Dear Internet, Do You Really Need to Know?


I am not sure if it’s because my daily life for six years has consisted of the SAHM routine or if it’s because I am some kind of millennial, but I had a realization one day: I think in social media captions.

Any funny moment, household disaster, and kid-related pandemonium that occurs, immediately sets my brain whirring about the best way to describe it to the masses online, with a bonus if I can get a picture to accompany the post. Because I have the memory of a gnat these days, I usually have to post my brilliant thoughts immediately, whether there is mud all over the baby, a toddler struggling to keep up on his bike or a six-year-old begging to look at the video again. The few times I resist IG’ing a picture or pouring my laundry woes on Facebook, there is a lingering urge that haunts me for a while, whispering to “just get it out there.”

Why? WHY? Why do you need to know everything, Internet?

Why do you need to see my life ticking along, Instagram? Why do I feel the need to justify all my thoughts, and exert my opinions and helpful hints on everyone, Facebook? Why have my thoughts begun to condense themselves into tiny snippets, little pieces of broken sentences with cleverly placed wack-o faces or characters to “accurately” express what I have apparently lost the ability to explain in real words?

Let me tell you all the things!

All I can come up with is an excuse: it feels like someone is listening.

Oh, what a human desire it is to just be heard. This desire is magnified even more so when one is placed in a house with children who have no desire or capacity to listen and most recently, the worst flu season in memorable history. I crave to know that someone is listening and want them know that my kid just spit up on me, and that I’ve graduated to such pro-Mom status that I can wipe it off with a old tissue and wear the same shirt for another 24 hours. I want someone else to admire the enormous smiles and thighs of my son. I want to share the misery of another lost night of sleep and that I am totally going to lose my mind, except that I am such a boss mom that I actually won’t let that happen and life will go on. Go me! And don’t even get me started on the gratification that comes from the likes, loves and laughing-’til-I-cried faces. Now I am starting to sound ridiculous but, c’mon; raise a hand if you ever go through the list to see who responded to your hilarious quip?

I love that I can instantly get updated on my friends and family around the country, and I appreciate the community that social media has given me with people I never would have met in normal life, but I worry about this compulsive need to feed the Newsfeed and to make sure I provide updates on my life  (just not too many in one day because that’s social media faux pas). What will this kind of brain behavior look like in my own kids? Will they grow up only knowing how speak this way? Will their generation’s rules of social engagement be helped or hurt by this constant, incessant need to have a face and a place on all platforms?

It is an unsettling concept for me to think about because I’d like to believe that I make perfect decisions in parenting and in my personal life, but I am pretty sure I am engaging in a practice that is addictive and temporarily satisfying, with long term, unforeseeable effects. I wish I could be content during this period of my life without demanding others’ attention, without having to pour out my carefully put together thoughts. I want to get to a place where I am not so dependent that I cannot listen to others well.

So, the newest filter I hope to implement in my social media lifestyle will be, ”Do you really need to know, Internet?” Perhaps, in doing so my mind will begin to process and store memories by itself again, without hashtags, emojis or touch ups. What a relaxing thought!


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