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.
I can relate to this Jen and especially with my twins.
I am of the same view as you anyone I bump into shopping could follow me home (lucky our front door is along way from the street and our backyard fully enclosed with difficult access …)
I say my boys so many times out shopping (and so many ask me their names ) …like you said anyone could call them and they would go.
Do you remember the TV show that showed kids being helpful to strangers and even older teens letting strangers in the door when they said they had a parcel to deliver.
I also don’t write indentifing stuff or my husband’s business profession because of it’s uniqueness – anyone could find us. I hope my boys one day see it as a record of my love for them.
I think it is great how we can share and encourage each other when we have our own meltdowns, other times saying I have been there down that and it is a relief knowing we aren’t alone in our struggles.
Blogging is history making.
My kids may also go through a time when they won’t appreciate my blogging about them but as an adult, I hope they will appreciate all the intracacies of our story. I would have liked the same. To know how my mother felt while we were growing up would have given me insight and understanding of her view on things. Even as a young adult her personality was like a well kept secret. It is only now (through reading my blog) that she has become more open about her life as a mother.
Trish, Yes, I think there’s lots of people who do the middle ground like you and me. That is, we post and write about our families but don’t give away too much information about them. No I don’t remember that TV show.
Tiff, thanks for your comments. It will be interesting to see how our kids react when they start reading about themselves on our blogs.
lol my daughter knows I blog about her – she often comes up to me and says “Jeanie, grant me three wishes”.
Great quotes there Jen, and very thought provoking.
Jeanie, your daughter has a beautiful sense of humour. Love it.
Feral Beast (he chose his own nickname, btw) knows I refer to him now and then but this morning he asked if he could sit down and read my blog properly, “even the bits where you’ve told everyone that I’ve been silly, mum”.
Our kids will definitely love the record we’re keeping today, for tomorrow 😉
Jayne, I so hope you’re right. At least it will open discussion which can only be good.
Jen, I think the younger generation quite likes the publicity. Especially since it’s always so positive from their mum’s point of view.
I really enjoyed this post and you are absolutely right about what you say about protecting your child from strangers. The world is full of them.
I like that you consider the implications to your son too.
I couldn’t agree with you more. My children were not too young when I started blogging (11 and 13), but I still worried a bit at first about using their names and photos. I compromised with myself by not disclosing where exactly we lived and where they went to school.
Now that they are 15 and 17 and have MySpace and Facebook pages, my blogging about them is the least of my worries. They know that I write about them and are OK with it, because they know that I would not say anything in my blog that I would not otherwise say in front of them and all of our friends anyway.
I think that blogging about our children is a gift that they will cherish at some point. I’ve been thinking about doing one of those print books that takes your blog posts and turns them into hard copy journals and giving them to my kids someday when they would really appreciate it.
Like when they become parents….maybe even blogging parents!
Kris, I think one of those print books is a great idea. Imagine, if they become blogging parents, they’ll be able to talk about their kids and about the time when their mum blogged about them. That will be interesting.