Sharing about My Children Online

8.04.2017


Ten months ago, I wrote this post about what I personally felt comfortable sharing about my children online. I outlined some basic "rules" and explained a bit of my thought process. Nearly a year later, I wanted to share a few things I've been thinking about lately.

Deciding what to share or not share about your children online is a personal choice. Some people share a lot, much more than I personally feel is necessary. Some people choose to not share anything at all, which I completely understand but is kind of a bummer because I love seeing pictures of sweet babies! This wasn't always the case for me, but I've entered a stage of life where I can't really get enough of people talking about motherhood. Like I mentioned in my last post, I know I've mostly become a "mom blogger," but that's just a natural shift based on the two humans I've added to my world in the last couple of years. I can't imagine not sharing any photos or stories about my kids.

In looking back over the post I wrote ten months ago, I am happy to say that I've stuck to my original goals as far as what I feel comfortable sharing about R online. Now that J is here and as R has gotten older, I feel even more strongly about protecting what I post online about my children.

You may or may not have noticed, but I haven't been posting many photos of R and J on the blog recently. I do post a couple, but I want to scale back from the amount I've posted in the past. I wouldn't say I've posted an excessive amount of R over the past two years, but I want to post even less of her moving forward, and I want to post less of J overall. I've also been experimenting with different angles and things to take photos of them without showing their faces full on.
*I realize this picture is insanely blurry, but it was such a sweet (and quick!) moment and I kind of love everything about it.

Don't get me wrong: I love taking pictures of my kids, and I love showing them off. I love talking about them. But I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I would want there to be lots of pictures and stories of Baby Amanda floating around on a blog somewhere for anyone see and read, and the answer is: no, I wouldn't. So I am going to try and honor my kids by posting fewer photos in public spaces and posting fewer stories specifically about them. I will post about my own journey in motherhood, because those are my stories, but I will keep their stories mainly off the blog. 

Something new I'm doing for J is not posting monthly updates. He turned one month old a few weeks ago, and I intentionally did not post an update--not because I was too busy or because I forgot, but because I didn't want to. I wrote a full update in his baby book, which has space for twelve months of updates, and I think that's all he needs. (By the way, I have this baby book for J and love it!)

I started feeling near the end of R's monthly updates that perhaps posting things like that contributes to our sense of comparison as mothers. Yes, it's fun to see what another baby is doing and be able to say, "My baby is doing that too!" But what if your baby isn't? I don't want my blog to be a place where anyone feels stressed out or less than because my baby is doing something theirs isn't. I guess I just don't see a place for monthly updates about J on the blog this time, although I'm sure I will occasionally share things he's up to!

I will say that it has gotten easier to post fewer pictures of my children the more time goes on. At first I wanted to post all the pictures, but now it's much easier to only post one every so often. I like feeling like I am being intentional about what I choose to share, and I try to always respect R and J as people and not post anything embarrassing or physically revealing.

As always, I am very interested in your thoughts! This is such a personal topic, and everyone is going to have a different opinion about it. We all need to do what feels most comfortable for us and for our families. The main thing is that I hope all moms are respectful of their children when posting to the internet and intuitional about what they choose to post.

Do you post about your children online? Why or why not?
What are some "rules" you have when considering what to post?
Have you ever felt like you publicly shared something about your child that you wish you hadn't?

23 comments:

  1. I think about this all the time. I really love your view on monthly updates for J. That's just refreshing to hear your reasoning for that. I read them all the time when G was little, and they often stressed me out. I don't mind if someone shares them AT ALL, but it's hard not to compare babies! Mostly because it took her an eternity to walk which started to wear on me when babies were walking so much younger, but that is neither here nor there!

    I've tried to share less and less on my blog about Gracie and that's felt pretty natural, especially pictures. Occasionally I can't resist. I'm a little more lenient on FB and Instagram since they're both as private as can be and I'm choosy about who follows me/I'm friends with. I take it case by case and listen to my gut and try to think about what could scandalize her down the line. If I'm not sure, I don't post it. I still mess up and there are certainly things I've gone back and deleted. I don't think I'll ever have perfectly clear rules and boundaries, but I'm working on it. It's hard being the first generation of parents navigating this issue!

