“I’ve been reading this great blog lately,” a friend was telling me the other day. “This woman clearly hates being a parent and is always going on about how she hides cans of gin and tonic in the toilet so she can get ten minutes peace. It’s hilarious!”
Well yes, I’m sure it is, but exactly how hilarious is it going to be when that woman’s children get older and read what she has written about them?
How might you feel for instance if you found out your mum had been posting pictures like this?
What do you think?
Are you a blogger? Do your kids read your blog and if so does that effect what you write?
My blog has changed a lot over the last three years, not least because Belle has gone from being an innocent seven year old to the ten year old proud owner of a second-hand laptop of her very own. Where initially I might have been more inclined to have a moan about the stresses and strains of parenting, nowadays I am much more wary of what I say and how I say it. That’s not to say I used to be mean – I’ve always strived for that elusive mix of gentleness, humour and honesty (although some might say brutal honesty at times) – but I’ve certainly become more aware of the power of my words.
When your children are very small, babies maybe, it’s hard to imagine them ever being able to talk, let alone read. It’s easy when you’re writing to forget that they are ‘real’ in the sense that they exist outside your blog too, and will grow up to have their own thoughts and feelings about and interpretations of any given situation.
Sometimes I find that knowing that my children read my blogs restricts me in other ways too. Some days I might feel sad or angry about something, and want to blurt out how bad I feel, but even though it might not be directly about them, is that really what I want them to be reading? I know it’s good for your kids to know that you’re human, but do they really need to see you laid so bare?
In a way though this is a good thing. I do have a tendency sometimes to speak (or in this case write) before I think, and so taking that moment to think ‘would I want my children to read this?’ is a great natural filter for me. In most cases, if it’s not something you want your own family to read it’s probably not something you need to share with the whole of cyberspace.
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about the values that are important to me, both as a parent and a blogger, but also more generally. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want or need to be the funniest, the most controversial, or the most sensational blogger in the world. (I know – I only just decided this…)
I would just quite like to be nice, to be genuine – interesting to read yes – but more importantly, respected for being honest and sincere, and this I think is part of making my blog something I am proud to have my children read. Of course it would be good if you laughed out loud occassionally too. No pressure there.
I might of course have it all wrong – never blogging about how much I hate parenting or revealing the secrets my secret toilet gin supplies might make me incredibly dull, but that’s a risk I guess I’ll just have to take.
Yeah I hear you, neither of my kids want to be mentioned on my blog so that rather ties my hands but obviously I respect them so I don’t write about them. The more I write my blog the less personal stuff I write. And the less I write the more interesting my life becomes!! Blogging is something that noone is consistently good at. Mostly it is 70% puff and self indulgence with the occasion gem hidden in there so don’t beat yourself up about it!
Mostly I complain about my husband and he is a mechanic so luckily doesn’t know how to turn a computer on! My kids are still to young to care but I guess I will have to stop including them soon.
So true. A lot of people see their kids as just that – kids, not thinking they will ever grow up and have opinions and thoughts of their own. Mine are still so little, although Little D is now reading so I am more aware of what I write and read in front of him. I suppose everyone has different limits when it comes to laying everything bare, but I think taking a minute to consider how those close to us would feel is always a good thing.
It’s a valid point. I suppose the way I answer the question ‘do I want my kids to read this in the future? is, if I don’t write it down will I remember how I REALLY felt? For me, the answer is NO. My memory is terrible and I don’t want to end up with a rose tinted view of the ‘dark days’ of early parenting.
My mum always recalls our child hood with such pleasure, we were angels, everything was lovely. REALLY? Is she trying to shelter our feelings or has she really forgotten all the sleepless nights, toilet training, temper tantrums and all the other delights of parenting. Perhaps it’s just our generation that struggle with the tough parts of being a parent as we have become more selfish. My Mother would never dreamed of sitting on the internet (or reading a book for example) all afternoon. It comes so naturally to us!
I have four children and my eldest two were that bit older when I started to write my blog so I’ve always been quite mindful of what I write. I’ve always been really careful about how much personal information I give too and avoid using their names online to try and make them un-google-able (that’s not a word but it so should be!) I would loathe for my blog to be a source of embarrassment to them or worse still, be potentially used by other kids in school to poke fun at them. I must admit that I cringe at some things that I read on parenting blogs and can’t help but think that having older children from the start has given me a different perspective.
I think you are always very tactful when you mention your girls!!
We’ve actually got 7 children, but one wants no part, so for the purposes of my blog at least I decided it was easier to be a family of 8. I think because I already have teenagers I’m very aware they might read it, so I wouldn’t say anything that I wouldn’t say to them directly – but then I’m very much like that in the outside world too!
It seems that some bloggers and commenters just hit ‘return’ when they’ve written a piece. Giving thinking time to a piece and considering what others may think of it down the line is always a useful thing to do. Bloggers can still be funny and thought-provoking without having to expose every single thing about their life. I always enjoy your posts, lovely and thoughtful :-)
I kinda have the reverse problem. My father and sister, neither of whom I grew up with, have discovered my blog. There are issues I’d like to write about that I think they would either be unable to compute or would upset them. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to handle this one yet. Answers on a postcard please!
As regards my own kids, I’m very guarded about what I write. I try not to write anything that they would look back on and feel embarrassed about.
Would you like to share the blog you are referring to, it sounds like we should have a read.