Since starting my blog, My 3 Little Birds, two years ago, I’ve gotten the question more than once. But that time, in that place, it stopped me in my tracks— and not because I didn’t know how to respond, but because I finally did.
In the early days of the mommy blog, I sat on the exterior of that rapidly growing community but never walked through its doors. As a counselor, there was a definite line over which I would not cross. I’d worked hard to create professional boundaries with my clients and couldn’t understand how bloggers were able to share so much of their children’s lives. What about child predators? How would their children feel in the future about it all being “out there?” Why take the risk?
And then I had a baby.
When I sat awake at 4 am with a colicky newborn, I didn’t find the answers in my baby books.
When I was researching a delayed vaccine schedule for my baby, it wasn’t my friends or family I turned to for advice.
And when it turned out that the work/life balance that our culture tells me was attainable was not, I didn’t find a community of mothers with the same feelings as I had.
It was the blogoshpere that saved me.
Bloggers— male and female, and whether they identify as “mommy” bloggers or not— have come to my rescue more times than I can count. After I left my job as a social worker to be an at-home mom to my three “little birds” I felt such a void in my life. At the end of the workday for my entire career, I knew that I’d made a difference in the lives of my clients. Suddenly thrust into a world of laundry piles and crock pot recipes, I struggled to find meaning in my life beyond motherhood.
My blog filled that void. Writing about my family helps others in the same way that bloggers have helped me.
That said, the boundaries I formed as a social worker are never far from my mind. My blog is not a replacement for my children’s baby books. I tell my stories on my My 3 Little Birds— not my children’s. I do post about sensitive issues, like the fact that my husband and I are raising a family member’s child as our own, but I’m very careful to do so in a way that honors my family.
So to answer my friend’s question: No, I don’t worry about putting my family’s lives online, and I won’t apologize for it. Their lives were already online, on Facebook and in photographs— heck, two days after their births their pictures and names appeared on the hospital’s website! Being online is a reality of our day and age.
My family has given me their support. I think that one day they’ll recognize that my reflections on motherhood helped others in a way they can be proud of.
And what’s more, I know that blogging has made me a better mom. More empathetic. More patient. Mindful of the little moments that shape this wonderful experience of motherhood.
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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