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  2. Ugh. I really struggle with this. I am SUCH an oversharer. I really can't help it- it's the way I'm wired. We recently had something kind of major happen in our family and my Mom had to explicitly ask me not to post it on my blog because "honesty is your virtue."

    That's terrible- I'm 29 years old and my Mom has to tell me to shut my mouth because I'm incapable of omitting the smallest (or biggest) details of my life.

    Of course this doesn't mean I'll be toning down the oversharing of my boys anytime soon. I feel like motherhood has made me kind of morbid and I want my boys to have a record of our lives together should the worst ever happen. I realize I could just write it in a baby book, or set up their own email accounts, but I also like writing publicly because it makes me feel like I'm less isolated and in more of a community as a Mom.

    I think you've managed to strike the perfect balance.

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    1. It is such a personal topic, and I think as long as a mom is comfortable with what they share, that's great! It's strange because generations before ours didn't have to think about this! I just wonder what it will look like in ten or twenty years and whether our kids will be happy or not with what we shared about them. I do love reading blogs written by people who are in my stage of life with kid of similar ages. It's nice to not feel so alone sometimes for sure :)

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  3. This is a topic that my husband and I discussed before Baker was born but honestly, I haven't given it much though since, which is not necessarily a good thing. Since becoming a mother, my blogging has definitely taken a back seat but I have at least tried to do a monthly update with a lot of pictures. Now that she is a year, those will stop and I'm really not sure if I will continue to blog. However, I have said that these post are 100% for my record so I wouldn't mind considering make my blog private and only share with family. I've never really been concerned about sharing her name but maybe I should be. Definitely something to seriously consider. There is so much crazy, scary stuff in the world and it's awful that we even have to think about this kind of thing. I have shared diaper pictures and bathtub pictures (waist up or censored) of Baker but since she is a baby, haven't really thought much about it. As children get older, I do think it is important to respect their privacy. I recently read a blog post about a parent sharing how her five or six year old daughter was acting out and throwing these awful tantrums. She said on her blog that she was going to start taking the child to see a counselor and I felt like she was oversharing. I get that she was trying to be transparent and share the bad with the good but as a teenager, I would have been humiliated for the world to be able to find out that I was a horrible child and had to see a professional about it. I think you are doing what is best for you and your children and appreciate you sharing this to make me and others think about what we are sharing.

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    1. I do think it's good to reevaluate where you are at with it every so often, just to make sure you are posting things that line up with what you want to share. It is hard to balance being honest and transparent with oversharing something potentially embarrassing or private about a child.

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  4. I have always just left my blog open and have shared pictures but I would never share anything that would embarrass him in any way. I feel like some people overshare for sure!! I guess it's each persons own choice though. I have found it super helpful being able to look back at things for reference like completing his baby book and stuff like that. I still blog at least once a month or so but I have a feeling it will start to be less just because I feel like I can taper off posting photos. I still love reading blogs especially blogs that talk about children my own childs age. It gives me an idea of what to expect as he gets older. I know some people compare and may worry but I am not really much of a worrier so I like reading that stuff. All kids are different and do things at different times.

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  5. I think about this ALL the time too. My philosophy is to share a bit more on Facebook and Instagram because I have those set on private, but for my blog, to cut way back after Caleb turned one. When he was a baby, I shared tons of photos and updates on the blog, but I felt that as he got older, I needed to give him more privacy. Now, I only share maybe one to two photos of him a month on the blog, and like you, I try to be mindful and share photos where his face may be hidden too, if I can. I am also trying to share more about MY experience as motherhood, as you said, then personal details of HIS life. We have very similar ideas in this!

