The Problem With Mom Blogging When Your Kids Are Older

The stories don’t belong to me any more.

It’s easy to talk about potty training, your child has barely separated from you. Everyone has a first day of Kindergarten, and a first year of soccer. Little League is a rite of passage in America, as is Scouting and learning to ride a bicycle.

How do you write your children’s stories as they mature? Is it fair to tell the world that they are having a tough time in school? Should you discuss the emotional games that girls play with each other, or the punches that little boys dole out? Certainly no one will be writing about their daughter’s first brassiere until said daughter is a mother herself.

Jane is eleven. She will be twelve this winter, and our discussions have changed rapidly.

Last night we were running up the stairs together, and I said, “ooh ouch, my boobs hurt.” So naturally Jane stopped running long enough to roll her eyes and say, “Mo-om.” To which I replied, “no really, they’re a little tender sometimes before you get your period. It happens to a lot of people, but no to everyone. Sometimes I like to wear a tighter bra that week.”

And she started asking me questions that I was happy to answer.

I can’t tell you everything, because this is her story, not mine. I can tell you that talking to your preadolescent daughter is critical, they have so many questions, they just don’t know how to ask them.

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Comments 20

  1. What is so great about this conversation is that it just came about naturally, and rather cutely, I might add! Having two boys, I often defer to my husband. I mean I am happy to talk to my boys, but there are some things that only a Dad (or a man) can really understand and help with questions. I do agree, though, there are definitely some things best left off the blog. This is a great example, though, of sharing enough information to get others thinking about how they really need to talk to their kids, especially at such a critical time/age.

  2. I totally know what you’re saying about it being harder. When I wrote about Sylvia’s Mean Girls experience, I let her know in advance that I was writing about it, and why, and she agreed that it was important enough to tell in this forum and she knows I write about X and agrees that it’s important.
    And, of course, I agree that talking with them about their development is crucial.

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  4. Funny, I was thinking about posting about this subject in the very near future.

    My oldest is 12 and I never blog anything about him that would be embarrassing….or potentially embarrassing. There’s a lot of great subject matter, but just as he has my trust, I have to keep his trust in me or he will not come to me about things any more. I’m not to sell out my son, using his puberty stories, for laughs and a bit more traffic.

    Our little private school is very close knit and other parents and even a few teachers read or know about my blog. I could make his social life misery with a few quick keystrokes. Contrary to what he may think at times, I’m not out to ruin his life.

  5. I love that you brought this up…I often wonder about the stories people post about their tweens / teens — even about younger kids. I can’t help but feel they aren’t our stories to tell, especially embarrassing or private ones. This stuff sticks and eventually — some day — the kids will likely read it. I prefer to err on the side of respecting my child’s privacy.

  6. Completely agree, I am far from that stage but when it gets there I’m sure things in my blogging world will be different. Talking to them will be very important.

  7. I have a simple measure for these things. Can I tell the story at their Bar/Bat Mitzvah without them feeling the need to cut off my head or run for the hills.

    If I can’t, well then I probably won’t share it.

  8. This is one of the reasons why I have chosen to keep my blog anonymous. By anonymous I really mean no one in my (small) community knows about it. I don’t think that would be fair to my kids. On the other hand I have another local blog where I blog about local issues and such. In this blog I am not anonymous at all and it is all local to boot. Of course I don’t do any ‘mommy’ talk here.

  9. My kids are still young (3 and 5) and even at this age, I am very careful which stories I tell. Somethings truly are run-of-the-mill (e.g. potty training), but even at their ages there are things that I would like to be able to talk about, but that I won’t talk about on my blog because I feel like it would be invading their privacy. I don’t want to tell any stories on my blog that could potentially hurt them in any way, whether that involves having a teacher at their school stumble across my blog, having a friend or an enemy of theirs find stories about them when they are a tween, or anything else. Sure, I’m bound to embarrass my kids at some point, but I hope it won’t be by invading their privacy by sharing personal information online.

