Back when Jamie was a tiny little infant, I posted a picture of him on Instagram. His balled fists and intense brooding look reminded me of a teeny little boxer. As the likes and comments started rolling in, I received an private message from one of my friends. She told me she saw my picture and she didn’t want to be “that mom” but the chest clip on his car seat was a little low.
What my friend didn’t know is that we weren’t actually in the car. He was in his car seat because I was pushing him in his stroller. That doesn’t matter, though. She saw a safety issue and she reached out to me. Can you guess how I responded?
I thanked her.
Yup, I was so grateful that she thought enough of me to send a message. I didn’t tell her he wasn’t in the car or try to explain why his clip was so low. I wasn’t offended that she would dare tell me what to do with my child. She was right. His chest clip was positioned incorrectly. I took her advice, moved it up, and am much more aware of its placement now, in and out of the car.
When I had Ayva back in 2009, Instagram didn’t even exist. Cell phones had just started to get the capability to take good pictures. While I did share a lot of pictures of my daughter, most of them were uploaded from my camera and were rarely in the moment. Social media and technology has changed so much, and now we’re sharing our parenting journey in real time. The benefit of that is having a timeline of important family events and memories without having to do a lot of work to track them. The challenge can be that you invite folks into your world to like, and yes, comment, on what they see happening.
Sometimes social media really comes through with the parenting advice
Since having my new baby, in addition to the message about the chest clip, I’ve had friends share advice on breastfeeding, immunizations, and my son’s sleep positions. I didn’t request any of this feedback, but people offered it up after seeing the pictures I posted on social media.
You know what? I appreciate it. I really do. As good of a mom as I am, I can accept the fact that I’m not perfect, and I don’t have an ego when it comes to my kids’ safety or wellbeing. If someone has a tip for making my life easier, or my children’s life better, I’m all for hearing it. Now, I know that not every person that offers feedback is nice or thoughtful in their approach. Sometimes the advice is just plain wrong. Those are the comments that I delete or ignore. If a friend reaches out, in love, it just makes sense for me to at least take what they say into consideration.
Having a child is hard, even for someone who isn’t doing it for the first time. There’s so much going on. Sometimes, something as important as chest clip placement can get lost in all of the other mom work stuff. I’m thankful that I have devoted and attentive friends who are willing to go out on a limb and let me know when I’m doing something wrong.