“All I see all over Facebook now is engagements, weddings, and tons of babies!”
Chances are that if you’re between the ages of 21 and 35, you’ve heard or said something along those lines. The cliche is that as soon as you cross a certain invisible line, social media becomes one big “Look at my family!!!” advertisement.
It annoys some people, and I get why. Before I joined the parenting ranks, I admit that I too had at least a few thoughts along the lines of Hey champ, why don’t you post something besides your snot-covered kid for once?
The shift to a kid-filled feed brings home the reality that all those people posting are leaving behind the irresponsibility of the youth they cherished — and that you, probably, cherished with them. Each “Meet our new blessing!!!” means yet another friend straying from the path of freedom and debauchery to the path of PTO meetings and dad jeans. And if you’re holding on to every last fraying strand of your own youth and freedom but your partner (or your parent) is ready for kids, the constant reminder of that new life sitting out in the unknown can feel like watching the bottom-of-the-screen scroll on SportsCenter just showing the score of your favorite team losing, on repeat.
BUT: Since I’ve been indoctrinated into parenthood, I can happily admit that I’ve done a complete 180. Sorry! And also not sorry at all. I’m now that guy blowing your feed up with constant kid pictures, milestones, and hilarious (at least to me) moments. I can feel the theoretical heat from those who are tired of their feeds being dominated by everyone’s rugrats, but there are plenty of reasons why I just don’t care, and why I’m gonna keep them coming.
1. It’s better than what I used to post.
Obviously your social media feed reflects your life at the current moment: what you do with your time, what you believe, etc. Once you’re immersed in parenthood, it’s natural that those insights into your life will reflect kid stuff.
What some people seem to forget is what their timeline looked like pre-parenthood. My own personal social feed looked like a kind of debauchery-themed game of Clue. Any picture was “Kyle was drinking [drink] at [establishment] with [drunk friends].” Between stuff like that, my baseball pictures (“Here’s me throwing a baseball! Please don’t Google my stats”), or some random political hot take, anyone following me should be thankful that a cute kid now occupies my time instead.
2. Kids are hilarious.
One of the things I didn’t realize before becoming a parent is how much my son would just make me crack up. Kids are the most hilarious creatures on the planet without even trying, and unless it’s one of those days where he’s an absolute hellbeast from sunup to sundown, he likely did or said something that at least made me chuckle. Is it so bad to want to share that with other people?
There’s something special about kids’ innocence and the way they interact with the world, and it’s my personal pleasure to share the laugh-out-loud moments provided by my offspring. If a social media feed gets to be my own personal revival of Kids Say the Darndest Things, albeit with less Bill Cosby, I think that can only be a good thing.
3. It’s like keeping the greatest things about being a dad in my pocket.
There are two videos on my Instagram that I absolutely revere: one from my son greeting me at the airport, the other a display of pure joy during his first preschool Christmas pageant. Thanks to posting them on social media, I have them at my beck and call whenever I need a pick-me-up during a tough day, or just a reason to grin like an idiot. If you’re inclined to complain about being able to see those amazing moments too, I’m not sure how to help you.
4. I get to share my journey with other parents.
One of the cool things about parenthood, especially with a first child, is that I’ve suddenly joined this fraternity of people who are all going through a lot of the same things I am. So while I may annoy a few followers, anytime I share a “Guess what my kid just did!” moment, I also get plenty of “Been there!” or “That stage is so fun.” I’ve gotten to connect with parents both five miles and five states away from me, just through those posts.
I also get plenty of tips and just simple reassurance that I’m not blowing it, which, when it comes to parenting, is huge. I’ve yet to meet a parent who thinks they’re always doing it right 100% of the time. The older you get, the more people who follow you are going through the same things, whether it be diapers, tantrums, or any other little quirk that comes with raising kids. Your childless friends will still stay your friends, but you can’t really understand the parenting lifestyle until you’re living it, so being able to share and interact with other parents has been incredibly beneficial and rewarding.
5. It’s my personal scrapbook.
My mother, bless her heart, has kept full scrapbooks and diaries since birth for me and my siblings. They’re great treasures to me, and I love flipping through them. But, while I inherited many things from my mom, the dedication required to make such a tangible set of memories isn’t one of them. That’s why I love being able to use Facebook and Instagram as instant scrapbooks. I’d feel like I were doing myself (and eventually my son) a disservice if I didn’t keep adding important photos and experiences to my accounts.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing, which is why the “On This Day” feature is probably my favorite part of Facebook. And while I do love seeing an old picture from five or six years ago of my friends and me, nothing melts me like seeing a picture of my now-toddler back in his early infant days. Time moves so fast that you forget quickly what happened last week, much less last year — so I’m going to keep filling up my feed with every child milestone and great moment while I can.
6. The people who matter actually care.
I grew up in what ended up being the last generation whose pictures weren’t instantly available to out-of-town relatives and loved ones, and until I became a father I didn’t realize how amazing that really is. I realize now that the reason grandmas back in the day used to squeeze the hell out of your cheeks and obsess over how much you’ve grown is because they literally hadn’t seen you in months. And I can relate: If I even go a day or two without seeing my son, I like to get some pictures just to see what he’s up to and how things are going.
A few months ago, I posted a picture collage commemorating my little man’s birthday. Obviously it racked up the likes, because who’s going to deny a cute 2-year-old that click? But most importantly, I noticed that among the likers were my grandparents and aunt and uncles.
My out-of-town relatives love any chance to gush over him and tell me how much they appreciate the pictures, especially when they only get to come visit once or twice a year. I enjoy getting the chance to share watching him grow with anyone emotionally invested in the little guy, so I’m going to keep posting milestone after milestone.
7. I’m proud!
Rarely do people post anything on social media because they’re ashamed of it. Every picture, every hot take, every joke that probably isn’t that funny — you’re putting it out there for a reason. It only makes perfect sense that the thing in the world I’m most proud of and want to show off the most (my son) would be the focus of 99% of my social content.
I’m not showboating about the amazing job I’m doing (honestly, it’s complete luck that I haven’t already blown it as a parent); there’s just nothing that makes me prouder or happier than literally anything my 2-foot-tall Mini Me does. His funny moments, his cute smiles, the first Easter egg hunt or pony ride — it’s all fantastic to me, and you better believe I want to share it with anyone who will listen.
So naysayers may lament that their social timeline has turned into a makeshift Babies 'R’ Us catalog, but frankly, I’m gonna keep on keeping on. Block me if you want, but from my point of view, I’m a free source for the best kind of content on earth.