Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I have two beautiful kids: a 6-year-old boy with my ex-wife, and a 14-month-old girl with my wife. They’re the best.
Problem is, I’m kind of in a pickle when it comes to posting pictures of them online. My ex-wife is very public with pictures of our son. We’ve always posted them. My wife now doesn’t want any pictures of our daughter on social media. If she talks about her at all online, she doesn’t even refer to her by her actual name. Instead she uses nicknames or refers to her as our daughter.
I respect that and don’t place any photos of her at all on the internet. I’ve even asked friends and family to remove any I have found of her online.
Everyone has been very apologetic and gracious about it, but I’ve been met with the question of why I won’t when there are so many pictures of my son on social media. My only response is, different wife and mother, different ideas of privacy.
Truth is, I’d love to share pictures of my daughter. My wife knows this but says we are giving our daughter the gift of privacy, and of being able to craft her own online identity in the future. I understand this, but some of my friends think it’s overboard. What do you think?
No Man’s Land
Dear No Man’s Land: I think your wife is going to be on the right side of history.
And I think there’s so little to gain from your getting any concessions from her on this that any discord you introduce into your marriage for it will be among the most pointless of all time. Like armed robbery to steal a Chia Pet.
And I think “some of my friends” need to butt the fox out. Seriously.
Forget the issue of posting kid pix online, which I’ll accept as parents’ prerogative — though, for the record, my sympathies are with those “giving our daughter the gift of privacy, and [the ability] to craft her own online identity.”
You’re also a parent and spouse who has found a respectful way to navigate the needs and habits of your children’s two very different mothers. Anyone who would egg you on, or just apply thoughtless jokey peer-pressure, to mess with this delicate balance is not acting like much of a friend.
Your “only response” is the right one, so, stick to it. Feel free to shut down anyone who pushes it with, “It works for us, thanks,” though it’s frankly discouraging that anyone you are not or have not been married to would care so much.
Re: Kids on social media: A happy medium we’ve found with far-flung family is to have a shared iCloud album of photos of our kids. It’s not public anywhere and is invite-only. It’s a nice way to keep in touch without feeling like we’re also blasting the kids online everywhere.
Dear Anonymous: Thanks. If the group is big enough, maybe it can even scratch the publicity itch, which seems to be what drives us to such distraction.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.