Millions of parents are choosing to share their child's most humiliating moments on social media. Zoe Arnold asks where we should draw the line.
I was doing some research online (okay, reading random items I've googled) and I stumbled across a gem of a blog called There's no place like Mommy.
I was reading it in the first place because the author had made some comments about day care that I was interested in. But then I stumbled across this passage:
Wow. A whole blog entry about her son pooing.
Now, don't get me wrong: as a parent of young children, I know how tough potty training is, and how exciting every milestone is. But is it right for mothers to be sharing this online?
Why? Because little Aiden will be 18 soon. And then 21, and 25. A grown man, who will have his potty-training exploits in black and white — forever.
It got me thinking: have we become a world of over-sharers?
Facebook, Instagram, twitter, Pinterest … they are all tools to share ourselves with others online. They're great: interesting, informative and addictive.
But when does sharing turn into over-sharing?
Personally, I love reading about other kids online. The internet is awesome: you can find information about anything, even Aiden's bowel movements.
But some people think there are things we should keep to ourselves.
This past week has seen the publication of STFU Parents: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare, a book based on a blog of the same name by a New Yorker called Blair Koenig.
Ms Koenig is funny. She posts other people's Facebook posts on her blog when she deems they've "overshared" about their children's lives, and she mocks them in the process. It makes for funny reading, but is it fair?
I don't think anyone who uses social media isn't guilty of over-sharing. On my Instagram account, I largely post photos of my children. I keep my settings on private, and if no one wants to see my daily life, I couldn't give a damn if they stop following.
We share because we can. Social media is what connects us 2013. It allows the isolation and, frankly, frequent boredom of parenthood to be shared and experienced with others.
No, I don't really care about the turd sizes of children the whole world over. But, if my best friend's kid pooped in the bath, I'd expect her to share it with me. So I can laugh with her, and commiserate at how bloody disgusting parenting can be at times.
Yes, it's a beautiful thing to be part of a little person's life as they grow up; but sometimes literally your entire day is spent changing their dirty nappies while your infant screams at you. Oh, and if you're a breastfeeding mother of a newborn, you'll probably be lactating all over the place while trying to change said dirty nappies.
It ain't glamorous.
So mums get on Facebook and share. They share about their kids' bowel motions. They share about how many times their baby screamed last night. They feel a little bit better about their all-consuming day, and maybe a friend shares a similar story back.
And besides, no one on Facebook wants to read about how smart your kid is.
Reading about them pooing in the bath is much funnier.