Why You Won’t Be Seeing Much of Baby Girl on the Blog

Even before becoming pregnant, Ben and I had a lot of discussions about the presence we wanted our children to have on social media. From the get-go, Ben was adamant that putting pictures and anecdotes about our kids on the internet made him deeply uncomfortable, and he’d prefer that we keep our kids completely offline.

As a blogger and social media devotee, I was less convinced. How in the world would I share pictures easily so that friends and family could access them? How could I continue to blog about my life and family without including pictures of our future kids? As time went on, however, and especially after becoming pregnant, I realized that what Ben had been saying all along resonated with me more strongly. Thus, we’ve made the unanimous decision to minimize any sort of online presence for our kids until they’re old enough to decide for themselves what/how much they want to share. Here are a few reasons why.

Agency and Choice For Our Children
I understand that some people choose to be open books online, and love sharing photos and stories about their kids on their blogs or social media channels. It works for them, and I offer no judgement, truly. I just worry about how my own kids would feel about it when they grow up. Some day, my kids are going to want to create their own online lives, and for them to find out they’ve already got a lifetime of photos and stories about them online might not be happy news.

Safety
I think we can all agree that the internet is a scary freaking place sometimes. I don’t think I need to go into details (though I could post numerous examples), but suffice to say, I don’t want complete strangers all over the world, or even close to home, to have access to photos of my kids.

Parent-Shaming
It seems like not a day goes by without some stupid click-baity article posted about celebrity parents being called out for things like not properly buckling a car seat or their kids being “too skinny” or “too fat” or some other BS thing, all because they posted a photo online. But the thing is, this happens to “normal” parents too. Posting photos of your kids automatically invites comments. The vast majority are benign and even supportive, but you just never know what someone else is going to have to say about your parenting choices, and I’d much rather have those conversations one-on-one as needed, rather than via Instagram, ya know? Sidenote: when I posted a pic of my car seat installation, I had a comment about a better alternative within 5 minutes. Granted, it came from a place of helpfulness rather than judgment, but that’s EXACTLY the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid… Lesson learned!

All of the above means that you probably won’t see many pictures of Baby Girl, or any future kiddos, here on the blog. I’m sure they’ll pop up occasionally, but my determined rule is that there will be no “full face” photos, meaning you’ll be seeing a lot of back-of-the-head shots, emoji-over-the-face shots, or from-a-distance shots. I think this will be the sweet spot for maintaining my children’s privacy while still being able to share about my life. This will also likely mean that any updates post-baby will be focused on me and my recovery/return to fitness adventures versus posts about Baby Girl’s development.

Also, I’ve finally taken the leap and made a separate Instagram account for the blog, and made my personal Instagram account private. From here on out, blog-y, fitness-y stuff can be found on the handle @darlin_rae, while more personal and family stuff will be on @rbdinvt. If you’ve been following my personal Instagram for a while, don’t worry, I won’t boot you! But I will be VERY selective about who gets access going forward.

This also means that we need to have a firm conversation with family and friends about not sharing photos of our kids on social media without our permission. I will be the first to admit that in the past, I have shared photos of other people’s kids without giving it a second thought. But becoming a parent myself has made me realize that that’s really not cool. I don’t anticipate that this will be a fun or easy conversation, but it has to be done if we hope to maintain our kids’ privacy the way we want.

Parents, how did/do you handle social media sharing with small children?

Giving Up Facebook

My only real New Year’s Resolution this year was to give up Facebook. There were a LOT of reasons for this. First, my dabbling research into the world of minimalism and simplicity. Second, it had become a TERRIBLE timesuck. I would find myself staring at my phone at really inappropriate times (while “‘watching” a movie with Ben, at the dinner table, at parties), just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. It was gross, and I hated it. Third, it wasn’t making me happy. If anything, it usually made me sad, mad, annoyed, or any number of other negative emotions, which seems pretty counter-intuitive. There are countless other reasons, but those are the top three.

