Personal

Real Talk Real Moms: Technology

09.15.17

It’s time for another personal motherhood post, so if you’re not into that, you can just skip this one! I’m joining in again on the Real Talk, Real Moms series and this month we’re sharing about technology and our kids—thoughts, rules and structure around technology with them, as well as our boundaries on social media. I would love if you would share your own experience in the comments—and be sure to check out the posts from The Effortless Chic, Design for Mankind, The Fresh ExchangeAve Styles, Apartment 34 and The Life Styled

In the meantime, here is our situation…

Raising kids in this ultra tech-oriented time honestly gives me anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely a modern girl and I fully enjoy all of the technology, connectivity and social media we have access to these days. However…kids?! It’s so different. When I was a kid, the Internet wasn’t even a normal thing people used. In middle school, everyone had AOL and AIM, but use was still fairly limited. By high school, we did have cell phones (those old Nokia ones!), but they didn’t have Internet access and text messaging still was fairly rare.

With our son Jack (3, next week!), we’ve taken the approach of having really limited access to technology, aiming to give him as much time as possible to play freely and use his imagination. We have a few apps available on our phones for those desperate times when we just absolutely need to change a diaper he doesn’t want us to change or we need to distract him, but it’s always a last resort and one we’ve managed not to use when we’re out at restaurants or social functions (at least not yet!).

TV-wise, we do have a few shows we’ve let Jack watch during special circumstances, usually if he’s sick (and unable to sleep well or really have the energy to play either), or when we’re on a flight. Jack’s favorites are Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger, and I happily will let him watch unlimited amounts to make it across the country on a plane peacefully! Basically, the default in our day-to-day is to avoid technology and let apps and shows give us a helping hand in times of need.

When it comes to sharing on social media, we absolutely are in the extreme and we’re aware of that. When I was pregnant, my husband and I had several conversations about how we wanted to handle social media once Jack arrived and agreed that we just both didn’t feel comfortable posting photos of him (specifically his face) publicly. So that’s what we’ve done and it’s something that’s working for us.

At this point all of our friends and family know we don’t post photos of him online and they have been so great about respecting his privacy by not posting photos to their accounts as well. In fact, I’ve gotten several questions and comments from you guys over the past few years about why we’ve decided to be more private and that was largely the reason I wanted to join in on this topic for the RTRM series.

Sometimes it’s so hard not to post a photo or video, because he really is the CUTEST kid (his eyes are the dreamiest blue color and he has the sweetest little cheeks and I seriously am tempted to post so many videos of his sweet voice and the things he says!), but I also continue to feel good about respecting his privacy, especially since my Instagram account is public and I’m actively trying to gain more followers—give me a follow if you don’t already 😉 

All in all, one of the greatest benefits we’ve experienced from opting out of sharing photos of Jack online has been the freedom to enjoy his childhood without the pressure to curate it for public consumption. Although I always aim to be as authentic as possible, because of the nature of my job so much of my life ends up being made pretty and likable and shareable for social media. I love beautiful things and definitely enjoy Instagram being a happy place for pretty images, but I’ve also really enjoyed my time with Jack being completely free of all of that.

Ultimately this is just a peek into our personal choices for our family and our situation and by no means what will work for everyone. I’d love to hear any questions you have and especially would love you to chime in below about your own approach to technology with your family. Seriously, tell me everything…

  • Brian Borton

    Great post Nat! Couldn’t agree more. Having the freedom to let Jack spend his entire day in his pajamas without the pressure to manage his image is going to pay off for sure.

    • Glad we made this choice together 🙂

  • I really admire how you’re able to be authentic on social media and portray real motherhood without showing Jack. I’ve been posting less and less full on face photos of my son for that reason- I try to show pictures from the back/side profile, etc and it feels so much better.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you’re listening to your gut and feeling good about your choices, too 🙂

  • Natalie – I love this series and this post! You and I have very similar approaches with our kids online. I made that same choice when I had my daughter and it has felt right to me all along. I knew as my public profiles grew that I need to set boundaries within my personal life to keep certain things private and intimate and my children fall in that category. I hadn’t thought much about the benefit of not “curating” my children’s childhood for public consumption. But it’s so true. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

    • I did notice that you had a similar approach—I obviously respect that choice a lot and am right there with you! It’s nice to keep a few things out of the public eye.

  • ESedillo

    So well said! I feel the same way. I just don’t feel right about putting my sons face on social media – this is a forever platform, and I’d rather he make the decision to be or not to be for himself. When he’s old enough, of course 😉 I admire your style and your mothering, and it just so happens that we became mothers near the same time (my son turned 3 on the 20th). Perhaps that’s why I feel a kinship (from afar). Keep up the incredible work, you’re an inspiration to many.

    Elise