When I first started using Instagram a few years ago; single, living in London and without any children, I was a little apprehensive. Do people really want to see countless photos of my two dogs, my dinner or even the dogs’ dinner? I didn’t know how many photos would be considered too many, I didn’t want to bore people or put them off and I thought the whole hashtag thing was a little cringey and desperate.
Fast forward a few years; married, living in the country, two children, still two dogs (although now with Blue rather than Poppy, God rest her beautiful, fluffy soul) and I’m posting what could be considered as spam of all of the above, plus using hashtags like they’re going out of #fashion.
What I discovered when I started posting photos of Edie, and when those photos were repeatedly marked with a stamp of approval (a ‘like’) from loyal strangers, is that Instagram is made up of numerous communities. Unlike Facebook where you stick to friends and (for some reason) old school pals you haven’t seen for almost thirty years, Instagram provides a haven to post what you love. Whether it’s photos of children, food, beauty, fashion, coffee, travel, dogs, interiors or bagels, you can post without being judged and importantly, there's no unwritten obligation to follow if a feed isn't your thing - don't like photos of babies, cats or swirly lattes? - then simply unfollow. The varying communities tend to support each other and won’t hold back with a ‘like’ or a comment or inclusion in a hashtag such as #onefromthecuttingroomfloor or #WIDN (What I’m Doing Now – I’m still waiting to see some more realistic photos, like a ‘Here I am having a poo scrolling through the latest ASOS collection’ photo). Facebook ‘friends’ on the other hand, probably couldn’t care less that you just captured that cute photo of your baby’s face covered in Petit Filous (and have probably muted your feed anyway). On Instagram there’s also the added bonus of advice should it be required – followers won’t hesitate to offer opinions on childhood issues such as sickness, sleep deprivation or places to visit, just as fashionistas or interior lovers will converse with strangers on where they picked up their latest must-have.
I would say, and my wife, much to her annoyance would agree, that I’m bit of an Instagram addict. I love it. I love taking photos of my children, capturing magical moments and sharing them. Some people don’t understand why there’s a need to share them, but the various Instagram communities do. I enjoy trawling through other parents’ photos too - they provide entertainment, inspiration and an unexpected validation that others are in the same child-friendly boat.
So, I thought I’d share some of my favourite Instagram feeds from the parenting community I enjoy. Most of these are mums as there seems to be some weird macho thing going on with dads on Instagram – some just don’t open up and prefer to post memes, then there’s some who have no interest in anything outside of their own feed and their follower numbers (*cough, cough* naming no names).
Some of the parents below post great/cute/honest images, some go on wild adventures, some have children wearing amazing clothes, some post inspiring photos of their children doing what children should be doing (painting, getting muddy etc), but most of all, they just seem like really nice people.
In no particular order…
1. @bymariapia – her photos are like an art gallery - so good!
2. @fourbearsandme – bright, colourful photos that are full of such happy children.
4. @emjayne0 – err, has anyone ever seen cuter twins?
5. @paternityleavedad - a man! Hurrah!
6. @arlo_and_i – Arlo always looks so happy and let’s face it, Arlo is the best boy’s name ever!
7. @betty_p_ - one of my absolute favourites. Such beautiful, colourful shots by the coast.
8. @urban_crumbs – great photos capturing a fun childhood in Philadelphia (the city, not children covered in soft cheese).
9. @thewoodlandwife – such an inspiring feed of her home, the surrounding woodland, her dog and her daughter.
10. @annegassaway – always capturing incredible light that not even a million Instagram filters could compete with.
11. @mielaerkerasmussen – possibly the nicest person on Instagram? And her children are always being so creative...
12. @huntersandheels – Ollie is such a cute little boy! Always looks so, so happy…
13. @iheartrachel – museums, galleries, East London, cool clothes… yes please.
14. @awaitingaivey – the cutest little girl in New York.
15. @two_baby_birdies – lovely children and let’s face it, Edie is the best girl’s name ever!
16. @coffeeworksleep – delightful photos capturing modern day family life.
17. @familyfeasts – the tastiest family-friendly food you ever did see!
18. @abby_rockingham – simply one of the best out there!
19. @laurafoxoliveira – the coolest little boy!
20. @the_rocco – one of my early favourites and still is…
21. @tate_and_fable – Tate with his incredible blonde hair and Fable with the deepest eyes you’ll ever see!
22. @petra.l.e.a – charming, friendly and cosy feed of kids, four-legged friends and home life.
23. @noah_and_mummy – some brilliant and funny (see snot bubble) photos of Noah!
24. @amy_and_harrison – happy photos of a very happy boy!
25. @mon_and_pete – and finally another dad (Pete, with Mon of course), phew! An enchanting, joyful feed of life with their daughter!
There you go, 25 of my favourite feeds. There are many, many more… Apologies if I’ve left anyone glaringly obvious out. God, I feel terrible now! But anyway, cheers for keeping me entertained, making me smile and providing inspiration with photos of your wonderful adventures and your amazing children… #thanks