If I Don't Post Pictures of My Kids, Do You Think I'm Fake?
Maybe it was reading Ann Leary's The Children and realizing about 16 pages in that I had already read it. In fact, I must have taken it from the local Little Free Library, read it, returned it, and then it circled around the neighborhood for a year or so only for it to reappear in that same Little Free Library box for me to look at and think, "Oo, Ann Leary, I liked The Good House," and yeah...is it weird that I don't want to post pictures of my kids online?
One of the characters lives in her dead stepfather's lake house and is a professional mommy blog writer-influencer, with lucrative Diaper Industry advertising, but is actually not a mother in any sense of the word, and can never let her unsuspecting public know she is a fake. A hoax. She LIES upon a bed of LIES.
That was the plot point that made me realize I had already read the book. It's pretty distinct. I guess her brands didn't vet their mommy blogger influencer properly. I am beyond thrilled that there ARE people out there giving blogs the sniff test. Fake mommy bloggers. They're for real (yes, I DO crack myself up).
That was ALSO the plot point that made me start this post. I'm not killing the book for you, it really was early on in the book that narrator explains how she makes a living. Good book. Pretty sure I just did another stellar job recommending something. You're welcome, Ann.
Getting to the point.
I feel kind of weird putting pictures of my kids online. Maybe it's old fashioned worry about potential creepers. Maybe it's high tech concern over biases in facial recognition software. Maybe I just wonder what it will be like when they're in high school, and embarrassing baby pictures are no longer something that can only be found by showing up at my actual house and digging out photo albums (which also presupposes that I'm putting together photo albums).
I remember listening to Young House Love Has a Podcast pre-children (for me, they already had kids) as they debated the thin line between sharing and oversharing children online. It's not that I think folks who want to post adorable photos of their kids on Facebook and Insta and wherever the cool kids hang out now are necessarily bad people. I love to see photos of the sweet kiddos I barely get to see - COVID really does make the heart grow fonder! Pre-pandemic, schedules were hard enough to align, even for those in geographical striking distance.
I just don't know - is it a massive privacy invasion or simply the way we share things now? If my mom didn't have to drive to a store and drop off a roll of film, then pick it back up, write dates on the back, put the prints in albums, mail them to relatives, but could point and click her phone and make sure all her aunts could drop a heart emoji on my face, why wouldn't she have enjoyed the modern ease and taken one more thing off her parental to do list?
I mean, I started a blog. I'm probably going to write about my kids sometimes. Is print easier to maintain privacy? Do I believe that my children are so cute that they would break the internet if I posted photos, while relatively few people will sit down and read this? (Yes, they are that cute. Son and Daughter would END you with their cuteness. Son was born with the kind of hair Sampson would have envied. I took him for a cut at 9 months and the stylist thought I had put a wig on him. Daughter rocks the Pebbles poof like no one's business. That's just their hair. Their faces are a delight. And so forth).
I'm certainly not afraid that I will become an influencer and be accused of using my children to market a lifestyle. I think no one is going to accuse me of setting up a blog to showcase a perfect family, and launch a multimedia empire on the back of that hollow perfection. Or carefully constructed imperfection, same same. I LOVE when a perfectly curated Instagram has a post put up, like, my house is a mess too! This caption is either on an actual mess (why yes, that is a pair of dinosaur underwear draped across a prone stuffed Elmo, himself laying face down on a ripped up Amazon box, thank you for noticing how I chose to style this corner of my living room), or you see three toys strewn so artfully that you can almost read the name of the carver who handmade the wooden playthings. Real mess ain't tasteful.
I don't even post my kids on my private account. I am sure they will come to me at 13 (or 7, the way technology appears to be going), begging to get the cornea implant that allows them to record every second of their day and share it with the world. I have no idea what I will say. I'll have to figure out the balance between letting kids express themselves and connect on a medium they choose, while protecting them from the dangers they won't see clearly until they're about 27.
At the end of my internal debate, to share or not to share, I usually shut myself up with a simple, I'll let them choose. Later. Later sounds good.
Considering Son has started to demand he pose next to random objects and then get the picture sent to Daddy, that may be sooner than I think.
Back to my real question - do you, Reader, think that my children are real? Or are we past the more innocent days of LiveJournal and MySpace, where we believed the internet was a place to safely conne--- yeah it was never all that safe, I found my young self on internet chatrooms wondering what exactly this random dude meant by "make you cum" ? AOL was a wild, wild world. Do you remember the song lyrics you had saved on your AIM away message? You know they were heartbreaking and spoke to your innermost soul.
Of course, I'm addressing the two random folks who stumbled on this blog outside of friends I've mentioned it to (Hi E, K, and C!) Or I'm writing to myself, in some kind of Inception-style Matrix-loop. Is it odd to have a desire to PUT IT OUT THERE, have some things to say and decide to put them in a public venue where anyone could agree or get enraged, and yet still want to keep my family mostly private?
I suppose I'll keep on as long as this remains an outlet. You can believe me or not. Either I'm a crazy person keeping the details of her faux-family on a spreadsheet for consistency, or I'm sleep deprived and muddling along as best I can. (OR the mention of sleep deprivation is just cover for anytime I mess up details and you are like PLOT HOLE I SEE YOU CRAZY WOMAN).
I guess you'll never know.