On Blogging

Me. Online. Me me me.

My mum asked me this week if she thought I would ever regret putting so much of my children’s lives online, if i thought there was the possibility that they might feel offended by having so much revealed to strangers. It’s a very good question.

My immediate answer was no. Firstly, I don’t see what I do on my blog as being hugely different from what others do on Facebook or parenting forums; it’s a modern-day photo album but with the added bonus of text, and perhaps to a larger audience. It means I will never forget these very precious early moment of my kids lives.

Secondly, I’m a bit of a show off, an over sharer (well, duh). I’m happy to be writing all these things about me and will always be 100% honest in my blog, but believe it or not there are things I hold back on and don’t write about. My husband, for one. Although I’m happy to share snippets of our life together I’m not sure how happy he’d be if I shared things about his life, too, so I leave him and our marriage out for the most part (nobody wants to read about the 2 hour bickering row we had in Madrid about directions. Nobody. Not even me).

I’m also careful to never blog about specifics of Elfie’s illness. I’ll talk about it to some degree but I really think its up to her to share the details if she ever wants to, and I made a vow to myself to always respect her enough to give her that privacy. I think it’s important to share the impact it has on our life as a family but the intricacies will remain unspoken.

Did I say ME ME ME?! 

All this deep thinking got me pondering the reasons why I blog and I re-visited a post I made about this way back in 2010. My reasons for blogging haven’t really changed since then – I like to share, hear what others have to say about my thoughts, get things off my chest. Nothing means more to me than the emails I get from pregnant women, or women with young children, saying that I’ve helped them or inspired them in some way. Every time I get one of these emails I feel happy that I have shared.

I also love to write and have blogged in one form or another since about 1999. I found my old online journals this week and goodness, all I cared about back then in the teenage years were boys, schoolwork (how to do as little as possible) and talking about myself. But that was when I first got into writing down my thoughts once a day and I haven’t stopped since. My writing’s evolved a little – its less self-obsessed and there are fewer emoticons – but I still get a lot of enjoyment out of it and I remember all those nuances of being a teenager because I blogged about it.

Those are the reasons I blog: memories, community and enjoyment. I hope that in years to come my kids will understand that and will look back on my blog as a wonderful record of our lives.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of self-doubt about blogging. What about our safety? Am I releasing too much information online? Will Elfie and Huxley hate me for it when they’re older? When I started blogging all those years ago I hated telling my real-life friends about my site because it seemed so terribly self-indulgent; is that how I should feel now? Am I selfish for thinking ME ME ME so much?

This is a time when I’d like to open it up to you: why do you blog? Do you worry about how your children will feel about your blog? Do you consider those who blog just slightly self-obesessed? I would love to hear your thoughts.

(NB: this week I imported some of my more relevant posts from my old blog, www.the-alice.co.uk… it seems that if you subscribe via RSS you’re safe, but so sorry to anyone who received hundreds of email subscription notifications!)

30 thoughts on “On Blogging

  1. This subject gives me food for thought all the time. As I am trying to help other parents over the shock of diagnosis, I may reveal more than Natty would like, so I try to always imagine talking to her honestly as a young adult when I write. I hope I strike the balance, I pray I have, and I hope she will be proud of me for helping others via her.
    Tricky business blogging.

    • It is a tricky business! Like you I want to make sure that Elfie would be happy with the amount of information I’m passing as I genuinely think it helps people (and your blog even more so), but really don’t want to invade her privacy. It’s a fine line.

  2. This is really interesting. I don’t blog but I post an awful lot of twitter; like today I got a new kitten so I’ve been uploading a ton of photos. I consider a lot of my online twitter girls as my good friends, so I don’t mind sharing. My other half use to complain about the amount of tweeting updates I use to do about us (mainly when we were getting together) but its nice to look back and awh.

    On the other side, I rarely express deeply personal things online such as my health or where I work.

