Blogging, Kids, and Privacy

I've been writing a public blog since 2002, and in the course of nearly nine years of talking about myself, I've covered an awful lot of topics. These days I tend to talk about parenthood a lot, although I don't purposefully intend to do so. Writing about my kids has been a natural outcome of writing about my own life: my kids are a rather large part of my life, after all.

Child-wrangling isn't quite as all-consuming as it used to be, so my posts aren't always about diapers or midnight wakeup calls or mealtimes like they probably were for a good long stretch. Still, being a mother is an enormous part of who I am, and my journal entries reflect that.

I never worried much about sharing details of my children's lives online when they were younger. I mean, I never felt like I was violating anyone's privacy when I talked about my parenting experience, you know?


Every blogger probably has their own lines they create, and I always felt comfortable sharing my kids' real names and the occasional detail of what was going on with sleeping or potty training or whatever.

It does feel like things are starting to shift a bit, though, as the boys get older. I might mention my 5-year-old in a funny story, but I no longer feel like I'm capable of really talking about who he is as a person. It's an impossible task to accurately capture what a complicated little guy he's become. I feel like I'm doing him a massive injustice when, by the limits of my own writing ability and the fast-paced transitory nature of blog-reading, I paint an impartial picture of him.

I had a comment the other day from someone who was upset about a post I'd written. They basically said that not only were they turned off by the content (which was understandable, even though I didn't hold the same opinion: it was about hunting), they were unhappy because they'd come by expecting to see cute photos of my kids.

I thought about that for a while, you know? I sometimes post images of my family to help tell a story, or to share things that work better as images than words. I always thought that if anyone chose to read my blog, it's because they connected with me on some level. I never thought about someone coming by for the sole purpose of looking at kid photos. It made me feel kind of weird, and sad, and wondering a bit about the okay-ness level of my children's images being consumed as mindless entertainment by someone not at all interested in the larger picture of who we are as a family.

However, if I allowed every grumpy statement I've received online to affect what I do, I'd have closed up shop long ago. For the small number of uncomfortable or icky comments that have come my way, there have been so many more wonderful conversations and friendships and truly life-changing words of cheer and encouragement. My kids don't yet know how writing online has helped me be a better mother—for the camaraderie, the commiseration, the shared knowledge, the reminder that it's not just me—but someday they will. I hope they understand, and maybe even be proud.

But maybe they won't, and that's okay too. We'll figure it out as we go. For now, I write as I always have—with, perhaps, a few more ground rules.

Those of you with blogs, do you have any do-not-cross boundaries when it comes to discussing parenthood and kids?

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