Why I Wonâ€™t STFU About My Daughter On Facebook
Before I had my daughter, I was determined not to flood my social media streams with annoying pictures, posts and updates about her. I read all the sites that made fun of parents who do annoying things like live tweet contractions and describe dilated cervices on Facebook.
I would be cooler. I had single friends. I had professional contacts. I had dignity.
One week after my daughter was born, I uploaded 50 photos of her to Facebook. My sister messaged me to let me know that I was already clogging her newsfeed. â€œSo block me,â€ I wrote. After that, I began my days as an unrepentant oversharer of the parent variety. Iâ€™m the one you hate and I donâ€™t really care.
Parenting is a scary and often isolating journey. In those early days, during maternity leave, she and I would spend hours together staring at one another.Â Too tired for playdates or coffee dates, I spent much of my time holding my daughter while she ate, cried, or slept. When I did put her down, I made food or showered or on the rare occasion, I vacuumed.Â Late night feedings could take hours and I didnâ€™t always have the wherewithal to read my massive tome on the history of cancer or that sprawling literary novel. So I tweeted and Facebooked. I wrote things like, â€œFerber is harder on me than her!â€ And â€œMy boobs are going to fall off!â€ Yes, they were stupid. But the replies, the â€œLikes,” the community that built up around me during those rough early days was invaluable.
â€œHang in there, mama!â€
â€œBabies are evil!â€
And, â€œTake her for a drive. That will put her to sleep.â€
Those simple comments, more often than not, pushed me back from the ledge of crazy. One afternoon, as I struggled to get my daughter to nap, I felt and exhaustion-induced panic rise in my throat. I started sobbing. Just give me one moment alone! I screamed into a pillow while I listened to my daughterâ€™s wails from the other room.Â So, I posted on Facebook. â€œIf this baby doesnâ€™t go the #(*%$(^* to sleep, I might die.â€
Seconds later, my friend, with a 3-year-old daughter, replied, â€œHang in there. You are a good mom. She can cry for a bit. Put your computer in her room, turn on some white noise and jump into the shower. Youâ€™ll get a break.â€
I did just that. Five minutes later. I came out of the bathroom, clean, relaxed and my daughter was sleeping.Â Not every overshare brought such magical results, but just the ability to share and reach out to a community of women who loved and supported me, even if they thought I was a smidge crazy, made all the difference.
When my daughter had difficulty napping, Twitter helped me figure out a better napping schedule. When I had problems making food for her lunch, Facebook friends had excellent suggestions.
Iâ€™m sure I annoy people. But I donâ€™t care. Do I love it when people â€œLikeâ€ a picture of my daughter? Sure. But I donâ€™t live and die by affirmations of her cuteness. Iâ€™m a doting parent, but I donâ€™t expect everyone to love my daughter as much as I do or be thrilled with Instagrammed pictures of her throwing food. But if you donâ€™t want to see it. You donâ€™t have to.Â Other people annoy me all the time with their pictures of food and updates about their cat. I rarely block them and I donâ€™t leave them angry messages because my annoyance levels say more about me than it does about my fellow oversharers. And I hope other people on the internet give me that same level of grace.Â If they donâ€™t they are free to block me from their newsfeeds. I wonâ€™t be offended.
At its core, social media is community. And when you have a baby and you are going insane, because all of a sudden you have to care for this mewling little creature on zero sleep while your boobs bleed and your vagina aches, that community is a wonderful valuable place to be.
So, go ahead. Overshare. Iâ€™ll be the first to write you back with a little, â€œHang in there, mamaâ€ or â€œYour baby is so cute!â€ comment for your human baby or your feline baby, whatever. Because whatever else the internet is, it is at its best when we are supportive and loving.