Follow these Social Media Rules to Not Be ‘That Mom’ or ‘That Dad’


Jan 25, 2016


You just brought a new human into the world, and you can’t get over the little 3.3-kilo bubble-smile that fills your life with meaning. Congrats and good news! You are about to discover the infinite joys of parenthood. Bad news: You might have an uncontrollable urge for using social media to document every instant of this emotional journey. Resist. You will lose every virtual friend you worked so hard to amass.

But don’t despair: This worst-case scenario is totally avoidable if you just ignore every natural instinct when your fingers hit the keyboard. If that proves impossible, which it probably will, then just follow these simple social media rules for parents. They may not keep your online life kid-free, but they will keep your online friends around.

Social media rules for parents: How not to be That Mom/Dad

Detailed updates of bodily functions are not cool.

Your baby’s first dirty diaper, the lack of taste in your mouth, the amount of milk you are capable of producing — none of it is acceptable. The arrival of a baby does not excuse you from regular online/public etiquette. If your non-mom friend suddenly posted an update on her bowel movements, you’d unfollow her. Well, surprise, surprise, she’ll do the same, even if it’s about your baby’s diaper.

If you can’t resist:

Tell us something funny. Mundane updates on digestive cycles are of no interest to anyone. But if your daughter peed all over your latest art purchase or chewed up an important page from your planner, we can all have a good laugh.

Everyone around is soooo helpful. And we soooo don’t care.

Your wonderful family has descended upon you to help rock your baby, make you tea, walk your dog and feed your goldfish. You’re living every new mother’s dream! But guess what: We don’t want to know. Those who aren’t as fortunate might find your bragging callous — and you never know where that will lead (probably to a glitter bomb). Others just don’t care. But don’t mistake the opposite as interesting, either. You never thought you’d be rocking your baby to sleep all alone at home while the dog is begging to be walked? Neither did a whole lot of other parents. You won’t find any sympathisers here.

If you can’t resist:

Share something balanced. Maybe you had a great morning getting a massage, but your plants are dying; your mother-in-law might be plotting to kill you, but she’s buying you jewelry to cover her tracks. (We didn’t say it has to be real!)

It’s a newsfeed, not a catwalk.

Young children are becoming increasingly aware of their appearance, which isn’t great for their self-esteem. Don’t fastforward the process by posting pictures of them before they can even pronounce haute couture! Your son in his baby tux or daughter in her tiny tutu might be adorable, but your friends are not buyers at a baby fashion show. It’s cute for one picture, not 672.

If you can’t resist:

Tell us what toys he is playing with, or what books she is reading. Even people who don’t have kids can take an interest in how your child is learning about the world. (They might even want to help by giving your baby smart presents!) Pint-sized overalls only elicit so much feigned interest.

Nobody’s keeping a checklist of milestones.

The exact latitude, longitude, and time of day (with picture reference) of when your baby began to sit up, roll over, fetch, shake hands, crawl, walk, babble and chew are not the most exciting events on anyone’s newsfeed. That’s what journals and scrapbooks are for. The four people in the world who want to know about and celebrate these events can be invited over to flip through the details. The rest of us would like to be spared.

If you can’t resist:

Share useful information or tips. Now that your baby is crawling everywhere, how did you baby-proof that glass table? What miraculous teething toy did you invent with stuff you found in your kitchen? Anything constructive that will help other parents will make us all like you more than if you seem competitive about milestones (that you had no control over).

Your baby is not you.

Repeat after us: “I am not my baby.” Your online life is yours. In addition to scientifically evaluating your popularity by the number of Likes it gets, your profile pictures serve a functional purpose of visual identification. Say an old high school friend is looking you up and wants to verify that he found the right Namrata — will a picture of your child help him figure that out? When folks who were perfectly normal, interesting, perhaps even cool, suddenly morph into a beaming, toothless face dressed in a milk-covered T-shirt, it marks the start of a slippery slope to domestic boredom. No holiday-in-Prague or drinks-with-girlfriends photos can rescue you from that descent.

If you can’t resist:

When you’re uploading that first photo after your transition to mommyhood, stare long and hard at the current one. Remind yourself that there is no turning back. And if that doesn’t work, find the most fun picture you can of your baby and you — mom-with-baby is marginally better than mom-becomes-baby.

If you’re uncertain about making good social media decisions, just take a break from social media entirely for a year. Leave your profile picture unchanged for more than 8 months and you’ll soon have friends stopping by to check on you. Then you can guilt them into babysitting — much more useful than a couple of Likes.

P.S. We’re looking at you, too, Social Media Dads.


Written By The Swaddle Team


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