Every year, I dedicate the weeks leading up to Halloween to posting some of the weirdest and/or grossest submissions I receive, and this year is no exception. Starting this week and for the two weeks after that, I’ll be posting a few “creepy” (or disgusting) columns detailing some of the darker side to oversharing. First up: Documoms!
I wrote about documoms around this time last year, because I’d noticed a trend of mothers taking pictures of their children’s mouths at various stages of development. That was pretty weird – weirder than this column, in my opinion – but this time around, I wanted to do more of an overview of the documom trend. Teeth and mouths are a bizarre focus, for sure, but moms are apt to take pictures of lots of things related to their kids. And the difference between a momarazzi and a documom are drastic. Momarazzi just take zillions of pictures of their children being cute. Cute in the highchair, cute on the floor, cute in the park, cute at the zoo. Documoms, however, take their kid photography to a whole new level.
The pictures aren’t so much of their kids, but rather of something related to their kids’ bodies. I don’t mean that in a crass way, of course, but these are the parents who showcase something specific, more like a nurse who’s updating a patient chart. Oftentimes, the photos are taken because it’s the child’s “first.” First knee gash, first loose tooth extraction, first piece of belly button lint (seriously). But what comes across is this attitude of, “If it happened, it should be on Facebook.” And I’m taking the other side of that argument and saying no, it doesn’t. Not everything our children say or do should be posted online, and that includes respecting their physical privacy. What’s the point of HIPAA if your own mother is always posting your medical history or pictures of your weird bodily habits online? Can’t we let our children pick their noses and cut up their faces in peace?
Here are but a few examples of documoms who just don’t know when to put the camera down.
Okay, so your kid got some stitches. I could understand maybe posting a picture of him eating an ice cream cone afterward with the caption, “Ice cream makes getting stitches all better,” or something like that. But this picture is just a zoomed-in view of this kid’s face and eyebrow. Is that really necessary? It looks like a picture he took of himself that you’d discover on your camera, giggle over, and delete, not a picture that was taken with the sole purpose of getting as close to “the action” as possible.
2. Dead Skin
This picture isn’t even lit up enough to see it, but that’s not a big deal to Stevie. She’s just getting the point across that her daughter likes to pick at the dead skin off her feet. And honestly, I think it’s great that little Cara wants to help out her mom. Kids can be so useful! But did the moment need to be captured and posted to Facebook for everyone else to “enjoy,” too? It’s not inherently funny, and the scene isn’t especially adorable. Stevie just wants everyone to know that she and her daughter are close like that. Perhaps later she can take a picture of the dead skin in the jar she keeps it in that she plans to give to Cara on her wedding day?
3. Teeth and Gums
I don’t even know if I’ve seen my own gums this close-up, so why would I want to see Kristina’s kid’s? I understand why she’s getting this view, as the boy’s mother, but as a casual Facebook user I would not want to be confronted with this picture on my lunch break. His mouth appears to be formed in a “WHYYY??!!!” shape, and it’s far more than anyone wants to see. I’m thinking that writing an update that said, “My baby is getting a couple of teeth in!” would have done the trick.
Just because it came out of your kid’s body doesn’t mean it needs to be plastered online. In fact, that should usually be an indication that it shouldn’t be plastered online, but evidently R. begs to differ. This is another example of something that no one had to see to believe. “A tonsillectomy?! Ya don’t say.”
5. Eye Infection
Finally, we come to one of the more irritating (no pun intended) examples of documom, which is when a parent takes a picture of her kid when s/he is sick or has some kind of infection. Sure, this little girl may not care about her mom taking a bunch of pictures of her messed up eye now, but maybe later when she’s older she’ll wonder why the hell it was posted on Facebook. It’s so obviously gratuitous and posted in an effort for Olivia to get attention, and I can’t understand why she couldn’t have just sent it to a few close friends. Remember, fellow documoms, if you feel an urge to share an intimate picture of your kid when she’s not at her best, email works just fine.