Thoughts on Kids & Online Privacy

To share or not share? That’s the question. I’m a blogger with a child, but I think almost every parent can relate in a world that is increasingly operating online. Thinking about how to be intentional with the way I choose to share and what my boundaries are is something I’ve dedicated a lot of time and mental energy towards, starting even before our daughter was born.

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photo by Laura Metzler Photo for Zestt Organics

You might be wondering why I haven’t posted monthly updates about Sage (or you might not have noticed or cared - cheers!) and the answer is complicated. I’m still figuring out how I feel about parenting and blogging and social media. But I’m taking some time to get my thoughts out because I think this is an important conversation. What happens online matters and it is real life. I want to make it clear that I’m not judging any other parent for how they choose to handle this issue! It’s hard because I don’t think there is a clear right or wrong, but I wanted to make that clear before I move on with my own thoughts and how I’m handling it for the time being.

What’s Working for Me Right Now

In general, I am open to sharing my experience as a mother and the transition to parenthood here on the blog but I am less comfortable with sharing Sage’s life in such a permanent and public way. Partly because I feel that even though she’s only seven months old, it’s still her life and not mine to share. But even more than that, I don’t want to feed into comparison. As a parent, I think that every single thing Sage does it amazing and worth celebrating. Even though her physical development has little to do with me, it’s very rewarding from a personal sense. But I worry that sharing monthly posts about Sage would make me too aware of what she is or isn’t doing and how it stacks up to other babies her age. Babies develop at their own pace and the range of normal is so wide. But somehow it all evens out by the time they are toddlers. So I wonder if it’s really worth worrying if your baby is ahead or behind on milestones anyway? Outside of conversations with your pediatrician, family and close friends at least. I’m documenting these types of things in her baby book and that feels right to me.

As far as social media goes, I have a private Instagram account that I created for Sage and intend to use to make one big photobook after her first birthday. On my personal/business Instagram account, I share some day-to-day stuff with Sage through Instagram Stories and will share about her periodically on my feed but almost never in real time. In general, I choose not to post about Sage on Facebook. I’m using my personal Facebook less these days - outside of Messenger, which I use a ton! Anthony and I each joined Facebook in 2006 so that means there’s already 13 years of our ramblings and photos floating around the internet forever. I’m not a stickler about it. I’ve broken my own rule a few times and I don’t mind if someone else shares a picture that Sage is in. There’s a big gray area between the sharing and not sharing, you guys. But I’ve found it easiest to make general rules for myself so that way I don’t have to make the decision everyday about where my boundaries are with sharing online. As a parent, there are more than enough decisions you have to make everyday already!

Overall, my thinking is if I start sharing real-time updates of Sage now, by the time she’s old enough to Google her name she will have 100+ pages of search results. And that feels a little scary and overwhelming to me. It may not to you, and that’s fine! I guess having a child has shown me even more that I am kind of a private person, despite sharing some of my deepest, most vulnerable thoughts and experiences with you here in this little corner of the internet I’ve made for myself. How I feel about sharing Sage may change and evolve as she gets older - in fact, I’m certain it will! But in this first year of her life especially, I feel very protective over her and her babyhood.

How do you choose to share or not share your children online?

Reminder, I don’t think there’s a wrong answer! The best solution is the one that feels right for you and your family. But that being said, I would be interested to hear your thoughts and how you choose to handle this issue! Comment below or join the conversation on Instagram.

A Christmas Recap | 2018

This Christmas was special because it was Sage’s first. In years past, I shared multiple posts in the month of December about how I was decorating, what our Christmas cards looked like and other holiday inspiration. But this year, I’m sharing my first (and only) Christmas blog post today and it’s New Years Eve! While it’s a bit late to share any inspiration for this year, I still wanted to document what this Christmas looked like for our family, from simple decorating to establishing some new traditions.

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Decorating

We put up our tree just before Thanksgiving - something I never thought I would do! - but I took my time decorating it. In fact, I added the wood bead garland just a couple days before Christmas. Our nieces did some rearranging of ornaments, but I didn’t bother to fix it before snapping this photo this morning. The tree looks a little sparse here, but with the lights on it’s just right! Perfectly imperfect. Other than the tree, I kept the decorations very minimal. Just pulling out a few things from the attic like this gold deer I thrifted years ago and some small ceramic Santa figurines that belonged to my Nana.

