Open any magazine or web site for parents, and you’ll inevitably find articles telling moms—the usual culprits—that no one wants to see pictures of your kids doing normal things or to hear about the cutesy things they say. Such forums warn against the dangers of oversharing. Occasionally, the “experts” warn about leaving too much of a digital footprint of your child—and that’s a valid concern—but more often the warnings focus on how such parents are alienating friends who simply don’t care what your child had for breakfast.
I beg to differ.
These images soothe my soul after I read the morning paper, where oversharing of a different kind leaves me feeling that humanity is hopeless. This morning, for example, my newspaper had six articles about Hillary Clinton’s emails, two articles about Ben Carson’s comments on gay marriage, two articles about Obamacare, five articles about gridlock in Congress, and three articles about the Boston Marathon bomber’s trial—one of which made me weep. And that was just on the home page!
Today was actually a better news day than most because many other such articles were moved to subpages to make room for stories about today’s winter snowstorm. But I know these articles will inevitably be followed by a series of reports about what “snow wimps” we are in Washington when compared to Boston.
Turning on the morning news isn’t much better. Today I was treated to scenes of a four-car accident with vehicles overturned on 16th Street, an arrest of a random shooter who brought back memories of the DC sniper, a story of a police officer dragged several feet after he made a traffic stop, a story of two young men who forced a 16-year-old girl into prostitution with two dozen men a night. And, of course, there were stories about the Clinton emails and the Carson comments, too.
Oversharing? While I want to know the news, the 24-hour news cycle, followed by endless pundits sharing their thoughts and opinions about news events, strikes me as the worst form of oversharing.
Okay, moms, I really don’t want to read diaper dramas or poop posts. But I love seeing the pictures of your little girl belly-laughing as she plays with a mask or your little boy raising his arms straight out behind the snowman the two of you just built. I love the video of your toddler daughter singing the ABC song in the bathtub or your infant son grimacing and pushing away the cereal when he tastes it for the first time. And I love it when you quote your son, speaking to a fellow shopper as you wait in line at the grocery store: “Personally, I don’t think Santa is f-a-t. Not for Americans. Just by European standards.” And I even love it when you share your occasional frustrations with your children, who, because they’re human, aren’t always so adorable.
My own children are grown, and I don’t long for the days when I was living the life you’re living now. But I live in a neighborhood where the only children are occasional visitors of the residents. I sit by the fire as I write this, looking out at the snowflakes falling on the gentle slope of the hillside—a scene that will remain pristine until the rising temperatures melt the snow to reveal the green grass that promises the coming spring.
So I look forward to the pictures of your children—sledding down a hill like the one outside my window; building snowmen on your front lawn; lying in the snow, arms and legs outstretched as they make snow angels.
Bring ’em on. And thank you for reminding me that the joy of children gives us hope for a better world.