Skip the Instagram and Enjoy Being in the Moment With Your Family

by Jenny Rapson | September 4, 2014 at 10:35 am | comments

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I don’t know about you, but one thing I really like about social media is sharing photos of my kids. What can I say? I’m proud of the little whippersnappers! And so, like many parents, I’ve been Facebook-ing and Instagram-ing every fun family activity for a couple of years now. Or I did, until recently, when I had an epiphany: By sharing our every family moment with my social media communities, I was actually missing out on what I was trying to share.

“Just a second,” I’d call after every photo (or 5th or 6th photo I’d take in my quest to get the image of our family fun just right) as my family sighed impatiently. After awhile, the constant photo-and-upload breaks in the midst of fun were…ruining the fun. So what was the point? I was either interrupting activities to take and upload photos or I was sitting on the sidelines documenting the fun without actually participating with my family.

As a Together Counts Energy Balance Ambassador, I am always looking for ways to be active with my kids, so sitting out in order to take pictures just wasn’t working for me. I’m not sure exactly when, but sometime this summer I made the decision to play more and upload less. Sure, I may still take a couple photos, but then I put the camera down and go play. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that the world doesn’t need to see what my family is doing while we’re doing it. They don’t really even need to see it at all. Those photos and memories are for us, and if I do choose to share them via social media, there’s absolutely no harm in doing it after the fact. That’s why the hashtag “#latergram” was invented, after all.

So, this summer, I have hardly any pics of my kids at the pool that aren’t during break time. Because when it’s time to swim, I am in the pool with them rather than shouting at them from the sidelines asking them to strike an adorable pose. On our recent family vacation, I went totally crazy and actually took quality pictures on my nice, non-smartphone camera, saving the editing and uploading for after the kids were in bed and family fun was over for the day.  Of course, I still gave myself plenty of non-picture taking time to get in on the action, too, and there were some activities I chose not to bring my camera to at all, just snapping a couple phone photos to share (or not) later if I felt like it.

And you know what? It’s been great. Our family activities have included less exasperated sighs from the kids, less interruptions, and more being in the moment and being active together. I still love sharing my family’s fun moments via social media, but I love doing it on a timetable that is better for all of us. Cutting out the need to document this very second and just being together in the moment instead has really made a big difference in our summer fun.

Are you a social media over-sharer or do you always leave the camera at home? I’d love to hear how you best like to share your favorite family memories with your loved ones.

Jenny Rapson is a writer and social media project manager who lives in southwest Ohio with her husband of thirteen years and their three great kiddos. When she’s not cutting up grapes for her toddler or serving as referee for her school-agers, she co-authors the funniest parenting and lifestyle blog ever (written by first cousins, that is) over at Mommin’ It Up with her cousin Emily Berry.