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Christmas Cards

I love designing cards to send to our friends and family every year! We had our photos taken three times by Savannah Smith Photography this year so I added some extra favorites to the back side of our cards. I always share our highlights and wishes for the coming year. This year, they are pretty simple and all about Sage! I keep a copy of each year’s Christmas card in an album that I really love flipping through this time of year. You can see our previous years cards here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.

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New Traditions

Sage’s first Christmas felt a little like my first Christmas again. Holidays start to lose their magic in your young adult years but I can attest that once you have a child of your own, that spark comes back. My wish for Sage was to have a simple and meaningful first Christmas. We started some new traditions, like a Christmas Eve Brunch complete with homemade waffles and giving Sage just four gifts: want, need, wear and read. We aren’t sure how and if we’ll do Santa for Sage, but we have another 359 days to figure that out! We celebrated Christmas morning at home and had family come to visit in the afternoon. I really couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day for our first Christmas as a family of three.

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My Favorite Things for Baby | Birth to 3 Months

Putting together a baby registry is hard work! There are way too many options and gadgets out there and it's hard to know what your baby will like and what you will actually use. I know so many friends and readers that are about to have babies, so I wanted to share my favorite products that I'm using with Sage everyday. This isn't a comprehensive list of what to put on your registry, more just a round up of my most-used items at this stage. Since I've been at this motherhood thing for all of 3 months, consider this "part one". If you guys are interested, I can share updates around 6 months and 1 year because heaven knows, what a baby needs and wants changes so much in the first year!

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1. Wrap Style Carrier - Anthony and I both LOVE this thing! We also have an Ergo baby and a Moby wrap (both I found secondhand for a steal!) but this is CuddleBug Wrap Carrier is the one we reach for the most. The fabric is strong but stretchy which makes it a lot easier to get Sage in and out of. There are some good tutorials on YouTube if you are mystified on how these things work like I was.  After watching a video and practicing tying it twice, I was a pro!

2. Pacifiers and Pacifier Clips - We introduced pacifiers around 3-4 weeks and Sage took the Natursutten the best. I like that it's made from natural rubber and has a large shield that touches her nose and chin to mimic the feeling of breastfeeding. I recently ordered a patPAT because it has a similar one piece design and love the idea of a pacifier and teether in one. Plus, Lindsey (the owner/inventor of Ryan & Rose) just rocks at Instagram stories. We were gifted a pacifier clip at our baby shower and I think these are the best invention ever. The pacifier clip also prevents her pacifier from falling on the floor and getting dirty and or lost. Sage mostly uses a pacifier for naps and at bedtime but it's so handy to just clip it to her outfit so I don't have to go looking for it when we need it!

3. Portable Changing Station - My cousin's wife has a SkipHop Portable Changing Station for her son, and I knew I wanted to add one to our registry! In addition to being a changing pad, it has pockets for diapers and wipes and folds up nicely so it's easy to carry or throw into the diaper bag.

4. Baby Swing - We have the Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing and Sage loves it! She takes her morning nap in it everyday. The seat can be taken off for it to be a standalone bouncy chair as well.  It takes up a good bit of room, but it's definitely something we'll save for future babies once she outgrows it! 

5. Sleep Sacks - The hospital was out of sleep sacks somehow during our stay so we used a swaddle blanket, but since we've been home we've put Sage in a sleep sack every night before bed. They are safer for babies than a loose blanket and there are options with a swaddle wrap and without. We used a newborn size swaddle style one for the first few weeks and now we have a few different 0-6 month sleep sacks we cycle through. I love the Blue Daisy pattern of this one!

6. Promptly Journal - This was a gift from my best friend and I LOVE IT! I was having trouble finding a baby book I liked and she surprised me with this one. She knows me so well! It's called A Complete Childhood History and it's a beautiful linen bound book with simple journal prompts from pregnancy to 18 years. It's really the perfect baby book! It comes in a bunch of pretty colors, ours is sage green, of course!

