Can I make a confession? Every year on my son’s birthday, I try to steal a moment and give myself a little pat on the back. For the excruciating hours I labored in the delivery room. For all the soupy, smelly diapers I’ve changed. For the countless books and articles I’ve read so I could be a better parent. For the long nights spent rocking him back to sleep. As much as I love being a mom — and I very much do — it’s not the easiest gig out there, and I think there’s something to be said for acknowledging the hard work every now and then.
Pampers Japan is right there with me and devoted an entire commercial to us mothers (h/t Huffington Post). In the tearjerker of an ad, we see moms taking their babies for their first-year checkup. They talk frankly to the pediatrician about their child’s progress but also about their first year as a mom. “I was so unsure when she was first born,” one woman says. “I’d worry myself to tears almost every day.” Another wondered, “Am I doing this right?” (Sound familiar?)
But more interesting than that were the goings-on in the hall outside the doctor’s office. Dads were setting up a surprise party, but the guest of honor wasn’t their newly minted one-year-old. It was mom, who was also celebrating her first year as a parent. There was cake, yes, but also (and here’s where I start bawling) photos and signs celebrating them and their commitment to their families. “I almost cried when you first said ‘hello’ to our son,” one dad wrote on a sign. “Thank you for deciding to do this,” wrote another.
Grab the tissues and watch the full video below. (And be sure to turn on the video captions, unless you speak Japanese.)
Tell us: How has motherhood been for you so far? What has surprised you the most?
Every mom is convinced her baby is head and shoulders above the rest, but some may just have legit bragging rights on the playground.
Consider British mother Onyi Chiedozie, whose infant daughter Amara is already making international headlines after figuring out how to hold a bottle to her mouth and feed herself — at the ripe age of three days old! Now three weeks old, the pint-sized phenom can even push away the bottle when she’s done with it. (For the record, the average baby doesn’t master that whole grabbing thing until the six-month mark.) Onyi is so blown away by her daughter’s feats that she’s been documenting them every day. And while some moms (okay, me) would have taken the accomplishment as a sign of their baby’s natural genius, Chiedozie is much more pragmatic. “I just think she has a lot of strength,” she told the Daily Mail. “I’m not sure why, though, as she wasn’t particularly heavy when she was born.” (Amara weighed a 6 lbs. 3 oz. at birth.)
On the other side of the pond, another kiddo is making news — but not for her physical prowess. Drew Barrymore’s daughter, Olive, isn’t two years old yet but she is already showing signs of becoming a serious bibliophile. According to celebritybabyscoop, the proud mom posted an adorable Instagram photo of Olive curled up on a beach chair poring over Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. “One of my favorite girls reading one of my favorite books written by one of my favorite women! #tinafeyrules #summerreading,” Barrymore wrote in the caption. And sure, while the chances that Olive can actually read and comprehend the book are pretty slim, the budding bookworm does appear to be taken with the words on the page. Which makes sense, since reading time is a big deal in Barrymore’s house. “I read Olive a lot of books,” the mom of two told Us Weekly last year. “She loves books! That’s her favorite thing in the world — books.”
Now it’s your turn to brag — what’s your baby doing lately that amazes you?
On any given day, my Facebook news feed is a mix of the mundane (friends checking in at restaurants), the cryptic (screen shots of inspirational messages), the trendy (ice bucket challenge videos), and the tragic (mourning the loss of journalist James Foley).
Oh yeah, and lots and lots of babies. My nearest and dearest are diligent about recording every moment of their children’s lives and posting them all online. As much as I enjoy watching their kiddos grow up, I have no intention of reciprocating with pictures of my own son. Other than a few shots from three years ago, my social media accounts are purposely baby-free.
Turns out, I’m not the only one whose wall is missing posts about the family. As the AP reports, more parents are making efforts to keep their baby’s photos, name, and identity offline as part of a growing movement called “baby blackout.” The reasons why some moms and dads are consciously uncoupling from social media are varied: Many are concerned about privacy and safety breaches, while some are uneasy about what sites like Facebook and Instagram — or their users — could do with all that personal information. Still others believe in holding off creating an online footprint until their child is old enough to consent to it.
But baby blackouts are still the exception, not the rule. According to a 2011 study cited in the article, a whopping 66 percent of Gen X parents said they upload photos of their kiddos, while more than 50 percent said they spread the word about their child’s accomplishments over social media. And hey, I get it: posting something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is fast, efficient, and fun to boot. It’s a way to bridge the miles between you and distant friends and family.
Still, I’m firmly in the blackout camp. I’ve been working in the digital space for years now and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the stuff we put online doesn’t vanish easily. Even though sites like Facebook let you determine privacy settings to an extent, they’re also notorious for changing those settings without much notice, leaving previously protected content open for all the world to see. They’re also less than open about how they’re collecting and using our data, which makes me more than a little uncomfortable. While it’s not the end of the world if a friend of a friend stumbles across a photo of my child at soccer practice, why would I run the risk of it ending up in the wrong hands? My son has the rest of his life to create an online footprint — for now, I’m content keeping him unplugged.
Tell us: What kind of information do you share about your baby online?
Jay Z may have 99 problems, but finding his baby twin ain’t one.
Word of the rap mogul’s pint-sized doppelganger quickly spread after a Reddit user posted a photo of him with the caption, “My friend’s son looks like Jay Z.” Um, you think? This kid has Hova’s full lips, almond-shaped eyes, and even the half-scowl down pat. Just saying, he can give this other Jay Z lookalike from 1939 a run for his money.
Of course, baby-celeb lookalikes are nothing new. Last year, Mommy Shorts rounded up 30 such twins, and though some were kind of a stretch, a few nailed it. (See: John Goodman and the Cabbage Patch Kid.) Still, I have yet to see one that’s as spot on as the Reddit baby, have you?
Most delivery room pictures (mine included!) look a little something like this: sacked-out mom holds swaddled-within-an-inch-of-his-life newborn and grins wearily for the camera. But a new series of pictures burning up the Internet may make parents-to-be want to rethink their first family photo.
Toronto couple Frank Nelson and BJ Barone welcomed their son, Milo, on June 27 the way most of us do: with overwhelming joy, lots of tears, and maybe even a little fear. Unlike most of us, though, the first-time dads were lucky to have professional photographer Lindsay Foster on hand to record the moment they first held the baby, before his umbilical cord was even cut. (She was shooting the birth as a gift for her friend, who was also the couple’s gestational surrogate.) They were also fortunate that the midwife gave them a heads-up to remove their shirts right before the birth for some important skin-to-skin time with the baby.
The photos are, simply put, extraordinary. Every time I look at them, I’m immediately back in the delivery room, cradling my brand-new son, and drinking in everything about him. And considering how quickly the pictures went viral, I bet I’m not the only one who feels that way.
“She absolutely captured the most beautiful moment,” Nelson told Today. “I was completely overwhelmed. I was so scared of dropping the baby. Mostly, the feeling was of joy and love and amazement.”
Barone added, “I was so excited, so overjoyed, so overcome with emotion, it was an incredible moment I will never forget. The fact we have this photo, it’s a reminder of how much love we have for him.”
Surely making Milo’s birth that much more special was the fact that he was born during Toronto’s World Pride gay rights festival. “That picture, to us, represents what pride is all about and how far the LGBT community has come,” Nelson said. “Love is love, and that’s what pride is all about.”
Congratulations to the new family!
Tell us: Do you wish you would have hired a professional photographer to shoot your baby’s birth?