A trip down Instagram Lane

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For the past few nights, I've had trouble getting to sleep. So, I either watch a true crime documentary (sweet dreams!) or surf social media until my eyes feel heavy. Yes, I know neither of these methods are recommended/good/smart/healthy, but it's usually the only time in the day I have 100% to myself so dammit I'm gonna do what I want.

Anyway, I used to have a separate Instagram account for VandenVogue, but it was annoying to try and keep two accounts going, so I deleted it and decided to just use my original IG. I figured 11 p.m. was a good time to go through and archive older posts I may not want public, and as a result - I relived my life for the past 5+ years.

What.A.Trip.

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My very first Instagram photo was of our dog, Moxie. In fact, when I joined Instagram, my posts reflect that my life consisted of my dog, boyfriend (now husband), what food we ate, cocktails we drank and places we traveled to. I took note of how, for a while, it seemed my days consisted of working from home for a popular dating site, doing Pilates 2x a day, wearing a bikini, high heels (not together), and making martinis. Then came the photos of our engagement, moving to Chicago, home decor and sightseeing. Then, of course, our wedding back in Upstate NY and peacefully fun honeymoon in the Finger Lakes region - Seneca Lake, to be exact. Shortly thereafter, posts about moving to California showed up. Our drive across the country - Nebraska, Colorado, Utah - and more home decor, as well as the inevitable beach shots and my knees on a lounge chair at the pool. In October.

At this point, I sat up in bed, not even realizing I had tears in my eyes. I had covered just two years of my life in photos and I couldn't believe how much we'd done. And, I wasn't even pregnant, yet.

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Of course, the posts went on from there - announcing my pregnancy, chronicling the growing baby bump, sharing it would be a boy and his very first day in the world. Baby O flooded my IG after that, and I couldn't help but notice Moxie posts were scarce. So, I looked over at her, called her up to the bed and snuggled her for a few minutes until she fell back asleep.

My tears dropped from my eyes as I realized how fast time goes. Owen was 9 months old when we moved back to the east coast. As I kept some photos up and archived others, I watched him grow all over again. I also saw how I had changed - my priorities and life in general. As I scrolled, I sort of relived the isolation I felt after he was born, and then gloriously witnessed my confidence as a mom blossom and my sense of self come back, remembering how I felt when I posted certain photos.

When I was done, about a little more than an hour later, I set the phone down and sighed. I felt a strange clarity wash over me and bigger excitement for the future, as well as an even deeper appreciation for my partner in life - my husband.

Also, fun fact: I had been looking at little baby photos for so long, that when Owen got up this morning, I almost didn't recognize the giant child smiling at me from his crib.

Honestly, I recommend everyone going through their Instagram for a walk down memory lane - to see where you've been and what you've done and how you've evolved and all that good stuff. Just remember to have some tissues nearby, though.

Kids on tablets are none of your business

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I recently came across a sponsored ad on Instagram for a tablet for kids that offered educational games. The caption was something like, "Don't let your kid become a YouTube zombie, get them this!" It played a video of a 2-year-old dragging shapes to their proper places.

As you can imagine...the comments were bananas. Here are two of my favorites:

"It's not even good for babies/toddlers to play devices. They need real physical toys to really learn."

"Here's an idea...don't give them electronics at all! Play with your kids! Let them play outside! Parents are so lazy these days!"

Like, relax. The problems with these types of comments are abundant. 1) Who is saying a parent buying this will just sit their child with it alllll day and not feed them, talk to them or play with them? No one, that's who, but thank you for generalizing and judging it's ever so appreciated. 2) Who is saying a child with this tablet (or ANY tablet) doesn't have other "physical" toys? That is ridiculous to assume and I'm embarrassed for the person who said that. 3) The 'parents are lazy these days' BS has to effing stop. Parents 'these days' are anything but lazy. If we're going to speak in broad terms, let's go there. I mean, 'back in the day' - moms used to smoke cigarettes, drink vodka martinis and talk on the telephone until their husbands came home, while their kids were just nibbling on the sofa leg or playing with matches. Dramatic, yes, but come on - haven't you seen Mad Men?

