I’ll be really honest: before I had kids, it kind of annoyed me how people would post pictures of their kids on Facebook, and text them to me, and send me prints in the mail. It’s not that I minded their kids, all of my friend’s children are adorable sweethearts. I love them all dearly. What bothered me was the sheer magnitude and velocity at which these pictures were being hurled in my direction, especially when I was dealing with potential infertility. Didn’t my friends have anything better to do with their time? Did they really think the whole world revolved around them and their children? Why did they think they were so special just because they’d done something literally billions of others had done: procreate?
…and then I became a parent.
The thing is, when you join together with your husband and God to create a miracle, you become convinced that it’s probably the coolest/ best thing you’ve done with your life. I don’t care how much money you have, what sort of awards you’ve won, those sweet big eyes above those chubby cheeks are so innocent, you can’t imagine this perfect child will ever do anything wrong. You beam with pride every time you scroll through the pictures you’ve taken of the little angel. Surely, you think to yourself, this is the cutest child ever.
I, too, have become guilty of making sure every single person I come in contact with acknowledges how adorable our Petey Pete is. I post pictures to Facebook. I made an adorable Christmas card. When people in the grocery store tell me that my child is the most beautiful little boy they’ve ever seen, I lose all of my modesty and humility and say, I know, right?
Shortly after all of these encounters, reality hits me and I shake my head in disbelief. Who have I become? Peter is not perfect, he was born with original sin, just like all of the other babies ever born. I’m not the only mother to have a baby she loves immensely. I confront myself with the fact that maybe one of the reasons I post a lot of pictures of him is because I’m a stay at home mother of one pretty easy child. I don’t have a whole lot else going on during the day. Maybe one of the reasons I post so many is that being a mom can be really hard. The days are sometimes long and it helps to have a little encouragement from your friends and family.
I am ridiculously proud of the cute, tiny human God created and gave to us. I do, however, need to keep in perspective that Peter belongs to God, he’s just on loan to John and I to raise and teach how to serve God with his life. Peter isn’t really a reflection of John and I as parents, he should be a reflection of a child God created. Any glory we get for Peter should be totally redirected to his real Maker.
So, friends without kids, I know that when people post endless pictures of their kids, it may seem like they’re trying to fish for compliments or trying to brag about their seemingly perfect lives; that’s what I thought before I had a baby. Neither are typically (at least for me) the case. We all talk about things we spend our lives doing. Becoming a parent is a largely consuming occupation and it’s what we do all day, of course we’re going to talk about it. A lot. You acknowledge and support our lives as parents and we’ll acknowledge and support you in whatever occupies your time. After all, that’s what friends are for!