7. Muslin Hooded Bath Towel - These towels are so soft, dry quickly and look adorable on her! They are lightweight but very absorbent and they have little belts we can use to tie them like a robe once she gets a little bigger. 

8. Canvas Diaper Backpack - my other best friend who lives in Hawaii now (and just had a baby herself!) sent us our dream diaper backpack stuffed with all the baby goodies. I can't say how much I love this bag! I wanted something utilitarian and unisex, so Anthony wouldn't feel silly carrying it but also, because I'm not a super girly girl anyway. I love having a backpack versus a purse style diaper bag because it keeps my hands and arms free. It has just the right number of pockets and side compartments that are great for stashing a water bottle and your phone. I give this diaper backpack a 10/10! It's from Oliday on Etsy. They have really nice looking camera bags and laptop bags too!

9. Dr. Bronners Unscented Baby Castile Soap - This is the soap we've been using with Sage since she was born. I love that castile soap has a million other uses and you just need a few drops so it lasts a long time. It's a natural, vegetable-based soap with no added fragrance or synthethic detergents or preservatives. 

10. Baby Bath Support - I didn't want an enormous baby bathtub that was bulky and hard to store, because they grow out of them so quickly! This Angelcare Bath Support is perfect. It has a simple and streamlined design, a soft mesh material that comfy for Sage, drains easily and has a built in hook for easy storage. 

Other Frequently Asked Baby Questions

For our car seat and stroller, we have this Graco travel system. My sister-in-law suggested getting a jogging stroller instead of a regular one, and I'm glad I did! This thing can go over curbs, grass, gravel and rough terrain with ease. We'll probably get an additional lightweight umbrella stroller once Sage is a little older, but for now this is all we need!

We are cloth diapering and honestly, it's not as hard as I thought it would be! This is the podcast that convinced me to give it a try. We use Bumgenius 5.0 Pocket Style cloth diapers and I'm really happy with them.

One item I didn't register for but wish I did?  A manual breast pump. I have a Medela double electric pump that was supplied by my insurance but I recently bought a one-piece silicone breast pump. (Shout out to my instagram friend Sierra for telling me about these!) Now that Sage is sleeping longer stretches, I found I was leaking a ton from whatever side I wasn't nursing her on in the middle of the night. Now I attach this thing and collect a couple ounces every night, just from the suction and completely hands-free. It would have been great to have for relieving engorgement in the early days of breastfeeding. The one piece design makes it super easy to clean too! I highly recommend it for any breastfeeding mom or mama-to-be.

Last thing! There are so many parenting books out there but one book I highly recommend? Baby Meets World by Nicholas Day. This is the book to pick up when you are burnt out on reading pregnancy and parenting books. It's not a book about how to do things with babies, its a book about how babies do things. It's a great blend of scientific research, the often strange and confounding history of child-rearing (did you know goat wet nurses were once a thing?) and the author's personal experiences as a stay-at-home dad. It's feel like the antithesis of a typical parenting book, because it doesn't tell you what to do. It highlights the mysteries, complexities and everything wonderful about babies and has let me see the little life we created in a whole new way.  But I'm not a professional book reviewer, so here's a description from someone who is:

“Nicholas Day has birthed a perfect book: expertly researched, beautifully written, wise, warm, honest, funny. What makes it fascinating is the same thing that makes it reassuring: When it comes to caring for babies, there has never been one right way to do it, but dozens--contradictory, bizarre (goat wet nurses!), hilarious in retrospect but always well-meant. If you have a baby, expect a baby, were or still are a baby, this is a book for you.” ―Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

Ok, one more thing but this is the last one - I promise! I didn't originally include a baby monitor on my favorite things list because we just started using one more recently. But I really love the one we have now! It's the YI Home Camera. It works with an app on your phone, has the ability to add more cameras (if you have or plan to have multiple kiddos!), has sound and video and also works as an intercom. And the best thing? It's only $30. 

Was this round up helpful? Would you like to see more motherhood and baby related posts on Stevie Storck Design Co. or are you just here for the interiors? Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation on Instagram!

 

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