The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.

“Mom, some of the kids at school know about your blog,” my 12 year old son sheepishly told me after school on Monday.

“WHAT? Are you serious? How? How do you know that? What did they say to you? Are you okay? Are you embarrassed? Do you want me to take it down?” I verbally vomited all over him.

“NO Mom! Don’t take your blog down! I don’t care if kids know about it. I’m really proud of you.”

(OMG – my son is proud of me! SWOON! But holy crap, his friends know about my blog.)

Nature Boy and Iris, 2011.

 

This is quite a predicament.

When I started this blog as a hobby nearly four years ago, I did it anonymously. I never showed my face or my children’s faces, I didn’t use anybody’s real names (still don’t), and I never worried about potential risks.

But blogging anonymously wasn’t a good fit for me. Not having my face connected to my words made it easier for me to write things that weren’t really my truth. I felt like I was living a lie and eventually I quit.

I missed it though andΒ I decided to give it another shot in January of 2011. But this time I wanted to do it with more authenticity and more skin in the game: I would show our faces and I would blog not just as a place to express myself, but as a way to entertain and serve others with ideas, tips, recipes, and hopefully, laughter. Maybe if I was good enough at it, I could turn it into a career.

Yes, it was a risk. The Internet is a scary place.

But the gamble paid off. My readership and opportunities grew exponentially when I started showing our faces. Was it easier for readers to connect with my family when they could really visualize us? Did my writing improve with time and practice? Or was it because I was suddenly putting more thought into each post knowing that my face was out there? I don’t know.

Every mom blogger worries about their children’s safety. We worry about stranger danger and accidentally handing Internet predators the keys to our lives. So we use code names and limit information about schedules and geographic details.

But is that enough to protect our families from the dangers of blogging?

There has been a lot of online dialogue lately about mom bloggers oversharing about their kids lives.

I am torn.

What would the mom blog genre be without REAL stories about ourselves and the crazy shit our kids do?

Frankly, I never dreamed that I would ever have enough readers to make blogging about my family an issue.

And I certainly never imagined there would ever be middle school peers of my kids reading my stories. My kids are not allowed to read my blog and they know why. It is unconscionable for 12 year olds to know about some of the very adult themed issues I’ve shared here.Β I write for mature audiences. I use language and discuss content that is inappropriate for children.Β 

I have always tried to keep my school/church life pretty separate from my personal/blogger life. But I have always feared that if my blog got into the wrong hands, it could cause problems for us. I’ve read horror stories about some of my blogging heroes like Cecily Kellogg who have gotten into hot water over their blogging.

However, I have always been willing to share my real life online because I have seen the benefit that it can give to others. Parenthood, marriage, life in general can be so difficult at times. Knowing there are others experiencing the same (or worse) challenges can really ease the burden. And after all, isn’t that what we are all called to do? Ease each others’ burdens?

But I have no control over who reads my work and what they do with the very personal information I have shared.

So now I have a choice to make.

Here are some of the options I’m considering:

A. Shut The Bearded Iris down and walk away from blogging.

B. Shut it down and start over anonymously somewhere else.

C. Go back through the blog and unpublish any posts that I am particularly uncomfortable with children reading.

D. Say screw it and stay on my path.

E. Embrace my new audience, increase the fart jokes, decrease the vagina talk. Or increase the vagina talk as a PSA to boys in puberty who need to learn about the traffic patterns down there sooner or later.

F. Other: _____(Please advise me in your comment below.)_____

This is not an easy choice for me. I have worked so hard to create years worth of original content. I have potential business opportunities in the works that are dependent upon my current status in the blogosphere. For the first time in my working life, I absolutely LOVE what I do. I don’t want to walk away. But I don’t want my kids’ friends to know anything about my genitals either. That’s not cool. Not cool at all.

Ack! Blogging. What a double edged sword. I totally picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue.

What say you?

-Iris

143 Comments

  1. Option D! The internet would be a sad, boring place without you Iris!

  2. I have no advice whatsoever. But I think a lot of us are going to be watching you to see what you decide to and how you move forward. This is such an important conversation – and something that those of us with younger kids are going to be experiencing in the future.

    All eyes are on you to lead us down the right path – even if it’s full of fart jokes. πŸ™‚

    • Oy vey, the pressure! I’m pretty sure there will be fart jokes, regardless of the path. Now if only I could learn how to fart with a straw in my armpit like you!

  3. Stay the course. Maybe the little bastards reading this will figure out that their love technique shouldn’t be compared to kissing a wet vac.

  4. I vote for increasing the emphasis on middle-age lady parts. That should horrify the middle-age boys into not reading.