  10. This is a very good point: about the stories being theirs and not ours to share. I know when people in real life find out about my blog, I will be making quite a few posts private so as to protect the innocent…

    I only have boys and I dread the day when we have to talk about the “morning sign”…

  11. I have been following your blog for a while now, but have not commented until now. I feel compelled to express that I’m a fan of yours because of your authenticity and how true you are to yourself and the people that you love, as illustrated by this post. For me this post hits home, even though my kids are only 3 and 9 months. Although it is easy to separate a parents’ experience from their children’s, it gets blurry when communitcated. Wherever that line may fall, I am thankful that you (and others) are sharing your experiences, even though I recognize the bigger issue at play. The good of sharing your “story” has a tremendous benefit to others, but might come with a great personal cost to you. How do you reconcile the two?

    I am a former elementary teacher turned SAHM. As I was about to enter teaching I was set to change the world. For the first several years I taught, I dedicated endless amounts of extra time to the profession. At the time I had a wise collegue told me, “Just remember in the future, don’t say yes to your students and no to your own children.” That has stuck with me and has been a guideline for me and might be one that could apply here. I apologize that this might be assuming alot about why you blog, but I get how the personal cost is sometimes too great. Actions cause ripples, but can be threatening waves to those closest to you.

    Bottom line, I admire how you are honoring your children, and as a parent, I believe if you are doing that it is going to be hard to go wrong.

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  12. I actaully have thought about this on a number of occassions. My oldest is 7 and even now, there are stories that I just can’t tell because it doesn’t seem like “my story.” It’s actually kind of bittersweet, if I do say so myself.

    You’re a great mom Jessica. She’s a lucky girl.

  13. This is the reason I stopped mom blogging and now devote my time to my food blog even though I’ve been told I’ve “sold out” since I’m not sharing those slice of life stories with my community anymore.

    Frankly, what’s cute at 2 or 3 isn’t so cute when they turn 7 and 10, and my kids have online reputations to uphold. (What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet.) This is why I don’t write about my children’s current not-so-charming behavior and only mention cute and light stories about them in passing. Plus, I don’t want them to ask me take all those embarrassing posts down when they get to high school as has happened to several blogging friends.

  14. Such an interesting and “different” perspective you share here. Clearly one I have thought little about. Why? Well, I have a 27 month old daughter and an 11 month old boy. Their stories “are” my stories or are they? I suppose at this young an age the experiences they have are shared experiences with their Mom and Dad. As they get older those experiences will be detached and become their own. They’ll become experiences that they have through self-exploration or thru relationships they will form with other people. For now, I just cherish the close bond we have. I write so they can understand who their Daddy was when they were babies. They’ll be able to see how much their Daddy really did love them if they should ever question. The time will come of course when it will only be my story and until then I’m going to cherish every little moment and share it in a way that expresses my love for them. Your daughter is lucky to have such an expressive, loving, and thoughtful mother. I appreciate how you’re able to express a perspective that I too will share one day.

  15. While my children are still young, they both started school – preschool and yesterday Kindergatren (ACK and sniff sniff). So now they have many more parents that could find my blog and find out stories about them. I am very conscious of this. I write more from my point of view, not really about what is happening with them. It’s what’s happening with them and how it effects ME. So this is my story. And I’ll let them tell theirs when they are older.

  16. I am so glad I came across your post. I have been struggling with that as well. My boys are 5 and 9. I want to walk that delicate line respectfully. I find myself writing around things now. And actually it was Peggy Orenstein’s recent article in the NYT “I Tweet therefore I am” that gave me great pause as well. Some moments are not meant to be shared.

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  18. You have the best readers, J. I read their posts and almost feel bad about the joy I will take in the moms who don’t heed the warnings of children growing up. Almost. While I don’t feel bad, I think your readers are caring, amazing women. I respect their choice to not laugh at the pain of others and focus on being better people themselves.

    Maybe someday I will become a mature, compassionate adult. Until then, I have your comments section (and your posts) to remind me how *real* compassionate adults act and interact with one another.

    Maybe you can become compassionate through osmosis. I’m putting my forehead on my monitor now…is it working?

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