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  6. It's an interesting time in technology for us to be living and sharing stories/photos/experiences. I can't imagine that battle as a mother. Sometimes I go to post something on FB about my day or I start to write up a little rant, but then I stop and wonder, "Why am I sharing this? Does it really matter? Will I feel this way tomorrow? A year from now will I look back and go, 'So what?'?" Capturing events and specials moments is important to me, but before I share it with the (FB/blog/IG) world I try to remember to ask myself if I *really* want it out there.
    Since I blog and K does not, I try very hard to protect his privacy. I rarely use his name (although most of my frequent readers know it) and I only post stories/conversations/experiences that I've run past him. Hopefully I will carry that same caution into posts about kids when we have them.

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  7. Young House Love just did a really good podcast on this topic! I quit blogging and set my Instagram to private about 10 months after Amelia was born, because I just didn't feel comfortable sharing everything publicly anymore. I still share a lot, but I feel better knowing that it's with people I somewhat know.

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  8. This is such a unique topic because every has such different opinions on it. One of my biggest stipulations with sharing in a public space is to never post a naked photo of A. Of course, when she was a BABY BABY a few diaper pics snuck in, but once she was more of a person (does that even make sense???) I decided to never post any because I don't want her to google herself in 15 years and be totally embarrassed. I also have tried to tone down sharing anything embarrassing for her, or too behavioral that should just be between my family and I. I've considered making her second birthday the real cutoff for limiting what I share, I feel like 2 is a good age to really start taking their personal privacy into account. Of course, it's really just the world we live in these days, and times have changed since we were little. I'm sure if my mom had instagram and a blog and facebook she would have shared tons of photos of me too. I hate that I only have blurry old school photos in a photo album to look back on sometimes. I think you just have to decide what you're comfortable with - and for me, if I'm going to share a photo with my friends and family anyways, and it might make another mom smile, then it really doesn't bother me. But again, to each their own. Every time I post I do always think, "if my daughter finds this online in 15 years, will she be mad that I posted it?"

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    1. It is very personal and different for each mom! As long as we are all being intentional about what we post in a way that feels comfortable for us and our families, I think that's ok. But I do personally agree about naked photos. For me that feels really inappropriate to share in such a public space. I don't even think I've taken a photo of her naked at all, actually!

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  9. I remember agreeing with your points on the post 10 months ago! I think my approach is pretty similar to yours. I post so infrequently as it is that I don't THINK I'm overdoing it on photos of Ava. I have been thinking about what to do on the monthly updates (or not) of Owen. I think I'll probably do them, but they probably won't be as detailed as the ones I did for Ava (not that I think I overshared on hers - I'm comfortable with what I put.) because I'm kind of exhausted just thinking about having to write an update every month and then every three months for the second year (like I have with her). I don't scrapbook or journal or do baby books though and I just don't see myself starting to do those things, so the blog it will be for updates!

    Anyway. Thanks for sharing what you do of motherhood and your kiddos. I like the creativity that comes with having pictures of the kids that don't necessarily show their faces!

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  10. Such a personal decision. For me, I choose to err on the side of over-protecting my kids' privacy because I simply don't know how they're going to feel about having their pictures and stories all over the Internet when they're older. So I don't post pictures of their faces or use their names, and I always let my older kids read my blog which keeps me ever-mindful of not wanting to share any details they might find embarrassing. I try to share mostly my stories and thoughts, and those will often touch on my family since they are obviously a large part of my life. But I try very hard to respect their privacy.

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  11. It's definitely a personal decision and everyone has their reasons. I've been very particular as of late in regards to what I post of my daughter. I also stopped doing monthly updates, not because I'm not proud of her milestones but because I don't want to overshare.

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  12. I try to strike a balance between sharing but not over sharing and it's tough! For me, I am thinking about the angle thing too. However, I watch my followers like a hawk to make sure I am comfortable with who follows me. And, I have always kept my location somewhat ambiguous because you never know. My big thing with motherhood is sharing things from my perspective and not sharing anything that could be embarrassing- making it my story.

