Sharing stories about our children on the internet is pretty common now. Uploading a few pictures and adding some sweet captions is something that many, if not most, parents do. Yet, as I'm sure you have learned by now, when you share with the internet you're voluntarily putting yourself out there. So when we share online people assume we're really saying: "Dear stranger, please tell me what I'm doing wrong as a parent." Well, we're not. In fact, when I post a picture of my kid, I'm saying: "Don't ask me about my parenting unless you follow these rules," because online or not, there's still a right and wrong way to go about asking personal questions.
Parenting in the public eye, as many parents in our society tend to now do, can be difficult. In private we answer to ourselves only. No one knows I've just fed my kids bologna sandwiches for dinner for the third time this week, unless I post about it online. No one watches me lose my cool on my toddler in the privacy of my own home. And since no one sees it, no one can comment on it either. In private, I am my own critic.
On social media, however, everyone comes out of the woodwork to offer an opinion on your parenting. And most of the time, questions about your parenting on social media are actually critiques of your parenting neatly wrapped in the facade of curiosity. I am more than happy to offer parenting advice when asked politely and properly. I'm even totally fine with judgmental posts, because I expect those no matter what I do. What I don't like is ingenuity and fake curiosity. Just don't bother me. I don't care.
Don't Be An One-Upper
If you want to brag about something your kid did, be my guest. To us parents, of course, our kids are incredible. They do all of these super awesome things that only they can do. I understand the pride that comes with parenting. I totally get the feeling that parents get when their kid does something awesome. Trust me, I get it. I practically threw a party each time my kid pooped on the toilet. But, if I'm posting something on my social media, don't come at me and tell me how much more amazing your kid is. I'm so happy for you, but save it for your own post.
Don't Be Condescending
Don't talk down to me like I don't know what I'm doing. The truth is, I don't always know what I'm doing, but guess what? Neither do you. We are all just going through the motions of parenting, believing we are doing our best for our kids. Don't pretend like your way is the better way just because you read an article on Google that supported your way of parenting. I bet I can find hundreds of articles contradicting everything you have done as a parent.
Don't Be Judgmental
If you begin your question with "just curious," I'm going to automatically assume you are being judgmental and you aren't, in fact, curious at all. If you have a legitimate question about my parenting decisions, just ask. Otherwise, don't comment at all.
Don't Tell Me What To Do
If I post a photo of my kids on social media and you disagree with something my kids are doing in the photo, I'd appreciate if you don't tell me what I should have done or what I could be doing. Most of the time, if I'm posting something on social media I have decided that it's something worth sharing with my friends and family. So, you know, clearly I don't see anything wrong with my parenting decisions.
Don't Start A Controversy
If I post about my decision to vaccinate my children, I don't need you questioning that decision and starting an argument about whether or not vaccines are harmful. I love a good debate about actually debatable topics, but my kid's health isn't one of them.
Don't Ask "What Does Your Partner Think?"
I'd like to make it really clear that any major decision I make as a parent involves my husband. Why? Well, because he is the father of our children. I don't need to run everything past him, though, because in our relationship it is assumed we are grown human beings able to make decisions for our children all on our very own. If you ask about my parenting decisions and involve how my husband feels about it, I will not take too kindly to your questions.
Ask Questions In Private
You can ask me what you need/want, but ask me in private. Way too often, conversations in public can get out of hand with multiple people jumping in to offer their unsolicited opinions and advice. If you have a legitimate question about something I do or did, feel free to send me a private message or text or call. I can be way more candid in private than I am willing to be in public.