  3. Interesting! I totally get you about not posting the intricacies of relationships. I don’t really post too much about things like Scott, work and family, although they are large parts of my life. I just feel like some things should stay private (and are probably too boring to blog about). However, I do feel that in return this makes some people feel like I have some kind of ‘idyllic’ life because I edit it this way and that makes me feel uneasy. It’s hard to get the balance right I think, but I think twitter helps too. (you get a better feel of the real person behind the blog)

    I am not sure what I would do when/if we have kids though! I am an oversharer and would probably like to blog my pregnancy/labour like you haha. However, I will also be equally anxious about what they think when they grow up about it.

    • I think my worries about what they’ll think about it when they’re older are overrun by my desire to write down my memories! Plus, they’ll see this post, so they’ll know it’s something I was worried about, heh.

  4. I think it’s important for people to realise that they don’t ‘know’ you from knowing you online. Like you, there are things in my life that I will never ever blog or tweet about. Things that are private, personal or frankly too upsetting to share with the world. I too really hope that my children will like this glimpse into my life as a mother as they grow up. I’m sure yours will.

    It’s definitely food for thought though isn’t it?

    • This is true, I always feel like you get a really good idea of my personality from who I am online but I do hold things back so people don’t ‘know’ know me I suppose.

      • I think it’s like all friendships – they’re on different levels. Some people will know more than others about you, and I think you can maintain this online too. Hope you don’t change how you write your blog – I love reading it!

  5. I think editing your life when you blog is always an interesting topic. I tend to only ‘put out there’ the things that I would want to read in ten years time, or would be happy for my children to read. I think knowing that my parents read it helps too! I suppose it can make my life all look a bit rosey because I don’t tend to blog the really personal or serious stuff but then I wouldn’t share that sort of informations outside of my home so why should the Internet be any different.
    I do often wonder what my children will make of my blog. I guess there is bound to be a point when it is just a mortifying embarrassment, but I know that I would love to read something similar about my own childhood so I hope they’ll appreciate it for what it is; a diary of our lives. Time will tell I guess….! X

    • I also think that when our kids grow up there’ll be hundreds of mortifying embarrassing things they won’t like about their parents, hopefully our blogs will be a tiny drop in the ocean! x

  6. I too have been pondering this same notion as I recently blogged about a difficult and personal subject. I felt compelled to do so because I believe it is important, if you feel comfortable enough to do so, to share your experiences good or bad. You never know who you could be helping or whose life you could be touching in the process.

    I do sometimes worry that I feature too many pics of my kids on my blog and on instagram and I find myself double checking with OH quite regularly to see what he thinks. He has no problem with it, so that makes me feel better. I hope they will feel the same.

    It’s all still very much a work in progress for me, but I am finding sharing cathartic and I love to learn about others too. X

  7. My 8 & 9 year old love to read my blog, they get especially excited when they’re featured! I don’t blog much only about trips out or special occasions, I’m not really a day to day blogger x

  8. I’m fairly open in real life and on my blog and I am not really too worried about what Iyla will think when she is grown up as I am hoping that it will be of some use to her when she becomes a parent herself. I have blogged about good days and bad days as I find it is a good release for me to get things off my mind. I don’t write anything that I think would really embarrass her when she is older though, especially now she is getting older, I guess by the time this generation are grown up, blogging will be so big that they won’t think anything of it. I do have to be careful where my partner is concerned though as he hates having his life shared on the internet, but because I write a blog about relationships, he does feature in it quite a lot but I always let him read it first and get his approval. I think blogs should be a reflection of your real self so I guess the amount you feel comfortable revealing in your blog should be the same amount that you feel comfortable revealing in real-life. Sorry for the essay! x

  9. I blog, because I love it. I’ve been blogging since 1999 too (hello LiveJournal) and it’s got to the point that I’d feel lost without my blog. I find myself wondering if situations I find myself in would make a good blog post (think my Kamikaze Pigeon post, or the time I took wee to the airport).

    Am I worried the kids will hate me for writing about them online? Nah, not really. If they asked me to stop, then I would, but I’d just change the focus of my blog to something that didn’t include them. At the moment Roo certainly enjoys taking a starring role and asks me if I am going to write about it when she says funny things :)

    • Hahah – Roo sounds hilarious!

