I started my blog in 2013 out of a need to keep writing (my lifelong creative outlet) and to vent about my struggles as a new mother. While, I understood anything I put online wasn’t technically private, I did little to promote my work and gain an audience beyond my family and a few random followers. My writing was raw and more like what I would journal in a private notebook than something worthy of a larger audience. However, even from the beginning, I hesitated to reveal every personal detail.
While, I want my blog to be a place where I can be candid about my experiences as a mother, I also need to be mindful of my family and how my writing impacts their lives. I am sure, I have already written plenty which could embarrass my children, which is why, I will never write anything which mentions their real names, or share photos of them with clear shots of their faces. I do understand that because I myself am not anonymous, there are ways for people to find out who they are, but I at least can make it more challenging.
In this age of the YouTube star, however, I am not the only person who recognizes the publicity of children. My oldest adores these young stars, and wants to be on YouTube himself. As a parent, I need to understand this new world I never experienced as a child. I want my child to express himself, yet, at only five, I don’t think he fully comprehends what it means to be a public figure. I conceded to make a few videos just showing his hands — much like those popular toy opening videos. Hopefully, I can get them edited soon and have a few to share.
My husband is another person whose privacy I feel compelled to protect. His name will never be used in my blog, nor will I ever get too specific about his line of work. Even though, I chide him over his behavior on social media, I respect he does it on his forums, and in his space.
Beyond protecting names and other personal information, I want to respect my family in how I share information about our lives. As a mom blogger, it would be impossible for me not to allude to my children. However, I have learned it isn’t always what you write, but how you write about it.
If my son was struggling in school, for example, I would write about what actions I was taking to rectify the situation and what feelings I might have regarding education. I would never intentionally shame my child for having trouble.
Speaking of shaming, this is also a big no-no for me. I will never share a picture or story of bad behavior solely for the purpose of laughs. If I do share something, I want to show how everyone, myself included, has evolved and what we learned.
Much of my own vault has yet to be revealed. I am often guarded in my real life, sometimes even more than I am online, so I hold back. I don’t follow a set of rules when it comes to myself; instead, I let the words come out and decide when to hit publish.
Regardless of what I share, I want my words to resonate with my readers. I hope when I write about my struggles with bedtime, another parent might find comfort in knowing someone else is going through the same thing. I want my joys in the progress my children are making to remind others of their joys. Mostly, I want my readers to know their is someone out there who is just trying to figure it all out.
My fellow bloggers/writers, how much do you reveal?
Well, I don’t have a blog, but I do post fairly often on Twitter & Instagram, and a fair number of those have to do with my daily experiences as a wife/special-needs mom. I always and have always referred to my children online as “Eldest” and “Youngest”. I do mention a fair bit that they are fraternal female twins, but that’s hardly unique. My husband is generally called something like “my dear husband”, “darling hubby”, or “DH”. My biggest no-no is referring to “normal”, as something my kids are not. I also avoid saying it in real life. I get that not using that word contorts the language a bit, but frankly I care more about their self-esteem than others’ opinions of my grammar. (Also, I’m a spelling champion and a member of a family of published writers, so bring it.)
I hear you. You probably help lots of other special needs families by sharing your stories.
I’m kind of a reveal all so people can learn from our experiences. My daughter has been going through something and I thought about not discussing it, but I think I will eventually. Mainly because I want moms to know they’re not alone in whatever situation arises. Who knows what I put out in the universe will help someone else, even if it’s just to know they’re not the only ones going through a similar issue.
I understand that. Sharing helps others know they are not alone!
This is always such a fine line for me as someone who writes about my experience as a parent. I do use my children’s names and photos. They were a little a older when I started, but not that old. I have never regretted it, but I do sometimes wonder if I should have used a pen name. I am careful about what I write, always using my own experience and never my kids. My husband also edits me so he is also mindful of keeping some things private. But I will always wonder if I made the right choice. Thanks.
I wonder about using a pen name as well. I don’t share my name a lot here, but it’s not a secret. I use my real name on other sites. I wonder what people will say about all this in 50 years.
It really is a hard line to tow, especially when people overshare as it. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I know that it’s been an interesting balance. Some of my kids have always been on the blog. Thanks for your perspective and it really reiterates the importance of making sure we give our kids that privacy.
Agreed. I think when mine are a bit older, and understand what it means to be public online, I might allow them to put themselves out there