    I hope you don’t make any major changes. I’ve been a regular reader for about a year now and really enjoy your blog the way it is. And how exciting you’ve got some business opportunities that have come out of all the hard work you’ve put into your blog.

    But, of course, you have to do whatever’s best for you and your family. (Your blog might be less fun to read, anyway, if you were pulling your punches because you were afraid people would recognize themselves.)

    Good luck.

  5. I think you should stay the course. Is there any type of application you can put up that makes people check off a box stating they are over 18? I know that kids can still get past this, but at least you’ve made it clear that this blog is not intended for minors.

    Another thought: There are famous comics like Eddie Murphy, etc. who have children and get up on stage every day talking about sex and drugs. That is their act. It doesn’t completely define them. This is your stage. Of course you draw from real life, but you are also writing to entertain adults. There’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if your kids are ok with that.

    • “Is there any type of application you can put up that makes people check off a box stating they are over 18? I know that kids can still get past this, but at least you’ve made it clear that this blog is not intended for minors.” Great idea! And I totally agree with the rest of your comment as well. πŸ™‚

    • Wow…Big dilemma. I agree with Jennifer about the check off. It doesn’t stop anyone but it makes it perfectly clear who your audience is. Giving yourself an R rating might be better than quitting or destroying what you love to do.

      You are brave. I have much the same sense of humor and enjoy writing but don’t have the guts to put it all out there the way you do. You deserve to be successful and take advantage of the opportunities you have created with your talent. There has to be a way to continue and set some boundaries.

  6. Please, please, PLEASE choose “D. Say screw it and stay on my path.”

    If those children are reading age-inappropriate content on the Internet, that is an issue in and of itself and NOT something for which responsibility falls on your shoulders. You’ve done your duty as a mother by setting boundaries for your own kids; the parents of those children need to do the same. The fact that your son is even telling you not to take down your blog and that he’s proud of you speaks volumes.

    • Excellent point, Melissa.

      I am very encouraged that I have my kids’ support and blessing to do what I do. And I have actually tried very hard to never write anything (especially about my oldest) that would embarrass him. I always ask his permission before I mention him or use a photo of him.

      But still. Being a kid is hard enough without the kids at school making cracks about your mom’s vadge or drinking habits. Ay-yi-yi.

      • Meh, the little brats who like to pick on other kids will ALWAYS find something to pick on other kids about – either they’re too fat, or too skinny, or tiny little ears, or big ears, or their mom is a Jerry Springer-show reject, or their mom blogs about her vag… Can’t really prevent the jerks from being jerks and it doesn’t matter the topic – they will always find SOMETHING.

        Best thing you can do is just instill a sense of self-confidence and self-worth in your children and makes sure they know they are always loved by you no matter what (and I am willing to bet you do a great job of this!), and that they should keep their chins up and continue being themselves despite the bullies in this world. If anything, keeping up the blog will only serve to lead by example! πŸ˜‰

        • Day-yam Melissa…such a good point. Bullies will find something, won’t they?! And yet, do I want to make it any easier for them? I appreciate your excellent input though. Thanks for the support!

        • Melissa- AMEN AMEN AMEN! I was going to comment but you litterally said exactly what I was going to say! THANKS! I agree with all of Melissa’s comments πŸ™‚

        • Melissa… do you charge for your counseling?! HOLY SHA-MOLY girl! You got all kinds of smarts and wisdom don’cha!!
          {I really love everything you’ve said :)}

          Iris, the girl’s got good points. She sounds professional. Take my advice, and take her advice!

        • Why thank you ladies – you flatter me! πŸ™‚

    • I totally agree. Don’t censor yourself because other parents don’t monitor their kids media. I LOVE you blog and don’t know if I could get through a week without a laugh from you. My kids aged 13 and 11 know you are hilarious but they have no idea why. I share selective things off your blog with them but they know when I say not age-appropriate I mean it.

      The caveat to that this position is if it is negatively affecting your family. Then you need to think through it.

  7. It’s easy for me to give this advice as I don’t have kids and probably won’t any time soon, but I know some of what you’re going through. I gave up anonymity on the net a long time ago. For a while, it was easy. The only people online were the kinds of people I didn’t mind finding my stuff.

    Then everyone ended up online. And I started getting jobs where people at work knew who I was. And I started submitting YA books to agents and publishers. Now I freak out every few weeks about what person or people might come across my blog or my Twitter feed and make a judgment that I do not want made. If I lose an already hard-to-find publishing opportunity because I was crude on Twitter I’d lose it.

    Every time I come back to the same conclusion: Stopping or changing what I said seemed like the greater betrayal of myself. I’ve gotten things out of blogging beyond a place to vent. I’m a better writer for it, for one. And it makes me feel better about myself to have said things that mattered to me in a space where others could find and read them. Losing that would hurt.