      I think I’d enjoy it if my mum had recorded such minute details of my life. There is no bigger declaration of love, right?!

  10. Such a thought provoking post! I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently too, particularly since a couple of blogs I read, have recently decided to stop having their babies in their videos and photos.

    I don’t see a problem blogging about Byron – I’m sure he’ll be a lot more embarrassed about some of the photos we have of him, rather than a blog post about him eating porridge and rolling over. I think it’s a nice memento, personally! I expect it’ll become the norm if it’s all they’ve ever known and social networking is just going to be a part of their lives, growing up anyway. I think we’re writing so much about aspects of our lives, that they could ask why we wrote about everything BUT them. They might feel left out!

    Do you actively tell your friends about your blog now? I’ve become a lot more open recently, adding my real life pals on Twitter and putting my URL on Instagram etc, so it’s there if they want to find it, but I don’t openly talk about it. I just find it such a weird subject, if you’re not into social networking all that much! It must be a weird concept to understand. Like Helen, I don’t post about really personal aspects of my life. I only write about the things I’d be happy to talk about to people in ‘real’ life.

    • I used to not tell ANYONE about my blog! But now it’s more the norm to have a blog I plaster it all over twitter (have lots of friends/ex-work colleagues on there) and don’t really think about it. I have some sort of mental block to putting it on Facebook though, I have the URL up there in my userinfo but don’t post links to each post on there. It’s weird!

  11. I love your blog and think its the perfect balance of fun, family and personal items.

    I think everyone who walks the planet is self absorbed to an extent (it’s part of human nature) but I think bloggers know how to channel it in a more interesting way. I’ve blogged since 2005 and it was an outcome of my writing career. My current blog was created to keep family and friends updated about our adoption but it has grown into a life of its own. Sometimes it frightens me how many strangers read it, but I’ve found a really amazing community online (like you!)

    I am typically very very open about my life and struggles so I’ve been that way on my blog, save any dirty laundry about my marriage or anything about my extended family. I don’t know if Brighton will like having her childhood documented in such a public way, but her story is part of my story and I’ll make every attempt to respect her as an individual.

    • Thanks Kara! I’m jealous you have a writing career – it’s my dream! The blog’s there to keep the dream alive and to keep those creative juices going ;)

      I’m SO excited for Brighton to arrive!

  12. Fabulous post and I agree with you-blogging is not only a super creative outlet but it’s that engagement with others/bloggers or otherwise that’s so rewarding. The thing is, if our kids dislike how we’ve put them online in the futurte, we can always delete the blog (once backed up onto a hard drive of course!) P.S Loving your pics beautiful lady. So glad to have found your blog too-it’s one of my fave’s!

  13. I have been thinking lots about this recently. When I started out, I have been blogging anonymously. That didn’t last long… Pictures of my child have always been off limits, but recently, more and more pretty detailed pictures have found their way on my blog. If you wanted, you could track us down quite easily, and all of a sudden I started to wonder what happened if some random creep would fall for my child, decided to take her away… a chilling thought! As a result, I am going back to not showing my child’s face.

    As for sharing details about children’s personalities – I have never done that and also think it’s venturing way too far into their privacy. Yes, my kid freaks me out at times, but that’s something between us. Not something I would share in public. It makes children very vulnerable and attack-able. I can deal with trolls and people who throw shit at me (and believe, I get a lot of that). I wouldn’t want to provide a platform for any idiot to attack my baby.

    • It’s a difficult decision, isn’t it? In my mind if someone wanted to find us that much they would be able to – face or no face. But I do think it’s extremely healthy to hold things back as you’ve said.

  14. I think about this, and have blogged about it. When I blog I always make sure I am confortable with my parents reading it, which acts as a sort of filter in itself! But I do sometimes wonder what my kids will make of it all – it’s not so much them reading it, it’s when they are teenagers and their friends maybe finding it and reading it. May not be so fun for them then… I will probably have to do some sort of password thing then to control who can read it. Mind you, maybe all their friends will have blogs about them too….food for thought, anyway.

  15. Pingback: WORK: How To Start A Blog | Mama UK

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