over-sharing

A few days ago I saw a headline on people.com, “Kristen Bell’s 5 year-old is Still in Diapers”. Very quickly many thoughts went through my head.

First- judgement. I can admit it. 5 seems really old to be in diapers.

Then, secondly- solidarity. My 5 year old daughter is still in diapers overnight. Her pediatrician shook off any concern I had at her wellness appointment and told me not to worry at all.

Finally I was a bit horrified at the entire thing. I was mad at myself for clicking the link and also disgusted at myself for being part of the problem with celebrity gossip. I was also fairly sure Ms. Bell was probably going to have some explaining to do with her husband, Dax Shepard, about the whole thing anyway.

For those of you who don’t know about Ms. Bell and Mr. Shepard’s family, they have been extremely protective of their children while maintaining their own chosen celebrity lives. I really admire this. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Shepard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert”, and many of his views on a child’s right to privacy have reshaped my own views with my own children and how I expose them online.

Like most women my age with children, I’ve shared most aspects of my kids lives with the extended “friends” and “followers” I have on social media. There’s really nothing better to do during those hazy days of newborn babyhood. I didn’t really give it much deep thought, I’d post a picture of my kid with a funny caption and that was it. Being a mother made my own identity feel “less than”, after all, I no longer do much beyond taking care of my kids, and my kids are infinitely more photogenic than I.

Around the time I created this blog I did have some trepidation about how exactly much I wanted to share- at least when it came to giving out their full names and posting pictures of them. I know if I go through the archives there’s a few photos of their faces, but I think I’ve avoided using more than their first initials to identify them. While I don’t have thousands of readers or anything on my blog, it does feel like a uniquely personal space that is really open to anyone to read, and I felt like my children deserved a bit of anonymity when it came to it.

It was a few years ago when my eldest started requesting I stop sharing every picture of him on Facebook. He was around seven at the time. He didn’t mind if I shared some, but he wanted to approve of them first. This request sort of blew my mind. He had the understanding of privacy and I had to honor his request.

As time has gone on, I’ve completely deleted my Facebook, but I still maintain an Instagram account. I’m souring on using it as much as I did, because, after all, it’s part of the big beast of FB anyway, but I’m still addicted to the photo-scroll. However, this year I heard a podcast (Armchair Expert) where it was discussed on social media companies and ‘big data’ may one day (or even are currently doing….) be able to make predictions and judgements on our children through just photos alone. Like, in the movie Minority Report. Like, my innocent children being pigeonholed from birth.

They didn’t ask for that. They didn’t ask for any of this.

So I’ve made a conscious effort of block as much of their faces as I can with my social media. My posts have gotten a lot less cute, but I’m okay with that. I haven’t resorted to using emojis to conceal their faces (like the Bell/Shepard family does), but this very subtle change makes me feel like I’m sharing my life but not exploiting them.

I’m probably being an alarmist. I’m paranoid and I love a good conspiracy theory. But at the most basic level, I’ve come to terms with the idea that my children do deserve some protection online and my own decision to share my life online extends only to my own self. Yes, my kids are a part of myself and my identity, but I respect them as individuals and once they are old enough they can put as much (or as little) of themselves out there as they chose.

This brings me back to the Diaper-gate headline with Kristen Bell.

The day after the first headline, People published a new one. “Kristen Bell’s Daughter Only in Diapers At Night”.

Hooray.

Why this was ever newsworthy is beyond me. She had made the statement on a podcast with a fellow mother and they pulled out a throwaway story and made a huge deal out of it. I feel bad for her.

But these are our times we live in. I’m writing in my little read, but deeply personal blog (I’m not writing for any other reason than for myself) but one day someone could take a line or post and make a story about it. I as a parent have a delicate line to balance. I love to share my life with people who know me, and I enjoy writing on this platform whenever the mood strikes me. I have a nagging bother at the back of my mind to erase the line at the beginning of this post disclosing my daughters overnight-diaper needs. It’s perfectly normal and not anything to worry about, yet, why share?

Ms. Bell only told the story as a way to explain how every child is different. Her first potty trained extremely easily at 21 months old, and her second is throwing her for the loop. I have similar results with my kids; all potty trained at different ages with varying degrees of success.

Sharing these stories is important so other mothers don’t judge themselves. How I wish I had read testaments from women on how difficult breastfeeding could be when I struggled with my first; I reached out to every person I knew for advice and mostly heard back, “It wasn’t hard for me!”. We are already so hard on ourselves as mothers and in the glossy picture perfect world of social media it is nice hear from other women that they don’t have it all figured out and no one is perfect. But it just goes to show how easy the story can twist from being a personal story of mothering to direct judgment on the child itself.

