Parenting is a highly personal experience and those around us play a huge part in it.
But is sharing our personal experience with those around us always necessary?
In the age of social media, are posts about ourselves as parents making parenting less personal?
More and more our emotions about parenting experiences are hitting social media. Chances are, you’ve read a dad’s proud post about a son’s first trip to the football:
“So proud to introduce the world’s newest Lions fan! #hearmycubroar”.
Or a worn out mum’s thanks to a supportive partner:
“Amazing day spa, an afternoon off nappies and a glass of bubbles #thanksbabe #whatbaby #realnewmum”.
Then there is the plain ridiculous oversharing:
First full nappy (#offthemark), first week on solids (#bigkidnow), toilet training complete (#toilettamed).
These posts are no doubt motivated by very personal emotions of pride or gratitude.
Some of us post because of the bursting admiration that have for our kids.
Others just need to tell someone (or everyone) when they realise one of their parenting dreams.
And many of us are moved to thank our partners or friends for their selflessness or understanding. We also share our parenting experiences with those who would have loved to be there but couldn’t. Sharing – we tell our kids – is an act of generosity.
If these emotions are so personal though, then why are so many people moved so often to make them so public? More than likely your message of love cannot yet be understood by the person who you are sending it to. Hashtags are beyond the comprehension of anyone under nine (and over forty!) and you can’t be on Facebook (legally) until you’re thirteen. So obviously there is more to our posts than direct thanks or recognition. We direct our words and pictures so they can reach a wider audience.