It’s not too much that I read anywhere on the web that makes me go ah-ha but something I read recently did.
Before I share that here’s some background. I guess you could say I fit into the category of mummy blogging because I’m a mum and because I blog about being a mum sometimes. It crosses my mind occasionally that I’m writing about another person – albeit one I pushed from my loins – and he knows that his photos are on the web, but he doesn’t really get that I write about him yet.
I’m also aware that there are potential safety issues around me posting images of him on my website and on Flickr. People have differing views about this and I fall into the category of posting images and stories about my son. He’s such a big part of my life that he can’t be obliterated completely from my blog because it’s a personal one. I don’t advertise my address or details of where he goes to school so we are fairly anonymous, and let’s face it, it’s not like millions of people read this website anyway.
Lots of people, however, do read Heather Armstrong’s website – Dooce where she blogs with her real name and writes a lot about her daughter. My ah-ha moment came when I read a recent post of hers where she wrote about blogging about her daughter.
‘Will you resent me for this website? Absolutely. And I have spent hours and days and months of my life considering this, weighing your resentment against the good that can come from being open and honest about what it’s like to be your mother, the good for you, the good for me, and the good for other women who read what I write here and walk away feeling less alone. And I have every reason to believe that one day you will look at the thousands of pages I have written about my love for you, the thousands of pages other women have written about their own children, and you’re going to be so proud that we were brave enough to do this. We are an army of educated mothers who have finally stood up and said pay attention, this is important work, this is hard, frustrating work and we’re not going to sit around on our hands waiting for permission to do so. We have declared that our voices matter.
These are the stories of our lives as women and they often include you, yes. Am I endangering you by posting pictures of you? Many people think so, but then they’d have to admit that when I take you to the grocery store I am exposing your face to hundreds of strangers, people who can see what car we drove up in, the license plate number, and the direction we head home. Maybe we shouldn’t ever leave the house, otherwise? STRANGERS WILL KNOW WHAT WE LOOK LIKE. Worse? They will know I prefer Tampax to the generic brand.’
In particular the second paragraph above of Heather’s where she talks about exposing her daughter’s face to people during their day-to-day life struck a chord with me.
The number of times I walk around with my son and say his name for one reason or another are extensive. Anyone can hear me say that, store the information, approach him and pretend they know him if I’m looking in another direction or otherwise distracted. This is probably more likely to happen than someone stalking him via photos on a website. I lost him at a department store once and while frantically looking for him I heard over the loudspeaker for JJ’s mum to please find him at the front desk. I asked how they knew his name because he was a bit too young to say it, and they’d heard me say it to him. The amount of times I’m saying JJ come here, or JJ do this, anyone could use that information to their sick advantage.
I included the first paragraph of Heather’s above because it sums up so well why so many of us are mummy bloggers. I know that writing about some (not all) of my parenting struggles here has helped me enormously and for me outweighs any potential safety issues surrounding him. I figure that it’s better for me to get some stuff off my chest now than to bottle it up for a melt-down along the line somewhere.
My son will be able to read this one day and cringe with embarrassment that I did write about it, but if he becomes a dad, he’ll be able to say, ‘Yes, I did that when I was a kid.’ I’d love to be able to read about what I got up to as a kid, because it might bring back some memories of being a kid and what it was like from my mum’s point of view.
Hopefully, JJ, when you read this one day you will see this for the document of your life that it is and you’ll have every right to blog about me. And hopefully you’ll see that I blogged about you because I love you.
Keep in mind that there’s a heck of a lot I don’t say about him, or about me for that matter, on this website and I don’t publish any naked pictures of him. I’m saving them for his 21st birthday party.