Anyway.

 via scarymommy.com

via scarymommy.com

Critiquing another parent's parenting style and skills is the most asinine thing ever, if you really think about it. Sleep training, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, organic food only, don't bring peanut butter to a store, baby wearing, pacifier weaning, TV/tablets are the devil -- the list goes on and on when it comes to topics moms (and dads, too) judge other parents on.

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We're all just trying to do what we feel is best for our kids - which, to me, means not judging what you feel is best for someone else's. Because, who knows? Maybe one day, our kids will become friends and continue to learn from each other - what they have in common and what they don't.

Besides, the most important thing, if you really think about it, is...aren't we supposed to be teaching the next generation acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and compassion? No two human beings are the same, and newsflash: parents and kids are human beings. I don't know about you, but I don't want my son growing up in a world where he's just a carbon copy of everyone else. We're raising humans, not robots.

Speaking of robots, yes -- I have a tablet for my son. It's an Amazon Kindle Fire Kids Edition and he loves it. He plays puzzles, watches some crazy person named Blippi and knows how to navigate how he wants to use it (tech is the present and future, right?) - because sometimes I need to take a shower. Because sometimes he is so active, he forgets how tired he is, so we sometimes have a little quiet Kindle time before a nap. Because sometimes during our car trips, his books and whatever else are boring him so he doesn't mind a puzzle app or watching Moana until we finish that last stretch before reaching our destination.

But, I guess a 'perfect' mom judging everyone else on social media wouldn't know that. Because it ain't her GD business. Now, where's my martini and that tablet?

(Kidding)

Uh, ok bye?

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"Isn't that the mom and dad from swim class" my husband asked.

I looked, and it was. We were at the farmers market and had left swim class 20 minutes prior. We had also just (sort of) met them a week ago at the first class, and they seemed nice. Granted, we didn't exchange names (except that of our kids) and I only briefly talked to the dad, who was in the pool with their infant son. But, I figured since we were both there at the farmers market at the same time - it might be nice to test the waters on a possible friendship, seeing as how our kiddos were testing the waters together at swim class.

I also had no plans of using that horribly corny line on them.

So, we walked up and I gave a little wave and smiled and said, "swim class, right? I'm Amanda..." and the mom just nodded and said something like, "Oh...yeah."

OK. Sooo, uhhh...

Her husband silently walked away to a table and sat down while she was waiting for their ice cream. I tried to make small talk about how cute their little girl and baby boy was and "how great they are in the water!" and I even said, "this is Owen..." and she literally ignored me except for tight smiles. When her food order came up, she said, to her daughter (I think), “let's go over here" and they just walked away to the table where the husband and baby were.

"Are we...supposed to...follow her, or...?" I said to my husband, who was JUST as bewildered and he said, "...she didn't say 'bye' or anything, so...but, I don't know..."

We looked at their table, and I thought maybe I would be able to gauge what the heck we were supposed to do, and then we walked somewhat closer to their table to see if they would pick their heads up and wave us over but nope. The vibe was clear. Their heads were down and body language colder than the pool water. I realized...she meant to give me an Irish goodbye right to my face.

RUDE AS HELL.

Here's the thing: I don't need to be friends with every mom I meet. I'm well aware that just because we are both women who have children doesn't mean we have a ton of shit in common and will be lifelong friends. I actually went home and stewed about this for way too long. I started laughing so hard at a scenario I cooked up where she goes around annoyed with every mom who tries to talk to her like she's famous or won some Best Mom Friend award and is now so overloaded with women wanting to breathe her air that she can't possibly even stand to engage with another human being lest they get the wrong idea.

Ugh. Because, you know what it all comes down to? I'm just big on manners. Like, please and thank you, chewing with your mouth closed...and simply saying 'hello' and 'goodbye' when appropriate. Basic stuff. Seems simple, right? I thought so, too.

Especially when, um...aren't children supposed to learn this stuff by example? I mean, let's be honest -- she could've even just said "bye!" to my KID and I would've been fine with that.