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The Thing I Won't Do To My Kids Anymore

Photograph by Twenty20

"We did not say this," my oldest was looking at me, eyes narrowed. In his hand was a Chat Book. Chat Book is a company that prints out the Instagrams, including the text you posted with the photo.

I had recently posted a pic of two plastic animals in a compromising position next to a glass of wine, all on the rim on the bathtub that I had been in. In the caption, I alluded to the fact that I had found the animals that way and had not touched them.

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My son's words, his eyes, made my WASP-y side shudder and button her cardigan up to the top to block out the guilt. My other side, though. My other side thought it was funny, and funny isn't always nice or appropriate.

"Oh, honey, of course you didn't. That's silly, I'm sorry."

I took the Chat Book and hid it. I had a stack of them in our living room and took them all and hid them later.

I knew in that second I didn't want to post many more photos of my kids online. I knew for sure that it was not my right to tell people what my kids had said or done. I feel bad for ever thinking it was OK.

Yet, here I am sharing again.

But putting that out there and making fun of my kids, eesh, that sounds horrible and is pretty much what I had been doing.

I was brought up not to talk about much. Stuff it in, pray on it, button it up. Yet the stuff was heavy, and it brought me way down. Curse words now just slip out of me. I was not even allowed to say "fart" growing up.

In contrast, I'm raising my kids to talk about everything.

I feel freedom and authenticity thanks to our more open family. The demons are not as dark, despite what some might deem as inappropriate jokes we make together or topics we touch on with our kids. I like to joke. My jokes are dark and can be pretty raunchy.

I married a comedy writer. He makes me laugh daily.

But putting that out there and making fun of my kids, eesh, that sounds horrible and is pretty much what I had been doing. Unknowingly, I swear to God. I love those little people.

And they're on to me. Just yesterday, I took a photo of my oldest, and he said, "Are you going to put this in one of those little books," referring Chat Books.

"No," I told him, "I'm never going to put you up on social media again without your permission."

Writing this out all just sounds like I'm an egotistical idiot. Perhaps it's one thing to post photos out of your kids and another to post photos plus comments on what they did or said, even if there's a perfectly witty and sarcastic thing to post along with it.

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I emailed Chat Books and told them I wanted to stop printing out my Instagram photos. Honestly, I haven't really enjoyed them that much. I like half of the photos, but a lot of the captions are ridiculous.

At any rate, I'm a reformed user. Commenting on what my kids say or do is off limits.

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