I want to be like Suzannah, who writes so honestly and openly about her parenting. I want to be brave–after all, I’m a Siren. It’s my job to sing.
As a Millenial and a new mom, I’ve got plenty of content to write about and share with friends, family, and all of you. There’s the unexpectedly brutal transition to motherhood, the many milestones my kid meets (or maybe doesn’t), and how all of this affects my relationship with my partner and my personal and professional life goals.
While I’m writing about all of this privately, I’m not posting about it. Even though I take dozens of pictures of my kid daily (at least), I won’t even post a public picture of me with them on Facebook. During maternity leave, I took a sabbatical from posting on social media altogether. I switched my Snapchat story to private. And even my Instagram has gone pretty quiet, with lots of #latergrams and occasional, vague mentions of my family. It doesn’t really get more detailed than this:
I’m a child of the Internet. I know the Internet is Forever. As excited as I am about this new stage in my life, I also feel a duty to protect my family. This goes beyond COPPA (which just protects what information is collected from Internet users younger than the age of 13) and facial-recognition data-mining. Simply: my kid is too young to consent to their image or story being plastered all over the Internet.
I’m avoiding parental overshare so I don’t inadvertently damage my child’s self-esteem or reputation.
I will openly share almost anything about myself. My husband, on the other hand, is a very private person. We don’t know what our kid will be like as they age or how they will feel about their digital identity, and it would be wrong to assume they would be okay with something they didn’t have any control over.
So I find a middle ground. Occasionally I might post, after the fact, to close family/friends-only about a holiday or our togetherness, and I leave the more intimate information for one-on-one conversations. I know that posting things–even privately–doesn’t mean they are actually private. I’m sure they could be hacked one way or another. But at least I want my kid to know that I made a conscious and deliberate effort to protect their anonymity and the experiences in their life. My barometer is to occasionally share if the anecdote truly seems harmless and probably wouldn’t embarrass my kid in a decade or century.