(Hopefully) striking a balance

My children are such a huge part of my life (well, durr!) so it’s only natural that family anecdotes and photos find their way on here. I must admit though that it is something that I am really mindful about. More and more so the older my children become.

Some readers have even commented that they forget that I have older children as I don’t talk about them quite as much as I talk about my youngest two. I guess I am guilty of this. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they are a smaller part of my life, in fact in parenting terms, they are probably the hardest work they have ever ever been, taking up more time and certainly emotional energy than ever. But I do censor what makes it on to my blog. Not because I want to create some rose-tinted view of my life, not at all. It’s just that I would loathe for my blog to become a source of embarrassment to them.

I remember how hard it is to be a teenager, it’s not that long ago *cough* but imagine having your every mistake and petty argument being shared by your mother with the whole wide interwebz? M.O.R.T.I.F.Y.I.N.G.

In one way, I see blogs as being the modern day equivalent of the naked baby on a sheepskin rug photo that your mother insisted on having in pride of place on the mantel piece. There is a short time in your life where that photo is The Most Embarrassing Thing In The World. And no doubt that even as mindful as I think I might be, there will be things that I share on here that my children might be embarrassed by at some point. (I really hope not but I only have to talk to my teens in public at the moment to embarrass them!) But I kind of hope that in more time to come, they will be able to look back with fondness of course. That’s not to say that I don’t take their feelings now into account, but it is hard to know if you are getting it right.

I suppose the only sure fire way is not to blog about them at all. But I’m not sure that I could write a personal blog without them creeping in somewhere because quite simply, my children are my life. It’s a hard balance though and one that I hope I am getting half way right.

When I first started writing here, I was completely anonymous. No names, no photos, no nothing. But in time my online life began to overlap with my real life and it became almost impossible to remain anonymous. My blog isn’t a secret in real life anymore but I still don’t shout about it. I also made a very conscious decision not to use our names openly online. My children have quite unusual names and that was a big part of my decision. So whilst these potentially embarrassing anecdotes and photos might be out there for anyone to see, they’re not likely to pop up when my children’s future employer Googles them.

Am I kidding myself that it is possible to a strike a balance though? How much of your children’s lives do you share? And where does your self-censor kick in? I know that I’m not the only parenting blogger to have these concerns and I guess the whole point of writing this post is to see what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

About (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

Blissfully happy (mostly) yummy mummy to four children and (occasional) domestic goddess. Aspiring author and blogger extraordinaire.
This entry was posted in family and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to (Hopefully) striking a balance

  1. TheMadHouse says:

    This is something I think a lot about, especially as my boys get older!

  2. Something I have thought about a lot – more because of the book than the blog. In it I talk about every detail of my daughter’s life from conception to aged 2 plus…and because of that made a conscious decision never to name her. I didn’t change my name when I got married so we don’t share a surname either. I think I would have felt a lot less comfortable writing it (and it’s ALL true!) if – as you say – people could have googled her name and come up with anecdotes that she would find embarrassing when she’s older. I’ve carried this on in the blog and on twitter etc. I talk about her a lot (well she is the centre of my universe : )) but for exactly the same reasons as you have held back on the identifiable details. Because of the book (and I think it may have been different if it was just my blog) I have also only used photos that show her face when it’s reached a stage where she doesn’t look like that at all any more.

    it’s such a personal thing though – and I don’t think there are any rights or wrongs – other than what feels right or wrong for your family.

    • I understand completely about the book. For what it’s worth though, once she is older I am certain that she will be as proud as punch of you for writing the book. It will be so amazing for you both to look back on! I think you’re right though, it is a case of what feels right or wrong for your own family.

  3. This is one of the reasons I always write annonymously. Only close friends know about my blog, but I would hate for my children to ever be referenced to my writing and little quips about them in future job interviews. I think you strike a great balance, I would never know one of your children if I saw them, but you always speak so sweetly of them all. One other thing I am always aware of is posting pictures of my children and them getting into the wrong hands.

    • You have done a much better job at me at managing to stay anon! As for the pictures getting into the wrong hands thing, I think that is a whole new can of worms.. Maybe a whole new post for another day in fact ;-)

  4. This is something I think about a lot. I have shared my children’s names on the blog, mainly because if someone is looking they can find them on facebook anyway. I am careful what I put on & try not to put any photos or anything on I feel will embarrass them. It’s hard to find a balance but then as they get older there will be so many things online with facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. It really is hard to know where the balance is and what to put and not to put on. x

  5. Hopper says:

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, so pleased that you’ve posted this! Very curious to hear what the responses will be. I don’t use my kids’ names or post images of them (well, not of their face, I’ve published a few of feet/backs etc) but conversely, I love reading blogs that feature details (and imagery) of the writers’ family life… I hadn’t really been thinking beyond the embarrassment and awkwardness of the teen years – but you’re right, the idea of a potential future employer googling the name of your child to find their whole life on a blog…definitely something to consider.

    • I think this opens up so many questions. The fact is that once something is online, it is there (virtually) forever. There is just so much to think about but I think the fact that so many of us are questioning the wrongs/rights of it all, can only be a good thing. I’m not sure that there really is an answer to it all though!