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  13. I went through this same thing after I had Gwen. I posted everything with Wyatt, but after Gwen I decided I didn't want my kids faces all over Google, so I posted pictures that didn't show their faces. I still mainly stick to that, though I include family photos or the occasional photo of the kids because I know a lot of my long-time blog friends like to see updates every now and then! I still do monthly posts, but I totally understand and like your reasons for choosing to not. I only do monthly updates up until a year, because I honestly don't think there are too many basic baby details they can be embarrassed about later in life (stats, sleep updates, crawling updates, etc - at least I wouldn't find those embarrassing). But after they get older than a year I keep it more minimal. I think it's good to think about this stuff and decide what we are comfortable with and what we aren't!

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  14. So interesting that this happens to be the very first blog post I've read since Baby V arrived. I had been so back and forth about what I wanted to share once she arrived and then once she was here I realized that I just really don't want to share much of anything publicly. At least not yet. Maybe I'll change my mind later. I didn't realize just how much my mind would be taken over by all things baby, though. I have other blog post ideas for things I could write about, but I find that I'd rather just sit here and stare at my baby. And think about baby stuff. And since Christopher is home for this month we have just really enjoyed spending time together the three of us. Which is why my Feedly is overflowing with unread blog posts at the moment. I just happened to open it up today while feeding Baby V and saw the title of this blog post. I'm not against sharing about kids online, I just think - at least right now - it's not something I want to do. I think you've struck a really good balance of sharing for someone who has a public blog. You make a good point about the difference between sharing YOUR stories regarding motherhood and not as many stories about your kids specifically.

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  15. So interesting to read this and all the comments. It's definitely so difficult, even as someone without kids yet, to decide what to share and what's too private. I try to keep our last name private, so far I don't *think" anyone can find it online. I keep my instagram private so I share more on there than on my blog, and whenever I blog a story that involves my family members, I send them the draft and ask them if it's okay to share. I can only imagine how much more difficult it gets when kids are involved! I think you're doing a great job though, and your kiddos are lucky to have a mom who is so aware of how these decisions will affect them!

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  16. Obviously, I'm definitely okay with posting pictures of my kids :p But! A few rules that I always insist on are no underwear/diaper pictures, no bath time pictures, no potty training talk or pictures(I deleted/removed any and all mention of this for Abigail a while ago), and I am super cautious and careful with swimsuit pictures as well.

    I definitely understand where you are coming from though, and for sure reevaluate from time to time for myself and my girls what I should or shouldn't be sharing. But at this point in time, I'm happy with how I do things.

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  17. Following your lead, I decided to do a name announcement post, but I'll probably leave it at that and do limited photos and not mention her name again. I do; however, really want to write about motherhood because I feel like there are so many topics that others can relate to. I've found myself pouring over previous blog posts from other moms (sometimes reading them twice for assurance). It's good to know that for every issue I have in these early stages, another mom out there was going through the same thing (sleepy baby, difficult to feed, need to pump to supplement). I think you are doing an amazing job of balancing this!

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  18. i think this is so interesting and i love to hear other people's opinions. you are right, it is definitely very personal. i do think the oversharing can lead to comparing, which sucks. i don't know if i want to share a lot when i have kids, but like you, i love pictures of babies! i love hearing about babies and what works for other people. and a lot of bloggers i follow, i feel like i am actually friends with. so it's like if we went out to coffee (neither of us drink coffee) i'd expect you to talk about your kids and share pictures, and i would too (if i had them, can i interest you in some cats?) so i forget sometimes that blogs are online and not just sharing between friends.

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  19. I have never really thought about sharing milestones and stressing other mom's out with that information if their kid isn't there yet. I can see how that could happen though! I share monthly updates and pictures right now, but I have a feeling I will be sharing a lot less when Z turns one.

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  20. You know how I handle this, so I won't bore you with that, but I will say that I really appreciate how much thought you've put into this and love that you're sharing about motherhood and less about your children specifically. I love that! I also really like seeing updates on people's kids but I agree it can lead to the comparison game.

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