I had/have a lot of anxiety about giving up the ‘book. Firstly, it’s become pretty ubiquitous as a way to find out about stuff going on, either party invites, or local events or what have you. It seems like something isn’t “real” or “official” until it’s “Facebook Official.” I’m experiencing FOMO, worrying that I’ll somehow receive less event invitations, or not find out about cool stuff happening, or miss out on fun milestones in my friends’ and family’s lives. Which is kind of dumb actually, considering the fact that I rarely go to parties/bars/social events even when I AM invited. And I know that the people who truly care about me and want to see me will find ways to invite me places and keep me updated on their lives other than via Facebook.

I’m also worried about missing out on audition opportunities. A lot of theatre companies use Facebook almost exclusively to post audition notices. Some companies have email lists, which I’m on, but a lot don’t. Staying on top of theatre opportunities is going to be more work now. I will have to check websites and write down dates rather than just getting Facebook event reminders. And yeah, I may miss some things. But is that really the end of the world? Is that really a reason to stay connected to a social network that’s draining my time and energy? Heck no!

So, I deactivated my Facebook account before I went to bed on New Year’s Eve. That means it’s now been over a week since I’ve logged in, checked a notification, or seen a message. It’s been… strange, but also good. I still find myself pulling out my phone all the damn time, but Facebook isn’t there, so I put it back. I’m definitely spending less time staring at my phone, which is great.

I’m still on Instagram and Twitter, and while I’m still technically logged into Snapchat, I’ve never really liked it and use it pretty rarely. IG is by far my favorite form of social media. Because it’s just pictures, I find it quick and easy to get “caught up” on the happenings, but it’s not something that causes me to get sucked in and scroll for crazy amounts of time. Twitter is starting to feel really overwhelming and not very useful at all as a way to stay connected, so I may get rid of it in the near future as well.

I’m not sure how long this FB hiatus will be, but I’d love to manage to do it for a whole year. No matter what happens, I’m really enjoying the break.

Have you ever taken a big step back from social media? How did it go?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/04/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

Holy crap it’s August. I mean, seriously. I know I say this pretty much every month, but I feel like July didn’t even really happen. I’m not happy about the fact that summer is almost over already. Boooooo.

It’s the last week of shows for Dogfight. We’ve got one tonight, and one more tomorrow. This show ending is even more bittersweet than usual. Bitter because I love the music and show so much, and because this may be my last show for quite some time if we get pregnant. Sweet because the rehearsal process was so frustrating, and I’m EXHAUSTED from doing two shows in a row. I’m just trying to enjoy every last minute. On that note…

My bestie and her husband are coming to see the show tomorrow! Mandy and Vinny live in Jersey, so I only get to see them once or twice a year. They’re making the 6+ hour trek up to see Dogfight tomorrow night and I’m so excited and so grateful. I can’t wait to see them!

Ben is officially on the last leg of his whirlwind summer tour. He’s currently in Prague visiting his sister Emily, and he’ll be home for good on the 10th. And I can’t. Freaking. Wait. Of course I’m happy that he got to enjoy his summer break and have lots of adventures, but I missed him! And I’m also very excited to go get pre-approved for a mortgage and start house hunting in earnest. Whee!

I know this is really silly, but I have recently had a delightful string of celebrity interactions on Twitter and Instagram. Or, people I consider celebrities. Specifically, Broadway stars. One of my idols, Stephanie J Block, replied to my tweet about her upcoming Live from Lincoln Center performance. Caesar Samoyoa, a member of the cast of Come From Away, replied to my response to his tweet about the new immersive Star Wars experience coming to WDW. And Mamie Parris, who is playing Grizabella in Cats on Broadway, liked a comment I made on one of her Instagram photos. It’s SO INDESCRIBABLY CHEESY, I know, but I love it nonetheless.

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Happy Friday!

 

 

Unplugging a Bit at a Time

I did a thing two weeks ago. A thing that, to many, might seem simple, even trivial: I deleted a bunch of time-wasting games off of my phone (think Candy Crush and the like).

I initially downloaded these games in order to have a crutch. I am a perpetually early person, and often wait around for others to arrive at restaurants, bars, parties, rehearsals, or whatever. And instead of standing around awkwardly, having a simple, mindless game to play was great.

