I’m at the age where my Facebook newsfeed has turned into a sea of baby and bump photos. I truly love seeing the joy and happiness that the little ones bring, but I’ve also got a running list of pet peeves from my parenting Facebook friends.
We all know that us childless friends can be hella annoying to parents (I’m sure I often am!) but here are the things that grind my gears about parents on social media:
I love when parents celebrate the growth and progress of their little ones with monthly photos, but I am getting tired of the parents wishing their babies “Happy birthday!” every month. Some even do cake and candles every month. Really?
Have they all forgotten that birthdays are the day on which we were born? They are not ALL the days in the months that share the same numeral as a baby’s birthday. Birthdays occur annually and the term can stretch to “half-birthdays” which would be the six month mark between birthdays. Everything else is not a birthday and people sound silly referring to them as such.
Sure, babies are at an age where we describe their age in days, weeks and months, but that still doesn’t make any of those milestones a birthday. I am 327 months old today, but it would sound pretty darn ridiculous if someone wished me a “Happy 327 month birthday.” It doesn’t sound any less silly when people try to make every month until 1, 2 or 3 years into a birthday for their child.
Jane is going on a trip while pregnant. This means baby is going on the trip too, technically. I say “technically” because “technically” the baby is not considered alive until they come into this world, you know, on their “birthday” as we previously discussed.
Personally, I believe the baby needs to be born before people can start documenting his or her visits to places. I would say “My mother went to Maine while she was pregnant with me.” but I would never say that “I went to Maine.” because it is not actually true. My mother would never have uploaded a photo of herself titled “Baby’s first trip to Maine” while she was carrying me because that sounds bizarre.
Otherwise known as “vacation” where people happen to be pregnant. Do we really need a special term for this? We travel a lot guys, I’m spoiled… what will I do… declare that I’m going on like five babymoons? And all of them I will document how much baby enjoyed its visit to Italy or Ohio or whatever.
I don’t like the term babymoon because like the traditional honeymoon term, it is thrown around with the idea that this is the one big trip before people maybe never travel again, as if your life will be over when baby arrives. Maybe that’s true, but I just think the term is excessive. Unless I have hyperemesis gravidarum, I plan on traveling multiple times while pregnant and then again when the baby is born. (Yeah, yeah… laugh it up parents when I eat my words later!)
We’ve all entered a Twitter contest or two before, but don’t be that person people have to de-friend when they enter 10 baby contests per day and stop posting real content entirely. I will re-follow people post-birth when they stop with the contest spam. Or maybe not?
I’m always irritated by people who aimlessly drive around the block wasting gas because their baby is asleep and then try to blame it on the baby and look for commiseration on social media. If they want to waste fuel, money and time driving the baby around, they shouldn’t blame it on the baby. We all feel bad for folks with cranky, colicky, never-sleeping babies, but this is a blatant waste of an increasingly limited natural resource and the parent, the adult, made the decision to keep driving. They’ll find no pity here!
I’ve only really noticed first time parents doing this. Funnily enough, this “keep the baby sleeping” trick doesn’t work as well when there is a toddler blabbering in the back about how they want a snack or need to go potty.
FWIW, my mother of nine children never kept driving us around because the current baby was asleep. If people are going to have more than one child, they might as well start practicing the baby-in-car to baby-in-house transition. I’ve heard you get bonus points if you successfully transition a sleeping baby to a crib.
I have so much beef with these scans. I think the technology is amazing and it’s exciting that parents can see their children’s faces before birth, but I do not want to see a picture of a baby covered in amniotic fluid squished in my friend’s womb.
It’s just… too personal for me. Maybe they’ll also upload some pictures of their endoscopy for us to see, no wait… they wouldn’t do that. Or would they?? I don’t know any more. Can we just wait until the baby has been safely born and cleaned up a little before we start posting pictures of him or her on social media?
I mean… how would you feel if your slimy, distorted face was paraded around the internet before you were born? Would you be OK with that decision being made for you? I would be fine if my mother only shared pictures like this with family privately. I actually don’t even necessarily need to see photos of babies covered in blood and placenta. I’m sure people should take them if they want the photos, but again… maaaybe not for the whole world to see?
Even worse are when people use their 4D scan as their profile or cover photo, or both. When it’s their profile photo, every time they show up in my newsfeed I can see their fetus again. Remember… until a baby is born, it is still a fetus inside a womb. Not all friends and family might appreciate seeing a fetus all throughout their newsfeed, even if they are over-the-moon excited for you to become a parent.
This seems to be one of the most irresistible crimes and I can totally see why. It seems harmless. There is no sweeter face in the world than someone’s own baby’s, of course they want to post their baby’s beautiful face everywhere they can! But it irks me because this is supposed to be their profile photo, not their baby’s. It violates their baby’s online privacy and misrepresents who they are.
Profile photos represent who we are every time we make a comment or post online and sometimes those comments might not be appropriate to appear like they are coming from a baby. How does it look to friends when it appears like someone’s baby is complaining about the weather, the situation in Iraq or explaining views on breastfeeding in public?
If we would turn the tables, how many of us would be weirded out if our mothers made our picture their profile photo and then started posting all over Facebook? Would you be upset if it appeared like you were making statements that were really your mother’s thoughts and words? I would find it really strange if my mother did that.
From the privacy perspective, most profile photos are always public. On Facebook, we can hide old ones, but current ones are visible to people even if they are not friends. Do people want strangers or people they are not friends with anymore to be able to see pictures of their little one because they use them as their profile photo or cover photo? It is something to be aware about.
After reading more and more about digital trust funds and the privacy of children who grow up with their whole life on display on the Internet, I have some conflicted feelings about posting photos of children online. Kay and I haven’t decided how we would handle it some day, but personally I draw the line at using my own baby’s images as my own profile picture without their permission. I still want to be “me” even if I am a mother one day. If I want a baby picture as my profile picture, I will use one of myself as a baby. That way it is still me in the photo!
Aside from the public profile photos issue, I think sharing a photo of parents and baby together as a profile picture is a much more realistic representation of people as parents. Pictures of people with their babies, spouses, friends, etc have always been fine for me because they still show people being themselves with their loved ones.
And for those very concerned with privacy, pictures of pets or symbol pictures always seem a safe bet. I’m just always surprised when friends who always had a non-personal photo switch to a picture of their baby almost immediately after giving birth or when strong, independent women do the same thing. By using just a photo of their baby, it always feels a bit to me like they are throwing away a bit of their former self as they fall head over heels in love with this new little person.
So… those are my peeves. They are just some small things I notice all over and wonder why certain people do them and others not. Overall, I am happy to be able to witness my friends’ kids growing up when in another generation, this would have been impossible. And seeing the outpouring of love and joy in everyone’s lives is really quite astonishing at times.
So parents, are you guilty of any of the items on this list? Did you have any parenting peeves before your first child that you totally do now?
Non-parents, any other pet peeves not listed here that really get to you about your parenting friends?