We are living in a time where we share more publicly than ever before. I remember when I was growing up and my world was the people I interacted with around me. Now with Wi-Fi everywhere and the popularity of social media sites our lives are easily shared in the online world. I have many friends who I have never actually met, yet we are extremely familiar with each other’s lives. The access the public has to your family is something that you must addressed as parents. Not only are our families more accessible than ever but they are also more easily documented than ever. We all have our phones on us every day and are able to capture videos and photos of the everyday moments. I personally believe this is something so important, which is what makes me a paparazzi parent. If you talk to any parent out there they will tell you that your kids grow up way too fast, and even if you’re lucky enough to be with them every day it can feel like you blink and miss parts of their childhood. My son isn’t even three and I already feel like he’s growing way too fast. I have personally made a choice to document everyday so that I have plenty to look back on-and ways to remember things we did together when he was little. I am making a choice to run after my kid with my phone snapping pictures all day, and I’m confident it’s the right choice for us-no matter how silly I feel sometimes.
I know that some people won’t agree with our choice to share our lives publicly-and that’s totally fine. That’s really a personal choice that needs to be made by every individual family. On my own social feeds, I have families across the spectrum. There are the parents who choose not share their children on social media platforms-they rarely post pictures to these sites and choose to keep their family life to themselves. Then there are the paparazzi parents like myself who choose to share every moment from my day on all my social sites. I want the people who see my pages to see my family, and my son-because that’s my life and I’m using those sites to share my life with others. I’m sure you know families who are all over this spectrum and even though I’ve chosen to share our life I respect the choice not to as well. It wasn’t a hard choice for my husband and I to decide to share and document our life. I think it stemmed from the majority of my husband’s family living out of state, and our desire to include them in our son’s life despite the distance. I knew he would grow a ton between visits and still wanted them to get to watch him grow up. So I turned to taking TONS of pictures, and posting them to social media for my relatives to see. I quickly learned my in-laws were not the only family who was excited to see pictures of my family and our life. My relatives living out of state were thrilled as well, and ever since then I’ve been a self-declared paparazzi parent.
When my son was born I wasn’t initially as open with our family publicly. My transparency to the public on social media has evolved but sharing your pictures publicly isn’t what qualifies you as a paparazzi parent in my mind. I was for sure a paparazzi parent from the start-meaning I was always taking pictures of our family and our son, and sharing them with our friends and family-we are talking tons of photos, almost on a daily basis. My phone was-and is always in my hand. I’m not cruising Facebook, I’m documenting our lives-taking pictures and videos of every little thing we do. From the start I felt the urge to document every little moment. I wasn’t shy about taking a million photos of our son even if I looked like a crazy mom at the park. It wasn’t until my son was about two that we made the choice to share our life via Mom Monster Blog. While the sharing of our family publicly is an important choice we made as a family, it’s not what makes me a paparazzi parent. That label comes from the sheer quantity of photos I take of our family, as well as my dedication to always get the picture! I am taking photos of our family in the good moments, in the bad ones, and every moment in between-on a daily basis. Not only am I sure this is the right choice for me but I also wish more people would have their phone out taking pictures! Because-news flash, I want to be able to look back and see myself in pictures too.
For me, being a paparazzi parent isn’t as much about the sharing as the documenting. I want to be able to look back on pictures when the memories are not as fresh in my mind. Which, as sad as it may be to think about, will be sooner than later. Kids grow so fast and our family is constantly evolving and changing. I already have pictures of my son as a newborn that I look at and feel like that time for our family is a world away. I no longer spend my days cuddled with my son, nursing him, singing to him, soaking up every little twist of his face. Now, I spend my days chasing after him at playdates, playing pretend, and navigating the emotions of a toddler. I know that in just a few short years-maybe sooner, I will be looking back at pictures of my son running around in superman capes and I will feel like it is a world away. Even though now, the batman cape is a memory that is on repeat each day. I document every moment because I never know what moment I will want to look back on-and I never want to wish I had taken more pictures. I know that there will be certain memories in my heart and mind forever, but I also want to be able to look back and remember the day to day. For me, having the pictures is worth every moment I spend chasing my son around with my phone in my hand. My pictures are just like the paparazzi because they aren’t perfect, sometimes they catch nudity, but they are always a way of freezing a moment in time.
Yes, sometimes I experience things with my son through the screen of my phone. But I can’t be any clearer in saying I AM PRESENT! In most videos I take you can hear me talking to him and interacting with the experience we are having. Being a paparazzi parent does not make me any less involved. I’m proud to be a paparazzi parent and I wish more people around me would document our lives too! Because of my constant documentation, my friends and family can enjoy looking back on photos of them with my son and interacting with my family. I love these photos too and know that as time passes they will become even more treasured items. When my son was first born I wasn’t feeling like myself and rarely got in front of the camera. Now looking back on photos, I wish I had more of me snuggling his little cheeks, just in the throes of new motherhood. As raw and hard as this time is it is beautiful and I wish I had documented more of myself in these moments.
Which is why I’m now encouraging everyone to take pictures! Take pictures of yourself, take pictures of your family, and ask others to take pictures of you in the thick of it. My husband and I are both very aware of documenting each other’s relationships with our son. Just the simple things, the day to day interactions that will mean the world to us when they are a world away. So yes, I am that mom at the park chasing her son with her cellphone, but I am THERE, we are playing and I am documenting it so that I can look back on it. In my mind that’s a win. So be a paparazzi parent, and be proud!