As a non-parent, I’d like to instill a few tips to all you proud mommies and daddies out there regarding what those of us without kids care to know about your precious offspring. Let me preface this by saying I like kids. Some of my best friends are moms and dads and I thoroughly enjoy my time with their rug-rats; however, just because I find children cute and entertaining, that doesn’t mean I need or want to know every detail about your little one. These tips apply to all mediums of communication—phone, email, social media, telepathy and so on.
First off, if you’re pregnant, have at it! Inform me of every craving, the development of your little sea monkey, the morning sickness, the maternity clothes, the bloating and swelling and so on. For starters, your body is being invaded by an alien spawn, leaving you utterly helpless and at its will—you’re entitled to share every dirty detail. Plus, your stories and gas pains serve as excellent forms of birth control for those of us non-breeders or those of us not quite ready to have our lives and bodies taken hostage. So, type and talk away, mommies-to-be—you’re earning it with every stretch mark and dash to the loo.
Upon the arrival of your little body snatcher, please feel free to bombard your friends’ Facebook newsfeeds, Twitter pages and email and text message inboxes with the birth announcement and first photos of your squishy-faced, purple-hued bundle of joy. This is the most exciting day of your life and we want the opportunity to share your joy with “Likes,” congratulatory comments and remarks about how beautiful, adorable and cone-headed your baby is. But please don’t be offended if the random person gets the gender wrong—just because you think your squirmy little newborn is the epitome of femininity or manliness doesn’t mean the rest of us can tell what the heck it is—especially when you clad it in a green or yellow beanie.
Now, here’s where my advice comes in—once your child is about two weeks old it’s time to begin filtering yourself. This is especially true in the case of social media updates. Sure, maybe grandparents, actively involved aunts and uncles and particularly close friends want to keep receiving 50+ photos a day of your baby sleeping in various positions, but for the rest of us, our enthusiasm has waned and we’re more interested in Miley’s newest derailment than in the sleeping habits of your infant.
Details to Avoid Telling the World
Besides your closest friends and family, here are a few topics to avoid broadcasting over Facebook, Twitter, mass emails or texts (unless you want 500 people simultaneously rolling their eyes or clicking ”delete”).
-How many hours straight your baby is sleeping: Unless you can make it short and sweet like, “6 hours straight!” or have a funny anecdote to illustrate your exhaustion and need for sleep—like how you accidentally mistook your husband for the baby and tried to breastfeed him—we don’t really care. Actually, it’s not that we don’t care; it’s just that we can’t relate. And for me, personally, all I can think is, “And you’re surprised to discover newborns don’t make for restful sleeping companions?”
-Pooping habits: For those of you with infants or toddlers alike, please spare us the gory details of diaper changes and potty training. And for Heaven’s sake, please do not post pictures of what you found upon opening your child’s diaper! For many of us, Facebook is a way to prepare for the day—we peruse it over our breakfast or morning coffee as a way to ease into the day ahead. And there is nothing easy about reading vivid descriptions of your kid’s potty contents or seeing photos of it—just because you wake up to that every morning doesn’t mean the rest of us should be forced to feel your pain. Keep it to yourself.
-Every word that comes out of your child’s mouth: Granted, kids do say some hilarious things, but let’s face it, they’re still humans. And this means that about 85% of what comes out of their mouths is dull, nonsensical or just plain pointless. Next time you begin a status update regarding something your kid said, ask yourself this, “If this weren’t my child and I didn’t love him/her with every fiber of my being, would I find this newsworthy?” And be honest with yourself. I honestly think everything my dogs do is adorable and funny and completely unique, but I am self-aware enough to know that 99.9% of people couldn’t care less. Therefore, I keep it to myself.
-What foods your baby/toddler is now eating: Did I inform you when I discovered I now like bell peppers but still detest mushrooms? No. So, not to be rude, but why do you think I care that your kid now likes carrots? Unless you can supplement the post with a photo of a carrot sticking out of your child’s nose, this is info best left to a select few.
When talking to non-parents (or even people who have kids but aren’t super close friends or family), you overly zealous parents out there could really stand to use a filter. Before regaling someone with a relatively boring story or fact, ask yourself, “Before I had kids, would I have cared about this?” This is a good way to gauge the realistic interest level of what you’re about to say. After all, I do want to hear about your kid. I love seeing truly hilarious or adorable photos on Facebook or reading actually funny/quirky/entertaining things kids have said. I mean, I have a heart–but that heart does have limits. Kids are great. Everybody knows that. And yes, your kid is great, but keep in mind the expressions “less is more” and “quality, not quantity,” and save your words, Tweets, updates, texts and emails for those truly special and memorable kid moments.