  6. I share most of my son’s life but he is 13 months and too young to protest. I name him and photograph him for the blog, but he will never come up in a google search as I say no surnames and his is different to mine too. I write a blog to record our lives so not including them would be hard but as he gets older I will obviously consider more how he will feel about it. Sounds like you have the right balance x

  7. Interesting post. I was talking to a lady at Britmums this year who hadn’t started a blog yet and told me she intended to keep it anonymous but I said “that’s what I thought…” Although I’ve not ever shown a picture of my son (his hand appeared once) my photo is now on the blog and I’ve given up hiding my home town, the fact I was in loads of local press around the time of the Britmums final kind of put paid to that.

    Anyway, as I was trying to say, except for the most publicity hungry people, I think we all start off thinking “I’ll be anonymous” and “no-one will read this…” and before you know it, it’s all changed…

    That said, it’s a tricky balance isn’t it? I suppose my view is my son hasn’t signed up for this. My difficulty is I’d love to involve him more. I think though, at least for now I’ll stick to just talking about him (hopefully not too much) rather than photos until he’s an age where he can make a choice about it.

    • It’s so hard, isn’t it? I tried to blog anonymously but it just got to a point where I found it impossible to write honestly without divulging some of my identity. I know there are some bloggers that do manage to stay anon though and good on them! I must admit that I shy away from the publicity side of things still. The greater reach my blog has, the more requests I get from journalists and even recently a tv company but that really isn’t for me. I much prefer to stay hidden behind my laptop ;-)

  8. Sharon says:

    Wow this really got me thinking. I’m new to mummy blogging and about to publish my first book which is all about having babies and includes lots of stuff about when I had my daughter. I don’t think I could write the way I do without using her name and although I specifically don’t say where we live I do wonder how difficult it is to track that down.

    I don’t think anything I’ve written could possibly embarrass my daughter when she’s older and so far I’ve used just one picture on open forums of the two of us together. I’m wondering if I should remove even that now.

    This has definitely given me food for thought!

    • There is definitely a lot to think about and without meaning to sound patronising, having been blogging for that bit longer and also having older children means that I have come to question this sooner I guess. I must admit that I would love to use my children’s names as it always feels impersonal to refer to them just as my son, or my six year old etc but like I said, that was a very conscious decision to make us as less Google-able as possible.

  9. Melaina25 says:

    There are lots and lots and LOTS of things I don’t blog about because of this :) It is also why I’m pseudo-anonymous. I don’t want someone googling my or Blondie Boy’s name for that matter and finding things. You know my full name and it is not common!

    There are so many stories about myself that I don’t share but I guess I will just save my Penny Lane adventures for in person anecdotes :)

  10. Hi,

    I know what you mean and my daughter is only 16 months old! My blog isn’t specifically about her although completely influenced by her and there are some personal posts. The banners at the top of all my pages are photos of her but I purposefully made sure you couldn’t see her face in any of them. She is also referred to as The Little Lady not her real name.

    Having said all that she is all over my Facebook/twitter/instagram so soon I will have to think more carefully about that.

    It’s a funny age to be a parent I reckon! By the time they are older won’t they be so used to everything being posted everywhere? She’ll probably be posting about me embarrassing her!

    Beth x

    • I think that’s a huge part of this – we are the first generation of parents to be sharing so much of our lives online and you are right, in years to come it will probably just feel like the norm to our children as they are growing up in this era.

  11. This is a really interesting topic. I never use my children’s names on the blog, and am careful of putting in too much information that might lead someone to work out where we live. A close friend works in child protection, and without wanting to open Pandora’s box about the subject, the net really is a dangerous place, sadly populated by weirdoes as well as many many lovely people. People can find out a great deal more than you think, and piece information together. As for pictures, they can easily be manipulated and copying is just the basics, thus why apart from baby baby pictures (I mean, all babies pretty much look the same anyway) I never put pics up of the children, either on the blog or on Facebook. It does sadden me, because I feel like I can’t write “fully”, because they are such a huge part of my life, and I am so proud of them, and sometimes would love to post some funny or fun pics. I don’t worry about embarrassing them, because well, everyone has embarrassing pics don’t they? Including a prospective employer, so it works both ways! But in answer, I don’t have balance, but I do so as a safety measure. If I were to write a book I wouldn’t necessarily have pictures in it either, so that’s how I settle it with myself! You however write so lovingly about your kids, I don’t see that they would be embarrassed at all.

    • Thanks so much for this comment. I think you have hit on a whole new topic here – more important than the point I have raised in fact. There really is so much to consider, isn’t there?

  12. Aimee says:

    It’s difficult. I’m very open. Probably too open at times, but then I’m like that in real life. I’ll show a stranger in the street a photo of Larry with a “heavy” sticker on his forehead. I refer to them publicly as fatso and the beast (although I am trying to compose a blog about that actually).

    I guess my blog is slightly different, because when you look at the “mummy” side of things, it’s more amusing anecdotes on the frustrations of motherhood, rather then my actual day to day life (or that’s what I’m going for anyway). Does that make sense?

    *rambles*

  13. I do feel slightly nervous if I happen to mention the names of my family or friends – but I do, and if anyone has an issue with it, I’ll take it down. I forget sometimes who might be able to read my blog though – but then there are stranger dangers everywhere, not just online. If someone wants to find out who you are, they can. It will be quite interesting for our future Prime Minister…who might be the current child of one of us… imagine what the press will be able to dig out…including their scans!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s