    So I continue. Maybe if I get an actual smack, that won’t be the case. If I do lose a publication opportunity, or if I’m told off by a boss or…whatever. If any of that, maybe the choice of whether to change or not won’t be mine. So long as it is, though, I’ve decided to continue doing something I love.

    Whatever decision you make, I understand. It’s not easy. Personally, I hope you keep going. Option D. For the win.

  8. Well, shutting down the blog is not even an option. We all know energy cannot be created or destroyed- it just “is”… and your blog harnasses your energy and we are inspired from it- so, no, shutting down is not an option. Change your style? It’ll never work- you will be frustrated and we will always want more. You will eventually tire of not being true to yourself (and your readers) and we will eventually wander away. If your son’s friends/classmates have found your blog it is up to their PARENTS to regulate what they read on the internet. If they are reading your stuff they are probably finding lots more grittier stuff as well. It is not up to you to change your blog to an audience of 12 year olds. Maybe it’s time for your son to start one of his own that his friends (true friends!) will follow. His true friends will not be snickering about what his Mom does (anymore than they snicker about what their OWN parents are doing in private) and eventually the buzz will die down. Keep on keepin’ on…

  9. Find out who it is and phone their parents and dob them in for reading inappropriate content in the internet. Stick an ‘R’ rating on the blog clearly visible to all then keep calm and carry on. πŸ™‚ Simples.

  10. JD @ Honest Mom

    April 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Oh, Iris. I love your blog and your writing and hate the idea of your blog going away. DON’T STOP BLOGGING.

    I think you know I went through this issue, too. So you probably know my choice is “B” – start over anonymously.

    I was at one blog from August 2010 through December of 2011. I abandoned that blog for Honest Mom starting in January 2012 because too many people IRL knew stuff about me that I wasn’t comfortable with them knowing. I worried about embarrassing my kids and giving TMI that could be used against them. “Oooh, Lizzie’s mom. She is depressed and on meds. I’d never let my kid go play at her house.” That thinking: That was my fear.

    Like you, I never dreamed that anyone outside my good friends, some family, and some bloggy friends would know about my blog. But when people in my small town – people I was not friends with and/or didn’t like – starting reading my blog and then talking to me condescendingly about my kid’s sleep issues and episodes of less-than-stellar behavior … well, it was time to go anonymous.

    I also wanted to write about my experiences with depression that I am not comfortable (yet) talking with everyone in the world about. And I worried about my blog making my very-private, paranoid-about-the-internet husband VERY uncomfortable.

    So I blog honestly and openly and anonymously. Yes, it’s a bit of a contradiction. Yes, it was hard leaving the little following I built up. But now, in just 3.5 months, I have more comments on my blog and fans on Facebook than I did on my old blog. And I feel like I’m really helping other moms understand that it’s ok to be struggling with depression and there are so many more of us out there. And, BTW, I have even more business opportunities opening up to me via my blog than I ever did before. In just 3.5 months.

    So if you do decide to leave this blog and start another, know that your bloggy friends will all support you and tell the blogging world about your new venture, just like they did for me. I’ll be one of the first in line to help. πŸ™‚

  11. Please, please pleaseeee don’t change a thing and don’t leave!! I need you!!! πŸ™‚ I think you’re great, and I love that your son is proud of you! That’s awesome! This is your blog, and as long as its not hurting anyone then you should continue. But I do have to ask…. Why aren’t those other boys moms monitoring theirninternet access!!! Hmmmm????

  12. I grappled with the same things, especially the posting of pics of my kid, because of some horrible perverted search terms that somehow led to my blog.

    I unpublished a lot of my stuff, the stuff I wanted to keep for just me, and I publish under “private” now if it’s something I wrote I don’t want to share with the world.

    What I do share I make sure I’m comfortable with my worst enemy having possession of. Cause that bitch totally reads my blog. πŸ˜‰

    Good luck with your decision. I hope you don’t just stop. If you go anonymous, you’d better tell me where!

  13. I love your blog as is. As others have said, it’s up to kids’ parents to keep track of what their kids are reading on the internet. I kinda like the R rating in the corner idea (Rated R for mature humor, etc.), that way it’s a subtle reminder that it’s adult content without making a big deal out of it.

  14. I’ve been through this and that’s why I’m anonymous now and I regret so much that I completely deleted my wonderful and popular blog just because some nitwits in my real life didn’t like it. You wanted your life to be up there. It was important to you and it’s important to us. I hope you choose C or D because your child doesn’t mind and they will get over it. The kids aren’t going to keep reading it. It’s an adult blog. Be yourself. Good luck.

