OMFG There's A Baby In Your Timeline, Get Over It

A friend of mine recently received an anonymous email telling her to "cool it" with the baby pics on Facebook. Who does that?!
Publish date:
March 25, 2013
babies, moms, facebook, tech

As you may know, I like looking at babies. So even before I had one, I was bothered by the way women posting pictures of their children on social media has become some kind of cultural punchline.

I roll my eyes when comedians I usually like Tweet jokes about how moms should have their own separate Facebook for posting pictures of their kids. (It's the equivalent of dudes making jokes about how they hate their wives -- played, boring.)

I think this whole "Mommies are annoying thing" in general is just one more example of the fucked up damned if you do damned if you dontness of being a woman. Women without kids will be the first to tell you they get shit for not having kids. Women with kids will tell you about the shit they get for being moms. And then we turn around and snipe at each other about it.

Society doesn't hate moms or non-moms, it hates women, yo.

I'm a live and let live kind of gal, which is why I was shocked and also fascinated when a friend of mine from back home in Oklahoma recently posted on Facebook that she had received an anonymous letter asking her to "cool it with the baby pictures." Like, someone she knows created a fake email account to send her this message. Who does that?!

I don't spend a ton of time on Facebook, but I'm on there enough to attest that the mom in question in no way posts an exorbitant amount of photos of her 5-month-old daughter. Certainly not more than any of the non-moms I know post pictures of their cats, or brunch or whatever.

My friend was rightfully hurt and upset and the whole thing made me realize that I really don't understand what's sooooo annoying about seeing pictures of someone else's kids, especially on a forum that is designed for social sharing.

I mean, someone went to all the trouble to log onto and create and email account and fill in fake information and send a letter requesting that someone else post fewer pictures of their child. Would somebody go to all that trouble to let someone know that they post too many pictures of burritos or beautiful sunsets or whatever?

Like, what makes a photo of your vacation less annoying than a photo of a small person? This picture of a baby isn't even like, moving around or poking you or asking a lot of annoying questions or laughing with happiness and joy or whatever it is that pisses off you baby haters so bad.

I just did a quick scroll through my current Facebook feed and in the last hour there's been one shot of a building, two e-cards, a picture of a dog with a funny caption, and a photograph of a giant pile of bacon. Kids are at least as cool and funny and nice to look at as all that stuff.

Maybe it's just a frequency issue, but if so can we stop framing posting too many pictures as a thing only moms do? Somebody I went to high school with posted every song he listened to yesterday. Or better yet, instead of feeling compelled to hurt someone's feelings with your truth bombs, why not just use that handy button that lets you exclude someone from showing up in your timeline?

I suspect it's just the same old thing where women aren't allowed to publicly celebrate happy life events lest we be accused of "gloating" or "bragging" or somehow judging those who have made different choices. Shut up about your engagement, shut about your wedding, shut up about your fucking kids, and don't you dare be happy or satisfied with yourself in a public forum.

Well, what the fuck is Facebook for if not for sharing (and celebrating!) our lives with our ostensible friends? For most parents, our kids are pretty much what we've got going on. I've seen one movie this year. Babies are an important, life-consuming work, and if we are friends, even of the digital variety, you should be prepared to bear witness to that work. Mothers (and fathers) shouldn't have to apologize for that, any more than non-parents should have to apologize for their choices.

The exclamation point on all of this is that I have never, ever posted a single photo of my son on Facebook. I'm not allowed to, because I am currently just a foster parent. But I really don't think that the daily shots of my lipstick, shoes, cleavage and outfits that I do post are any more interesting or worthwhile than the small human who brings me so much daily joy.

So as a reluctant non-baby-photo-posting mom, let me encourage you to proudly exercise your right to show off whatever's most important to you in life, whether that's your kids, your car, your engagement ring, or your $14 mojito.

Your real friends will "like" it.

@msemilymccombs isn't showing pictures of her baby on Twitter at all.