Yesterday I overheard a conversation in the coffee queue, where two women were chatting about a mutual friend. 'All she ever posts is photos of her baby,' said one, crinkling her nose in mock disgust. 'It's so bloody boring'. The other rolled her eyes as she counted her change. 'I know - NOBODY CARES, right?!'
It's not the first time I've found myself mentally scrolling back through my Facebook feed and thinking oh crap. Thing is, knowing what's acceptable and what's not can be really tricky if, like me, you mistakenly assume people can just scroll straight past anything on Facebook that doesn't interest them.
Fortunately, I've done a lot of reading up on the subject (mostly vitriolic comments on other people's articles - who actually reads above-the-line these days anyway?) and I'm pleased to say I've got it all figured out. All we need to do us follow these nine simple* rules and we'll have this Being A Mum On Facebook thing all sewn up.
1. Don't post your 'we've had a baby!' update too soon after the event. I know you're excited and everything, but you don't want to appear too eager because that's just not cool. Think of it as being fashionably late to your own party. After all, it's not like Facebook is the quickest and easiest way to pass a message on to all your friends and distant family or anything*.
*Don't not publish anything though, because obviously everyone will be waiting to hear and otherwise you'll just get 8,916 text messages asking if there's any news yet. You're aiming for nonchalance here, not outright rudeness.
2. Don't post too many photos of your child. Don't assume that because you love them and they're essentially attached to you 24/7, they should subsequently form a huge part of your life on social media from now on. Facebook should not, under any circumstances, be a true reflection of life*.
*Don't not post any photos of your kid though, obvs. You've had a child for goodness sake - what kind of mother are you if you continue to fill your timeline with pictures of non-motherish things like boozing and dancing? People will just think you don't like your kids. And possibly report you.
3. Don't, whatever you do, post about how happy you are to be back in your pre-pregnancy clothing. Or - heaven forbid - post a photo of your flat tummy post-baby, because you're actually pretty chuffed with how much it's shrunk. You're just showing off, and making all the other mums-with-tums feel bad*.
*Don't even think about posting a photo of your squishy baby-belly, or your stretch marks, though. Too Much Information. You're not supposed to feel proud of yourself - fat or thin. In fact, it's probably best to just avoid talking about your body from now on.
4. Don't write soppy status updates about how in love you are with your kid. Even if you do feel this amazing new bond that you could never have imagined, you don't just say it! You're alienating a load of people without kids right there. You should always put their feelings before your own*.
*Don't write that your kids are doing your head in, though, because then you're just jumping on the 'I'm a crapper mum than you' bandwagon. Only The Unmumsy Mum can get away with that.
5. Don't post that you're having a bad day or you're feeling really low. You should be grateful that you've got kids AT ALL TIMES. It was your choice to have children, and some people can't have them and they'd never have a bad day or feel really low if they could. Plus, you just want people to give you sympathy, and everybody knows that's not what friends are for*.
*Don't post about what a lovely day you're having with your family though. Now you're just making people who aren't having a lovely day with their family feel bad.
6. Don't post any photos of you breastfeeding. Even if you are basically spending 22 out of every 24 hours doing it. You're just trying to get one up on the formula-feeding mums, and unless you're going to post a photo of your boobs, pre-kids, in a bikini, Facebook will probably just censor it anyway*.
*Don't post a photo of you bottle-feeding, though - you're making all the breastfeeding mums with cracked nipples and leaky boobs feel bad. And anyway, shouldn't you be breastfeeding?
7. Don't post that having kids is amazing and life-changing. People who can't have kids will feel bad. People who don't want kids will feel angry. And people who have kids but are having a bad day will feel like they want to punch you*.
*Don't post that you're bored. Now you're just being ungrateful. Again.
8. Don't check in to unexciting places. Like A&E, Costa, or your sofa for another screening of Toy Story 2. Facebook is not the place for day-to-day life.*
*Don't just check yourself in to glamorous events though, because now you're just showing off. And anyway, shouldn't you be at home with your kids?
9. Don't post about how tired you are. As above - nobody wants to hear about the minutiae of your day, what time your baby slept and woke, and how many times they burped. It's dull. Try taking arty photos of your dinner instead, or doing one of those quizzes to find out what kind of personality you have*.
*Don't post about how well your newborn slept, though, because now you're just bragging. And anyway, you're just talking about your bloody baby again. Booooring.
This post first appeared on There We Go, which probably isn't for you if you didn't spot the sarcasm in it.