Facebook - Do You Hide Behind Your Kids?

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Do you hide behind your kids on Facebook? Photo courtesy Lili Vieira de Carvalho on Flickr.

Take a look at your Facebook friends list: Are all your mom friends pictured in their own profile photos? A quick survey of my own list found that at least half my mom friends display family pictures and several use a photo of their kids alone.

Katie Roiphe of Double XX says moms -- especially those over 30 -- are increasingly hiding themselves behind their kids on Facebook, and she wants us to knock it off. Here's why:

"The choice may seem trivial, but the whole idea behind Facebook is to create a social persona, an image of who you are projected into hundreds of bedrooms and cafes and offices across the country. Why would that image be of someone else, however closely bound they are to your life, genetically and otherwise? The choice seems to constitute a retreat to an older form of identity, to a time when women were called Mrs. John Smith, to a time when fresh scrubbed Vassar girls were losing their minds amidst vacuum cleaners and sandboxes. Which is not to say that I don't understand the temptation to put a photograph of your beautiful child on Facebook, because I do. After all, it frees you of the burden of looking halfway decent for a picture, and of the whole excruciating business of being yourself. Your 3-year-old likes being in front of the camera. But still."

Roiphe thinks that moms who "hide behind their kids" are in danger of getting swallowed up by family life altogether. And she also thinks they're really boring at dinner parties. "One's children are of course an important achievement, and arguably one's most important achievement, but that doesn't mean that they are who you are," Roipe writes. "....The subliminal equation is clear: I am my children. And perhaps for their health and yours and ours, you should be other things as well."

I think Roiphe's being too tough on Facebook moms. After all, I've seen plenty of non-parents use cartoon characters, pets and superheros in place of their own faces. Should I infer, then, that my junior high crush actually believes he's Superman? Or that my aunt thinks she's a Pomeranian? I didn't think so.

That said, I think parents -- especially moms -- are at risk of losing themselves in the shuffle of serving a family's daily needs, especially -- but not necessarily only -- when you've put career, higher education or even your hobbies on hold to keep family life running smoothly.

What do you think about Roiphe's essay? Are moms really hiding behind their kids on Facebook and in life? Are we too devoted to our kids?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.