By Alice Bradley, REDBOOK
People have been asking this question since the term "mommyblogger" was coined. Before blogs even existed, I'll bet! In the early days, pre-blogging, when people would write about their children on papyrus or whatever.
Is it okay? Is it fair to the kids? Shouldn't they be free to tell their own stories? And now, more than anything, we hear, what about the predators? Are we keeping our kids safe?
The latter question is hurled at parenting writers and bloggers all the time, as if we're displaying our children's vital info all over the web, and then leaving them outside with a sign that says "Come and get 'em!" In reality--where most of us live-- the vast majority of bloggers give out very little real information on their children. And besides, the sad fact is that crimes against children (and people, really) are far more likely to be committed by someone they know.
Related: The 10 Least Helpful, Most Irritating Parenting Tips Ever
So no, I don't think our children are unsafe because we write about them. Henry's last name is not online. (He has a different last name from my own.) I don't write about what school he goes to. I don't post pictures of our house on my blog. All of this is done to keep him (and our whole family) relatively safe from any dangerous elements who may or may not be out there, watching.
But I do think it's no longer fair, really, to write about his life. When Henry was a baby, a toddler, even a preschooler, the challenges we faced in parenting were universal. I could write about Henry's sleeping problems, because what babies don't have sleeping problems, at some point? Colic, nursing problems, persistent diaper rashes--these are all bumps along the road of parenting, and we've all been there.
Then, at some point, Henry became an individual, with his own individual challenges and gifts. His problems were not necessarily universal. It no longer seemed fair, or kind, to open his life up for analysis and scrutiny from strangers, even if the vast majority were supportive.
Related: Vote for Hollywood's Hottest Husband
For a while I asked his permission before posting anything about him. But my asking him for permission troubled him, I think. It was a little too much power, and it was confusing: what does it mean that I would write about, say, a funny conversation we had? How would I write it? Who would see it? And the bottom line is, he's a kid. He shouldn't have any say over my professional or creative choices.
So now my rule of thumb is, if I feel like I need his permission to write something, I don't write it. That restricts my writing quite a bit, because eight-year-olds are easily embarrassed, and Henry is no different. He values his privacy, and I respect that.
I do, however, still write about parenting Henry. I've shifted the focus away from him and toward my own challenges, my own frustrations. There's no limit to material: I could write an entire blog just about navigating the public school system, for instance. Don't get me started on other parents. I could go on and on.
Related: How to Handle a Mompetitor
I know other bloggers reveal more, or less, than I do in their own blogs, and I respect their choices. And I'm sure you could point to a post I wrote recently that is definitively about my son. But at the end of the day, I answer to myself (and to my family) and I'm comfortable with everything I've shared. You might get a glimpse of my son, but that's all you're getting. His stories are his to tell, if and when he wants to tell them.
More from REDBOOK:
10 Ways to Heat Up Your Love Life
14 Oral Sex Tips
- 8 Pieces, 51 Days of New Outfits
- Get a Flat Tummy in 2 Minutes
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Connect with REDBOOK:
- Become our Fan on Facebook
- Sign Up for REDBOOK's Free Weekly Newsletter
- Follow Us on Twitter
- Enter to Win FREE Daily Prizes
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.