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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why I Won't Share My Kid's Tantrums on Social Media

Recently, the hashtag Asshole Parents has been popping up on my Facebook newsfeed, on Instagram, and just yesterday, in a Huff Post article. Started by blogger Kristen Howerton, the movement encourages parents to chronicle the daily tantrums of their toddlers via social media. Howerton told Huff Post that she hopes #AssholeParents help parents "gain some levity over this phenomenon that can sometimes be really frustrating. Despite our best efforts, children are often disappointed, and I'm hoping it can be a humorous reminder that we're all in this together."

I get it. I'm a mom. A mom of a toddler. Some days are rough. Other days are even rougher. Throw a toddler into the mix and grey hairs start popping up. There's tears over sharing toys and how I cut her PB and J sandwhich. Triangles not squares. No squares. No triangles. Sometimes I look at her the wrong way.  Most days I say the wrong thing.  And I am never allowed to sing in the car.  All of the above can result in tears, and that's the most basic of stuff. There's an entire day to get through survive, and that day offers multiple opportunities for tantrums. It's nice to know I am not alone on this parenting voyage, especially when my voyage closely resembles the sinking of the Titanic.

As much as I need to feel connected to other mothers -- because hey, misery loves company, right?! -- I won't do it at the expense of my children.  I refuse to share their meltdowns on social media.  Why?

1.  Because my job is to build my children up, not tear them down.  Child shaming seems to be growing in popularity thanks to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But what are the long term effects of such practices?  And how does posting vulnerable pictures of our children adversely affect the parent-child relationship?  The internet is forever. In reality, chances are my own children may even stumble across this blog post one day. With that in mind, I'd rather share images of my children enjoying life than images of them screaming and in tears. I'd rather focus on the positives in our day than harp on the negatives.  I'd rather celebrate my children than shame them.

2.  Because I am supposed to protect and comfort my children. When my child is having a tantrum, there are many things I would rather be doing. Relaxing on a beach. Being pampered at the spa. Sipping a glass of Merlot.  But I'm not doing any of those things.  I am right there in the moment to take in every scream and each tear.  What do I do?  I try to comfort.  I try to calm.  I try to validate her feelings.  What don't I do? Reach for my camera.

3.  Because I am learning that there are some moments in life that deserve privacy.  With the advent of social media, it has become all too easy to share every single moment of every single day.  In fact, just today, in a matter of seconds and in no particular order, I saw someone's breakfast burrito, a pair of freshly pedicured toes, and a rash that would even stump WebMD. All on Facebook.  Just because the internet allows us the chance to easily share a private moment -- like a child crying -- doesn't mean we should. Moments of pain and anger and sadness should be treated with respect and privacy, not broadcasted on an Instagram page.

4.  Because I believe in doing unto others.  I know it may be hard to believe, but I have awful mommy moments too.  There are days when my patience is non-existent.  Days when I'm exhausted. Days when there's too much to do and not enough time. I get frustrated.  Sometimes I yell.  Sometimes I cry.  And never would I want someone to post images of me doing those things.  If my ugly cry has no place on the internet, why would I think my child's does?  The answer is simple.  It doesn't.  

As a parent I must draw the line with what I share on social media. My need to connect with others should never trump the privacy and respect my children deserve.  


  1. This is true. I don't get why parents do this. Your kid being sad or frustrated isn't funny. Thanks for writing this reminder. -Jackie

  2. Allie, thanks to you. Nothing wrong with sharing, but gotta be mindful no what we do.