I’ve often thought about what would happen to my blog if I died tomorrow. NO I don’t plan on dying tomorrow but… you never know. Who would know my passwords and logins? Would there be a “now that I’m gone” post or a “We’re sorry to inform you that Nikki has died” post? Who would write that? Would my husband, the ever private and never seen, come out of hiding and blog for me? Would my kids take over? Would a friend?
But I never really gave much thought as to what would happen to this blog once my kids grew up.
This is what goes through a diehard blogger’s head. You’re welcome.
The kids, 15, 12 (or will be 5 days from now), 10, and 5. They are the reason I write. I often say that if I didn’t write, I’d go insane. I’ve always kept a journal and my stories, my frustrations, my fears and hopes intertwine with the snippets of their lives that I put to paper.
Like Bebe’s first word: chocolate. I kid you not. She said chocolate before anything else. How Bug used to sing to my growing belly with Bebe inside “you are my sunshine” because it was one of the songs I sang to him. And Shorty’s and Bebe’s schemes of raiding the fridge and cupboards together, one climbing the counter and one acting as a look out.
These are my stories. But are they really mine? Are these memories and snippets and pieces of their lives and mine destined to separate one day? Will there come a day when the stories I share won’t be only for me to tell?
This is a problem that I think a lot of bloggers who have children face; when do we stop telling our stories and let them be someone else’s to tell? Do we have to stop telling them? Those questions are as emotional as they are ethical.
Mommy Blogging for a Larger Audience
Certainly when you’re blogging for yourself, you don’t imagine that anyone will read let alone care what was going on in your crazy life. Yet, an audience still comes, reads, and shows up regularly like television viewers waiting for their favorite sitcom to start. You roll with that audience and begin to think of them as extended family and some become close friends brought together by the power of the interwebs.
But what happens when the audience grows or you take those personal stories and begin writing them for other publications? Is there a point at which you pull back and censor your lives? And even if you’re not writing for other publications, does there come a point where you think about the implications of sharing so openly?
Privacy. We aren’t edited. Many of us write, skim, edit for grammar or spelling and then hit publish. Very little goes through a filter or past an editor. We expose it all for whoever Googles, subscribes, or tweets it to see. Even if it does go through an editor, the blogs of moms are fodder. The more personal, the more outrageous or intense or intimate the more page views it drives and online publications and communities love the page views and the conversation your personal lives bring them.
Thinking About What’s Best For All
Regardless of if you’re writing for another publication or if you’re writing for yourself, you need to examine what’s going to work for your family. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is what I’m writing going to hurt my kids down the road? Think about it, you can barely afford to feed them all now, why would you want to add a therapy bill on top of it? This is especially important if you’re blogging for other publications. Sometimes the topic of the day isn’t one you want to touch or the post could come back to haunt you… It might not be the personal story at first but the personal cost that comes later that you have to consider.
2. Can I take what is old and re-purpose it in some way or make it less personal and more informational? Maybe you have a really good story about potty training your 3 year old or your child still wet the bed at 5 years old. Can you take that story and honor your child’s privacy and make it more informational? How did you potty train? What method worked? How did you get your child to stop wetting the bed? The point is to make it less about THEIR PERSONAL LIFE and more about a way to help others.
3. How much of what I am writing about is really relevant? Do you find yourself struggling for things to blog about when it comes to your kids? Odds are if you find that you’re writing more about “you” and less about the kids, it might be time to make a switch. Maybe you’ve already started to self-censor and didn’t even realize it.
Moms who blog about their kids are the modern day Erma Bombecks. Even though that might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, consider the struggles Erma must have had when it came to figuring out how much to tell and not to tell. (And she didn’t even have Google!)
The good news is that we moms are a resourceful bunch of women; full of creativity and naturally the mothers of invention. So it goes without saying that we have options when it comes to blogging about the kids as they grow up.
We Have Options
Keep on keeping on. Continue to write about your children with the reckless (or not so) reckless abandon that you already do. If for nothing else than to have that blog (provided you keep up on the hosting and domain renewal fee), live as an expression of your love for your kids long after you’re gone.
Start Something Else. Seriously the kids can’t be the only thing you’ve ever written about on your blog. (Oh they are? Oh shit. I’m sorry… ) Now that they’re growing up it might be a good time to maybe start something else, create another section of your blog to talk about other passions you have or goals that you want to accomplish. It’s important to have other intersts, seriously and why shouldn’t you be writing about those too? You are more than just a mom.
Keep on Keeping On, but with Permission. There’s nothing that says you can’t write about your kids once they hit the tween or teen age (or younger if they protest you blogging about them). The best way to keep writing about them if you want is to ask them first. Get their permission to talk about the driver’s training test they took (and failed. Two times. Like I did. True Story). Set limits on what you will and won’t talk about. Cut back on your child’s intimate details.
My kids are used to me having a big mouth and spilling everything to everyone but you might be surprised to know that I really don’t tell you everything. If something has happened and the kids see that look in my eye… they ask, “Are you going to blog about this?” and if they tell me No, then I won’t, unless I feel it’s relevant or going to add value somewhere, and even then we discuss it.
The teenage boy said I’m not allowed to talk about the birds and the bees here so we will never discuss winged flying things. Ever. Promise.
I’m sure that I’m going to struggle with a balance as the kids continue to grow (though I’ve tried to stop them from growing, nothing really works) but knowing that I have options and that my communication with the kids is pretty open makes me secure in knowing that whatever we do; it will be the right one for us.
Do you think that blogging about your kids is acceptable? Would you ever stop blogging about them? What questions do you have about maintaining your blog as the kids get older?
*This post has been a part of the Blog Hop Conference at home. It has been a sincere pleasure to share some of my knowledge and discuss what matters to me as a blogger with you. To see the full schedule of Blog Hop Conference sessions, visit BlogConferencenewbie.com http://blogconferencenewbie.com/blog-education/expert-advice/bloghop-blog-conference-at-home/
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