Should Grandparents Share Photos of Kids on Social Media?
I Don't Post Photos of My New Baby on Social Media, but My Mom Does
Mere moments after my son was born, my mom turned to me in the hospital delivery room and asked, "Is it OK if I post a photo of him to Facebook?" Here's the thing: at least she asked! It wasn't too long before that my mom shared pics of my older kids on social media without getting my permission first. That no longer flies with me.
It's funny to me that my mom is so obsessed with posting photos of her grandchildren online. A few years ago, she didn't know how to operate an iPad, let alone open a social media account, but once she got on Facebook, like most seniors, she became obsessed.
I used to be like her, eager to document my life as a mom of three on Facebook, but after a few years, I grew sick of social media, mainly because seeing overly cheerful posts of friends' family lives felt fake and forced. It seemed moms were only sharing perfectly curated images of perfect moments, and I decided I no longer wanted to take part in the #blessed culture social media has created. I stopped posting pictures of my kids, as well as going on Facebook more than once in a while. It's been freeing and I no longer get down on myself about other moms' lives looking better or easier than mine.
These days, I only share pictures of my family and kids via text and with close friends and family. I have enjoyed keeping my circle smaller, so this is exactly the approach I took when I announced the recent birth of my son. I never posted any photos on Facebook . . . but you probably already know who did! My mom couldn't wait to tell the world about her new grandson, and who could blame her? He is pretty amazing, and I'm thrilled his grandmother is so proud and excited. When she asked if she could share a photo, I said yes. I just figured anyone who needed to know about his arrival would find out from me in a more intimate way. Oh well!
The problem isn't really that I don't want my mom to share pictures of her grandchildren on her private social media, but that she always and without fail ends up reporting back to me what everyone has to say about her post. In this case, a friend of hers questioned our baby name choice, and my mom felt compelled to share the comment with me. It kinda hurt my feelings, and I totally didn't need to know this person's opinion.
I'm not sure why my mom would want others to weigh in on her personal life (and, in this case, mine!). I'm guessing she just hasn't burnt out on social media like my husband and I have. Maybe she takes the comments less seriously, or maybe we're in a more private phase following a very painful pregnancy loss last year. We are concentrating on what's really important in life, like being in the moment and appreciating our family, rather than stopping to take that photo or come up with a funny or catchy caption.
Meanwhile, I know my mom gets enjoyment out of virtually bragging about her grandchildren, so I figure why take that away from her? That my mom seeks my approval before posting photos of my children is all I have asked from her, and I think that's totally fair. I want to know what photos she is putting out there or have the opportunity to say I'd rather she didn't share something. Luckily, she has totally respected my rule and is diligent about asking for permission, so we haven't run into any problems.
If she didn't ask first, I would be upset about the loss of control. It's all about who is let into my family life, so I get to make the rules, and I don't care what anyone thinks! Because even in the era of social sharing and putting everything out there, contrary to popular belief, there is no rule that says you have to participate in this trend. Just try telling that to this Facebook-loving grandma!