Jacoba Urist wrote a piece for The Daily Beast on Thursday that posed the following question:
“More successful women are opting out of traditional jobs for mommy-blogging gigs. But in an increasingly crowded medium, are mothers feeling pressured to share too much?”
I think it’s a fair question.
Do parent bloggers overshare?
In the one and only writing class I ever took, my teacher told me that I lacked focus. She felt I needed a consistent topic that was not only of interest to the general public, but also one that I knew inside out. Shortly after the triplets were born, I was blown away by all the attention they got. I thought back to my teacher and the advice she’d given me and immediately connected the dots. I suddenly had a focus that was of interest to the general public, as well as one I knew well — multiples of a higher order. All that was left for me to do was write about it.
Which I did, and I’m so thankful for that. Because blogging proved to be a gateway to some fantastic people and some fantastic freelance opportunities as well. But that doesn’t mean that my blogging path has been an issue-free one. Because the further I got into parent blogging, the more uncomfortable I became with it, and the reason was twofold.
First, as mentioned above, the only reason I ever started writing about my children in the first place was because I was following the advice my writing teacher had given me years ago. And the only reason I was following her advice was because I wanted to become a writer. But I quickly learned that blogging didn’t have as much to do with writing as I had initially thought. Was it a component? Obviously. But there were so many other components that were part of the mix. Components that I had no idea about. Often times, the success of a particular blog had very little to do with the caliber of writing. And that bugged me.
But the other reason for my ever-growing discomfort bugged me even more. I began to notice that the super popular posts in the parenting blogosphere tended to be ones with a common (if not incendiary) thread; that of scandalous shock. Whether it was admitting to liking one child better than another, debating a little boy’s sexual orientation, or complaining about a sexless marriage, such posts were a bit…tawdry for me.
It was both of these realizations that led me away from the anecdotal approach to blogging with which I’d started to one that was more detached, one that was less personal and more universal. And ever since making that adjustment things have gone much better for me, in part because my new approach places more of an emphasis on the words I write and less on the actions/images of my children. After all, it was never my intention to create my family’s very own version of The Truman Show.
This is where I’ll pause to throw out a disclaimer. I do blog professionally, after all, which means I’ve made a conscious decision to “let people in.” But I would argue only to an extent – an extent that my wife and I constantly evaluate. Still, I get that what I do is too much for some people. Which is why I also get that there are folks who are comfortable with sharing far more than I’d ever want to. Everyone’s different, and the important thing is that every person figures out what works best for him / her and their respective families.
But me, personally? I find the more that I write, the less I’m willing to share, and I look for that trend to continue. If for no other reason than personal blogging is in its mere infancy; we’ve not even cycled through a full generation yet. Which means we have no idea what, if any, impact our words have on our subjects. And I have a hunch that 10 years from now, there will be a prevalent (and lucrative) wing of psychology that deals with the damage done in the wake of oversharing blogger.
Lord knows I hope I’m wrong, and I could well be. But the past couple of years I’ve been approaching my blogging as if I’m not.
Just in case.
image courtesy of antigone78