Quitting Social Media Made My Family Pictures Fade Away

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

I am that mom, taking 4357984357 pictures of my kids to get the perfect one. At least I was. My computer is full of pictures I’ve saved over the years. There are so many I categorized them by month and year keep organized. The sheer number itself is staggering until last year when it slowed down exponentially.

The correlation between my social media usage and number of picture proves these events are not mutually exclusive. I apparently must have one for the other to happen. And I’m done with social media, so what does mean for my family’s memories?

When Nostalgia Happens

As we head in the end of the school year, I find myself pulling old memories out of my head. Our baby is graduating from preschool, signaling the end of an era. For the last eight years, one of my children has always been in preschool conjuring up old events. My third child reminded me about one of his end of the year parties where he got to pet a tiny horse.

There had to be documentation of this, so I searched through my 2016 pictures for the tiny horse. Once I saw his little face, the memories of the day came flooding back. My little guy looked so tiny and it was only three years ago this happened. After looking at this one shot, I got sucked into looking through hundreds of more from that year. Many of them were taken for social media but a mass majority were of our every day lives (with the potential of being used later).

During this point in our lives, taking pictures of my kids was a major aspect of my business. It was necessary for me to show our daily lives both visually and through the written word, being open on social media. I got caught up in this world and took full advantage of it. When I deleted my accounts, I saw how it engulfed my entire being. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a good side, too. I can look at the past, seeing all the pictures and videos of my kids, remembering it all.

Being Present Has Its Downside, Too

In the folders on my desktop, I can literally watch my children grow from babies to toddlers, into their preschool and elementary days. They also love watching baby videos of themselves doing funny things and laughing about how they look. In my quest to be more present in their lives and get off my phone, I sacrificed one thing: the slew of pictures. Looking back on the past year, there are fewer pictures than there has ever been before in their short lives.

I want my kids to reminisce about old times by looking at family photos without me being tied to my phone. Spending time looking through old albums is one of my favorite past times with my grandma. I don’t want to be taking so many pictures that I missed the moment. But it is so fun to see them little and squishy remembering the chaos of having four kids under five.

The key is finding a happy medium. There is no need for me to constantly post pictures of the kids, but that used to be my motivation to take more. The albums I have now are for our eyes only. In five years, I want to look back at 2019 recalling all the fun we had through a world of pictures. Social media forced me to take more shots of my family, which I loved. The downside was getting caught up in the analytics behind it.

Documenting Without Posting, Can It Be Done?

I can still be present but document our lives. It’s in being intentional about capturing moments I want to remember. We don’t have only remember the big events but also the day to day fun. Seeing my kids in their natural environment and playing with each other are the ones that grab at my heart strings. It’s been months since I’ve taken a selfie, since they were really only for social media.

If I didn’t take selfies with my kids then I would be hard pressed to find myself in any pictures since I’m usually behind the lens. I get to see changes in myself as well as in the kids and how we’ve aged throughout the years. I want them to know that their mom wasn’t just the paparazzi trying to get the best angle, but she also wanted to be included.

Taking pictures now isn’t about making sure my followers saw what I ate for dinner but it’s about savoring the memories of the day. As a family, we can look back at a particular time in our lives and know exactly what we were doing them invoking lots of feelings.

Instead of using social media as my motivation to take more pictures, I will use my family. It’s not about the likes and comments we get on a post, hoping that people will enjoy our pictures. These shots tell the story of our lives and it’s one we can share together for many years to come.

Put your oxygen mask on first. Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.

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