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Mommy Blogging: In or Out?

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I posted several times last week, as you can tell. Don’t take any bets on how long I can keep it up! I always have “write more” on a mental to-do list, but it’s normally the first thing that gets nixed. I believe it gives me energy (here’s a helpful post on that topic, and on balancing your own versus your family’s needs, specifically for moms). So I’m conducting an experiment in self-care by trying to write and post more frequently, to see if it actually is as “life-giving”/energy-giving/zen buddha-inducing as my wishful thinking suggests.

But what to write about? Israel just sent me this piece, “Why I’ll Never Be A Mommy Blogger,” by one of his coworkers. Bethany loves writing and just had a baby, but doesn’t want to record the whole thing for the world. I expected that she’d list the common privacy and security concerns for her kids, but it was more about a child’s right to his or her own version of childhood.

Bethany lost her mom as a teenager and later found one of her mother’s journals. Get this: she didn’t read it.

When I found my mother’s diary, and immediately closed it, I did so because I wanted my mother to stay just the way she was in my memory: my mother. I didn’t want to see her as a woman struggling with life and death, depression, dating, and divorce. My mother was never a woman to me, she was a superhero, even though I was always aware of her flaws and shortcomings. While I conceptually realize that my mother was a human being, I don’t want to alter my memories of my childhood to include her personal struggle. Perhaps that’s selfish, but I know that my mother wanted my memories to be built in such a way, and I plan to give my daughter and G-d willing, future children, that same gift. If I had read my mother’s innermost thoughts, either in her diary or if she had maintained a “mommy blog,” that gift would have vanished.

What do you think? Would you have read the diary?

I’m a little more sympathetic than Bethany to the mommy blogging genre. Some “mommy blogs” I enjoy a lot; some are way guilty of the over-share, which brings into the discussion the difference between a diary (for my eyes only) and a public forum like the Internet (sometimes still for my eyes only, but available to all).

Also, since I’m not overly organized about photos, baby books, etc., I admire and am jealous of those moms who are successfully making a scrapbook for their family through their blogs. And I’m thankful Mama Rote is still around, so I have the benefit of her advice and memories. (Truth be told, though, she doesn’t remember what happened to which baby a lot of times. Another mark in favor of record keeping.)

My general feeling is the more stories we can pass along the better—but often privately is better than publicly! What’s your take?

P.S. My advice on how to record memories and be a good mom (tongue in cheek).

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2 thoughts on “Mommy Blogging: In or Out?

  1. Well, I have an advantage over everyone else because Izzy tweeted about Bethany’s post several days ago; I read it and have had that question in the back of my mind for a few days. I think that I would have read the journal IN A HEARTBEAT. I might have gone into the bathroom and locked the door and read it by myself, but I think I would have read it. I just started Ravi Zacharias’s memoir “Walking from East to West,” and in the opening pages he says that he wishes he had known his grandparents so that he could have asked questions of them, and that he wishes he had asked his parents more questions about what they knew and the stories of their lives. Kyle and I also wish that we had asked our parents and grandparents more questions. So, “Yes.” on journal reading.
    As to my poor record keeping: Oops, sorry. We didn’t have smart phones and computers!

  2. I am so happy that you’re posting more! I’m glad you’ve written on this–I struggle some with balancing the need for privacy and wanting to tell my stories. It’s tough and will only get harder as Campbell gets older. But I agree–the telling of our stories–in person and on the web–has an important place in the world.

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