There is no easy answer. You can’t avoid online life and data tracking and even though I’ve deleted accounts and photos of my kids from social media, I know they aren’t really gone from the “cloud” and everything I put on the inter webs is out of my control once I push post. But I am going to make a conscious effort to continue to be mindful about how I share my children’s lives online and I think this whole diaper-headline is a perfect example of why it’s important.

your internet history

I’m typing blog on a laptop that is older than my oldest child. A silver MacBook Pro, basically the age of my relationship with my husband. I was with him 11 years ago when he purchased it (used!) from Best Buy in Virgina. We were newly dating, two young, unattached kids at the beginnings of adult lives, and I encouraged him to start using Apple products. That was at the height of the Apple-coolness factor, that moment in our culture where seeing the Apple logo signified a cool, trendy and hip person (at least as I recall), which was best shown in this episode of The Simpsons.

So, basically, this Mac comes from another age of technology. As I recall, iPads weren’t even invented when we purchased it, Kindles weren’t around, we were on the first iPhone and people still had Blackberrys. Facebook was still only used by young people. The technology we have and our use of it has changed so much in the past decade, it’s sometimes hard to remember what it used to be like.

But, today, in an effort to procrastinate instead of studying microbiology, I decided to clean up the Bookmarks tab on my browser. To be honest, I don’t use this laptop for much besides school work, it’s clunky, old, heavy, doesn’t work very well, so surfing the web just isn’t something I do with it. And I had hundreds of links in my bookmarks- very nicely organized glimpses into my past.

Old folders for when I worked, all the links I needed for flying non-revenue. Tons of parenting websites, blogs devoted to cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vbacs. My favorite news and gossip sites of the past. Sadly, most of these links are broken now. My favorite webpages of the past (Gawker, Consumerist, Awl) have all shut down. My guess is the monotony of the news scroll Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit provide have made these sites obsolete.

It’s sort of sad. I don’t “surf” the web like I used to. I just go to Reddit. My Reddit is pretty awesome, and I love using it, but it’s not the same. I didn’t realize how much my surfing habits have changed until today, looking at all the old sites I’d dutifully linked and sorted. It’s nice being able to go to only one or two sources to get a plethora of different medias, but when you are using only one or two platforms I wonder what else we miss out on.

In other internet news, I’ve officially deleted my Facebook. My usage of it went way down, I actually went a year without logging on, but this past month I went through the steps to permanently rid myself of it. I don’t miss it and I don’t have FOMO – I am sad about not having the local links and groups, but more and more people are deleting the social media giant from their lives so hopefully those resources will move else where. I can find my local hikes on hikeitbaby.com, the community Patch is a pretty good resource for events, and I recently subscribed to the local Jersey Shore newspaper.

Anyway, I really ought to study for my lab quiz, but whenever I get a burst of nostalgia like this, I feel the need to record it and thus, I’ve done that. Have a great day and thanks for reading.

 

stop! don’t read anything else about parenting until you learn how to do this ONE parenting hack!

The ONE parenting hack you need to know! You won’t BELIEVE what you’ll learn! EVERY PARENT MUST KNOW THIS!

Yes, this title is clickbait. Yes, this topic is disgusting. But, as I sit here in my dim living room, craving, just craving a glass of wine followed by a long, uninterrupted night of sleep, I have to admit, I DO know the number one, absolute and smartest way to clean $hit out of the bathtub.

Stop bathing your kids.

I mean, really. If they aren’t toilet trained you can give them baths with baby-wipes just fine. How dirty do they get anyway? Sure, once they are crawling and toddling and picking up dirt and trying to eat the playground bark and prefer eating by their hands and they end each day with grime on their fingers and feet and necks, you’d need at least two dozen wipes per kid, but, at least you won’t find yourself scooping poop out of a tub with a very unfortunate plastic robot cup to the sounds of screaming children in the background.

So, if you feel like bathing is sorta essential, having a game plan in mind when poo happens is smart. I’ve learned through experience you should always scoop the log out of the bath, before you drain the tub. When your daughter has loose bowels it’s not as easy is that, but you can still get the biggest turds that way. Having long rubber gloves is essential, as is a bottle of bleach-infused cleaner.

I prefer Fantastik.

I think I’m high from the fumes right now.

Because, when you are the only parent present, and you have to boogie two babies out of the poop-tub, you’ll find you HAVE to shut the bathroom door when you clean the tub, otherwise the baby will crawl around you and try to splash their tiny hands in the poop-water and the older toddler, who really should know better by now, will scream “MORE BATH!” on repeat at volume level 10.

What really inspires this post is the fact I went through this exact same scenario just last night. Two happy babies splashing in the bath, a moment where I realize the water looks cloudy, and then the horror of seeing poop particles floating around their happy little baby butts.

And then, tonight, the encore performance.

I even warned L, “No POOPING” tonight.

“No pooping!” she agreed, nodding her little blond head, putting a chubby toddler leg in the water.