Lately, though, I started to realize how much time I was spending playing the games. Only playing while waiting for friends turned into playing on my lunch break, playing during meals, and even playing WHILE “watching” Netflix with Ben. I was spending WAY too much time staring at my phone. It become compulsive, addictive even. So, I deleted the games.

I gotta tell you, I actually hesitated when pushing the little “x” button. I’m gonna lose all of my progress. All of my cool perks will be gone. If I ever start playing again, I’ll have to beat all those extra hard levels again and that took forever! And then I was like, “WHO CARES?” and deleted them anyway. And so far, so good. I still have little moments when I’m like, “Damn, I wish I had something to play right now while I wait for xyz,” but I feel good about my decisive action.

This decision was prompted in large part by my recent dive into the world of minimalism and mindfulness. In the practice of minimalism, the focus isn’t just on physical clutter, but also on mental clutter, like spending our time doing things that aren’t important to us (for example, spending hours a day playing games on our phones), which then prevents us from spending time on things we actually want to do (spend time with our families, exercise, cook healthy meals, make art etc).

Another thing I’d like to do is limit my time on social media. I can’t count how many times a day I look at Facebook or Twitter. A lot of that right now is due to the fact that my job isn’t anywhere near as stimulating as it could be, and sometimes all I’ve got to do on a given afternoon is bounce around various internet sites (I know this sounds really awesome, but it is actually really sucky).

Regardless of why I may or may not log into Facebook, I think it’s negatively affecting my well-being. The current political climate is awful, and being bombarded with it day in and day out is exhausting and frustrating. I’d love to just delete my account and be done with it, but it’s starting to feel like social media is inescapable. Many of my friends exclusively use Facebook as a way of inviting folks to parties, or notifying people of big life events. Many theatre groups that I work with or want to work with post audition information in Facebook groups, but not really anywhere else. Or post their rehearsal schedules in Facebook groups rather than via email. I worry that completely leaving Facebook will cause me to miss out on various opportunities.

While I wish it were possible for me to self-limit and just not check these sites so many times a day, experience has shown that to be impossible. I catch myself involuntarily reaching for my phone umpteen times a day “just to check.” Or because I’m bored for 2.5 seconds. Or to avoid making conversation. I think the next step will be deleting the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. If they’re not right in front of my face, and the apps aren’t ready to pop open at will or taunt me with notifications, hopefully there will be less temptation.

Do you find you have an addictive relationship with social media and/or your phone?

Taking a Break

I think it’s time for me to take a break from blogging.

The biggest contributing factor to this decision is how stupid busy and stressed I am at the moment. I have quite a bit on my plate, and blogging is something that should be fun, but right now, is just causing me stress. Writing my own blog posts and responding to comments, crafting social media posts, plus reading and commenting on other blogs is something that I spend a significant amount of time doing these days, and I’m starting to feel like that time could be better spent elsewhere.

The other piece is a bit harder to articulate. Basically I’ve just become overwhelmed by the expectations and obligations of having an online presence. I don’t like the behaviors required to be a “successful” blogger, or Instagram user, or Twitter user. Jockeying for likes and followers and using a billion hashtags and worrying about SEO is just not me. This was a big part of why I stepped down as a BibRave Pro. I was hoping that removing that particular obligation would help ease the pressure, but I still can’t totally escape the feeling that if I don’t post regularly, or have tons of likes on my Instagram posts, I’m not a “good” blogger. I’m also struggling with the pressure of having an audience. It sometimes feels like the things I’m doing (running, racing) and the things I’m writing here, or perhaps the way I’m writing them, are more for other people than for me, which is not why I started blogging.

I just need to hit reset and figure out a) if I want to continue blogging, and b) what that will look like for me in the future. I need to take some time to reconnect with running and exercise as an outlet for myself rather than a performance for my online audience. I need to do it because I want to do it, not because I want to see the likes stack up. I need to find the internal motivation rather than the external motivation. I need to escape from the world of hashtags and optimization and creating my “brand” and just focus on real life for a while.

I’m not sure how long this break will be, but I’m not planning to come back until I really feel the desire to blog again. I deeply appreciate everyone who’s ever stopped by, read, commented, or otherwise reached out. I’ve made some amazing connections through this little blog of mine, but I’ve just got to step back and figure out my own stuff for a bit.