I’m not sure how people announced they were pregnant in the old days, I assume you made dinner for the folks, called the gossipy neighbor, and flew a flag out the window of the castle…but nowadays it seems Facebook has become the forum. A few weeks ago Kate walked into my home office and asked me how I was feeling. I told her I was fine, and from the look in her eyes I knew what was about to happen…though it was still a surprise. She revealed a pregnancy test from behind her back confirming that we were going to be parents again. It was a very exciting moment and we celebrated quietly so we wouldn’t wake Max during his nap in the room next door. Next was the question, “who do we tell?” She was only about 5 weeks in so we knew it was early but the conversation decided that it would be best to tell our immediate family first, wait till our first Dr. appointment at 10 weeks, and then share it on Facebook. No dinner. No gossipy neighbor. No flag.
We took a picture of the pregnancy test and text-messaged it to our immediate family. Tons of “congratulations,” emoticons, and calls came back immediately after. Over the next 5 weeks it was easy to tell Kate was pregnant…she wasn’t drinking wine, so a few friends and family found out early. 5 weeks later we visited the doctor and immediately began telling extended family. Then I posted it on this blog and Facebook. Then I almost committed my own New-Parent Cardinal Sin of Facebook! I almost changed my profile picture to the picture of the sonogram.
No! No, no, no!
I left my profile picture alone (it is a picture of me with my family) and made the cover picture the sonogram and asked myself if this was okay. I decided it was…for now.
Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends you don’t see all the time which is great for Kate and I out here in Wichita. We moved so many times that we have many different friend groups in many different cities. It is also a great way to keep in touch with people you don’t know very well…but that is Facebook.
“I have 2,973 friends!” No, you have 27 friends and 2,946 acquaintances.
The Cardinal Sin of new parents on Facebook is making your profile all about your new baby. I’m not friends with your 1-year-old…I’m friends with you. Don’t make your kid your profile picture – it should be a picture of you (your kid can be with you). Post about you from time to time instead of just amusing anecdotes about your kid. I know…its amazing that she just learned to say <insert new word> but its less amazing when every post on your wall is about the previous new word and what mood your kid is in. I share plenty about Max on Facebook but it is balanced in with things about me. Facebook is all about ego. “Look at me! Hear me! This is funny!” So while we are all being egotistical and posting about ourselves you’re out there posting about your kid and the funny dump he took in the flower-pot.
Join a group. Start a page. Give your friends the opportunity to interact online with your kid in their own comfort zone as opposed to force-feeding it to us via a social network where we clicked “accept” instead of “ignore” because we thought we would be friends (or acquaintances) with you. It’s the online equivalent of shoving your newborn into someone’s arms and demanding that they hold the baby…2,973 times a post. Same goes for dogs…I don’t care about your dog…except my friend Ari’s dog Walter. That dog is awesome.
How much is too much to share online? Kate and I discussed and drew a line about how much I would share on this blog and Facebook as it is easy to forget that you are writing about a person…a person who will one day grow up and read all this. A person with opinions and feelings different from yours. A person who may not want to share any of this. So…Max, if you are grown up and reading this here is an amusing anecdote about you:
Yesterday you were shooting the basketball at your tiny goal in the family room. You asked me to shoot from the chair I was sitting in on the other side of the room with Mom. I took the shot and missed. You said, “almost.” You fetched the ball and urged me to shoot again. I shot. I missed. “Almost.” Once more you brought me the ball and asked, “shoot, shoot?” So I shot the ball one more time…it soared over the couch, the ottoman, the bookshelf, the lamp…and swished. You threw your hands up in the air as if we had just won the NCAA Tournament and shouted (clear as day) at the top of your lungs: “Biiiitches!!!”