I’m pretty sure she’s the culprit, just because H has insanely soft bms and what came out tonight had form, oh and the fact when I yelled, “DID YOU JUST POOP” she said in the happiest, sweetest voice, “I Pooped!”. I may have yelled at her, something I rarely do, and she just looked at me with big innocent eyes, and then went to her little training potty and pooped some more, so, yay?

The moral of this story is this: sometimes bedtime can’t come quick enough, and sometimes a glass of wine needs to be bottomless, and sometimes your best friend is not a person, but a very well-loved bottle of bleach with happy little scrubbing bubble cartoons trying to cheer your night up.

 

gone

So I’ve gone and done it. Become one of the masses of hoards of abandoned “mommyhood” blogs. I didn’t intend to- of course not. So here comes the next cliche- the “promise of more frequent updating”.

It’s not that my source material is any different. I keep having the thoughts: I should write about this, or this would make a great post. First it was my road trip to New Hampshire, then the purchase of a new, ultra-cool minivan (I type that without a trace of irony), I could have also written about my daughter’s complete lack of cooperativity with potty training (I’m writing this staring at her still-cloth-diaper-bottom and grimacing). My solo-parenting-cross-country trip a few weeks ago is full of great potential ancedotes and stories.

But, like many before me, I just haven’t had the motivation. I’m not particularly busier than before; if anything, I’m spending less time writing because I’m spending more time scrolling, a habit I am desperate to quit. When I started this blog I had a cuddly little newborn, a hazy sense of time and the hormones made sitting and reflecting just easier.

So I’m going to fight my slacker status and aim to update at least twice a week. We are in the dead heat of summer, that time of year when I look at my tanned, blonde children and wonder if their browned skin is the sign of healthy outdoorsy kids or if I’m harming them and subjecting them to skin cancer. The days are long, sticky, there is so much to do this time of year and yet I also find it the most frustrating (it’s too damn hot!). I’m going to focus on just writing, pushing the words out, and worry less about what the reader thinks (I get terribly shy when it comes to people I personally know reading my words).

So – here it is. My “Coming Back” post. Hopefully it’s not the final update I ever give and you, the reader, aren’t reading it as my “most recent post” in the year 2019. If it is 2019 and you are reading this as the newest post, do me a favor, please, track me down and kick my butt. I’ll probably be looking down at my iphone 9 scrolling through Instagram. I’ll deserve the butt kicking. Thanks!

top 5 reasons I’m a terrible mom blogger 

  1. I don’t ever make lists 
  2. I don’t have a “niche”
  3. I have no unique expertise on parenting, except for flying standby with kids. That I know something about
  4. I spend more time envying other moms rather than being envied (or presenting myself in an enviable way)
  5. I think I’m far too self-conscious to self-promote in the way other more successful mommy blogs do. 

This is all to say, I follow tons of awesome mom blogs. This little project I’ve been writing in for two months has opened a new world to me- I even joined Twitter after avoiding it for nearly a decade. I have read some amazing blogs, from women I relate to and even admire, but (especially on Twitter) there is also a whole other subculture of the mommy blogging world I don’t really understand, or get.

Like, the blogs of moms just doing sponsored posts.

Or the lists.

I mean, I get it why lists are important and prevalent. BuzzFeed and other clickbait sites have trained us all to connect and grow curious whenever there’s a “top 5” or “7 most” or “6 things” in a blog title. I’m far more likely to read something from Twitter if it’s presented in that way. But a lot of times these lists just seem forced and I think a straight form blog post would do just as well, but because lists are the way to go everyone has to post in that way.

Just like TL:DR I find it sort of a depressing way to write. (TL DR being short speak for “too long, didn’t read” because apparently reading something over 300 words is too much work for people. Of course, many of you may know that expression, but I just learned it a few months ago through FB Groups. Another quick gripe? Why do people apologize for writing long posts on FB? If you’re writing something worth reading the longer the better as far as I’m concerned. But now this long rant in parenthesis can end).

I’m not even sure exactly what I’m aiming for as my blog’s message or theme. The name suggests an angsty teenager longing to escape her boring life, and while I am sometimes that girl and can’t believe how normal and conventional I’ve become in motherhood, I also just liked the way it sounded.

I’m the world’s worst self-promoter and honestly when I share my latest post through Twitter I just feel like a phony. I’ve always written very privately and begging people to read my thoughts is super unnatural to me.

That said, I do love it when people like my posts or better yet comment on them. I get a thrill when I get a notification of a new follower. It’s awesome – an awesome feeling and even though this blog has only been a habit for 2 months, I love it. I really do.

I am writing just to write. I don’t have goals beyond trying to sharpen this skill, writing, and being that I write about my life and my life in currently revolving around diapers and breastfeeding and kids and tantrums it just seems like calling the blog a “mom blog” is appropriate. And thus, I conclude this post with the hashtag #momlife. 🙂