I’m happy to admit I’m an ‘Insta mum’. Social media hit when I was roughly 20 and a mum of one with one on the way. It was mainly Facebook back then, but various other social medias have evolved and now I stick mainly to Facebook and Instagram.
I share a lot on social media. Nothing overly personal, and I tend to try and avoid any kind of confrontation (keyboard warriors are my absolute bugbear) so I keep my political, religious and parenting views to myself, but I have documented my children’s successes, growths and achievements through the platform of social media. I’ll admit that as my teenagers have gotten older they appear less and less on my page; mainly because they are like hermits that only crawl out of their bedrooms for school (essential) and food (also essential) but also because they are voicing their opinions about being represented on my social platform. Usually their opinion is “thanks but no thanks” when I ask if I can put something sweet they’ve done or something that warrants informing the world (mum-pride is strong with me). And, I honour that.
One of my favourite things to do, and really, this is how I view a social media platform’s purpose, is to document big events. Birthdays, weddings, holidays etc. One of the yearly milestones I’m pretty sure every parent documents is that ‘back to school’ picture. It can come in various forms; children standing and posing like angels before they set off, wild and scruffy at the end of the day or something arty like them walking into the distance. There can be individual shots, groups of friends, siblings and also (my personal favourite) the comparison picture. From last year (or many years) to this. I love seeing them and I love being a part of friends and families ‘first day back’ even though it’s impossible to physically be there!
This is where I have found fostering difficult. For obvious reasons, we aren’t allowed to post pictures of our placement children on social media. Trust me, I understand why. I don’t dispute it. I don’t even disagree with it. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling a guilt when I post pictures of my children with balloons on their birthday or standing tall and proud in their fresh, new uniform. It makes me feel like others (who maybe don’t understand the need for total privacy and anonymity) will think I’m not just as proud of them.
I am just as chuffed to see them reach milestones and just as happy to have them share all the experiences we have together. So, I don’t display them on social media, I display them around the house. I fill frames and cover the fridge with pictures of them and their achievements. And, when another year rolls around, I show them the pictures, side by side and tell them how much they have grown, how much they have changed and how much a part of our world they are. That’s our very own version of ‘social media’.