Mums, Stop Hiding Behind Your Child On Facebook

09/06/2009 08:58 | Updated 22 May 2015

If you're a mother with a Facebook profile, what's in your profile picture?

I bet it's not just you. Are your kids there - or maybe it's just the child, with no sign of you?

I've lost count of the number of Facebook pics I've seen where the mum is waving the baby in front of her face like she's just some kind of supporting act. Is that how you really want the world to see you? Like the least visible member of your family?

And equally, I can't understand why many posters on online parenting sites such as Mumsnet and Netmums will give themselves posting names that totally obscure their own identity, calling themselves things like Mummy2Ben, Jacksmummy etc. I know being a mum is a huge part of your identity, but it's only a part right? You're more than just the people you've produced.

American feminist author Katie Roiphe says here that mothers are increasingly hiding themselves behind their kids on Facebook, and she wants us to stop. This is why:

Roiphe says -

"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 cafés 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 these mothers 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."

In the process of serving your family's needs, don't lose your sense of self. That picture that you send out to the world is saying more than you might realise.

And as for me, yes I am not the only one on my Facebook profile pic. We recently had a new addition to the family, who's mega cute and deserves his own moment in the spotlight. So step forward Dennis the Kitten. I think my pic is saying: you thought the kids and I were nice. Wait till you get a look at this little smasher.

What do you think about Roiphe's viewpoint? Do you think mothers are really hiding behind their children online? Or is it just a harmless way to share a cute picture of your kids?


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