Writing About Your Kids Publicly OnlineKatherine Stone
Thanks to social media, millions of moms now write about and share their experience of motherhood online, including stories about their children. Whether via blogs, Twitter or Facebook, we’re telling funny stories, sharing the dumb stuff our kids have done, and letting off steam when we’ve had enough. At what point, though, does that become a bad idea?
I was at the South by Southwest conference recently in a session about “mommy bloggers” and the topic arose of when it’s okay and when it isn’t to write publicly about your children. One of the panelists said she blogs about her kids less as they age. Another said she fully expects to continue blogging about them, and may make them part of her blog or give them their own to include them fully in the process. It made me start thinking about how I’ll handle this.
Yesterday, two women I respect both wrote about writing about their children online. Sharon DeVellis, at Canada’s Yummy Mummy Club, noted that a reader recently pointed out that she writes more about one son than the other, inferring that perhaps she was publicly displaying favoritism. Not so. She has asked both of her boys whether it’s acceptable to write about them, and, “… Son No. 1 says yes more often than Son No. 2. Simply one child who’s okay with it and one who is less okay with it.”
Liz Gumbinner of Mom-101 also wrote about the legacy she’s leaving online and how she doesn’t always hit publish. She explains it’s always on her mind, “… how we talk about our children, or our experience as parents, on our blog … I also think about how the immediacy of blogging and social media, plus the emotions of motherhood can be a tricky combo.” Definitely tricky.
I’m with Liz and Sharon. It has become clear to me that as my kids get older, I will continue to write about myself as a mother but I have to be very careful about sharing the trials and tribulations of my children. It’s a fine line to walk. Yes, I’d like to be able to blow off steam and commiserate with my fellow mamas, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my kids’ emotional health. I expect I’ll ask for permission from them to write about certain things, and if they say no, that’s that. Pre-adolescence and the teenage years are so vulnerable, and I want to take care that I don’t make that time worse by embarrassing my kids online. Who knows? Maybe I’ve already done it. I hope not.
So, what do you think? Is there an age at which you will start asking your children permission to write about them publicly? Will you continue on as you have always done, whether it’s as a blogger or someone who’s updating her status on Facebook, or do you plan to edit yourself a lot more? Do you worry that will affect your ability to commune with other moms?