people carried photos of their children in wallets and purses. Whenever the topic of kids came up, out came the most recent photo of the youngins. Now, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, you don’t even have to wait for the topic to come up. Whether you’re interested or not, you’re going to see photos of people’s kids in your timeline.
As soon as I had my own child, I realized how addictive it is to share every feeding, smile and full diaper. Seriously, I once thought about posting a pic of my kid’s poopy diaper. I did post a photo of Liam moments after he was born to a private Facebook group I created just for that reason. I wanted to update my friends and family all at once without having to text and email people individually. It also kept me from oversharing to people who weren’t interested. Not every Facebook friend I have cares about the woes of late night feedings.
As parents, it’s easy to get lost in baby mania and forget there are folks who could care less although they won’t say it. While we feel our kids have revolutionized the concept of cuteness, there are people who aren’t moved. Some folks are so turned off by the baby banter that they create memes like this one, which I have to say is pretty funny.
In the same way parents compare their own paternal competence by watching other parents and kids on the playground, they do the same on social media.
If someone posts a video of their kid singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” it’s not uncommon for other parents to start wondering why their 3-week-old isn’t able to name all the state capitals. Social media emphasizes the real insecurity parents have about how well they’re doing as parents. When one of my FB pals mentioned that her kid was potty-trained at nine-months-old I couldn’t fight the urge to have Liam tested for every developmental quirk out there. The struggle is real, folks.