  15. Rebekah Bambenek

    April 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, some days i NEED to read your blog. You not only have a wonderful sense of humor but you write it well, which is often a rare skill, and as a mom of 3 young kids I need to laugh more in my life (you know, between poop on the floor and my son doing a CARTWHEEL on the top of my minivan). Yours has become my blog of choice for reading (and i do NOT spend that much time on the computer, but I got started with motherhoodwtf and she suggested we read you which I now do!) so for selfish reasons I really hope you keep things the way they are. I like to have a picture to connect a face with the writer. It makes it more real. And for me, real-ness is what I want. I want to know that other moms’ kids are pissed at the grocery store because all they got out of the stupid machine was a mother-f’n sticker. I want to know that other moms feel depressed and have a muffin top. I need that support and I get it from your blog.

    My immediate thought was: why are these kids’ parents not censoring their internet access? Now my oldest kid is 5, so I don’t know what it’s like to ahve a 12-year-old, and perhaps I will feel differently later on. My final advice: do what’s right for you and your family. But no matter what you choose, if you start over anonymously somewhere else, let me know how to find you! I want to keep reading!!!!!

    • JD @ Honest Mom

      April 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      So here’s my question: Is there a way to control what websites your kids go to on their phones? If there is, I’d love to know for the future. I figured that’s how your son’s friends found your website. All they have to do is Google Iris’ full name, right?

      I am not comfortable giving my kids’ friends and their parents the knowledge that I deal with depression or other things I write about. I feel like my kids will have to deal with all sorts of teasing and whatever in the future – why add to the potential fodder?

      So yeah, I know my opinion is very different from most of the others here. But I think we can all agree – you have to do what’s right for you and yours.

  16. You know, one of the reasons so many of us start blogging is to share a truth that may be a little too hard to share IRL. That doesn’t make it any less of a truth, any less personal, or any less real.

    We spend so much time editing our thoughts in our everyday, person-to-person lives. Every other thought or phrase is deemed politically incorrect, or passe, or some other crap. Blogging is a way to surge past the edit buttons of everyday life and let it all hang out. Whether you choose to do so anonymously or not, there are always going to be people who take offense, or have a very loud differing opinion.

    Stay the course – be true to yourself and try to squash that urge to constrain your musings to the audience you ‘might’ have, rather than being true to the audience you know for sure is already here and in full support of you.

  17. Knowing about your blog and reading it on a regular basis aren’t the same thing. I’d bet one kid found it somehow (maybe his mom reads it) and told a bunch of the other kids. A few of them may have looked at it and said, “Yep, that’s her.”

    You have to do what’s right for you and your family, but be sure you know the full extent of what you’re dealing with before using it as the basis for a decision.

    Find a way to keep blogging because I’d miss you if you were gone.

  18. I went through this same debate when I discovered some unseemly search terms (only 1, and very, very low on my search terms list) in my analytics. I couldn’t bear the thought of a single person googling something awful and being led to my blog, to my daughter, and to our life. I emailed a much larger blogger than myself to ask her advice. She said, stay the course. I have, and of course I try to be diligent whenever I can to limit details. But because my blog started as family-only and had an overnight viral post shove me into the public, our names are there. I simply removed links to archived posts, keep vital info that I can to myself, delete comments from friends who may reveal too much by accident, and keep sharing our little world with the people who care to read about it.

    Hell, that was long. Good luck with your decision, but I don’t think stopping is the answer.

  19. No! You have to keep blogging. Maybe run any posts that you have your son in past him first to make sure he is okay with it.

    How did his friends find out about it?!

  20. This is a very interesting question. One that I have no answer for. I’ll be waiting to see what you decide. I blog anonymously, but as my husband has pointed out it’s only anonymous to people that don’t know us since I used to post links to my personal facebook page (lil tirade just recently got herself a facebook page) and lots of our friends and family read it.

    I started blogging anonymously because of a stalking issue we had after my kids appeared in the newspaper (years before I started blogging). My main goal being that the “crazy stalker lady” not be able to read about our life. I never discuss our geographic location, school names or use our real names.

    The issue of family, friends, and acquaintances knowing who I am is double edged. While I enjoy real live feedback and people I know telling me they enjoy my blog (no one has had the nerve to criticize it to my face!), I have chosen not to vent about certain things that I feel might get me in hot water in real life. My kids aren’t old enough to read my blog, but my oldest heads to middle school next year and I suppose it’s not too far fetched that her friends could discover it.

    Much to think about…

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  21. I do understand the struggle, and I have mixed feelings about it. If kids could control what their parents wrote, then we wouldn’t have Winnie the Pooh (and many other wonderful stories, books, blogs, and articles). And sometimes it’s more than a hobby, it’s a vocation–the writing *HAS* to happen, since that’s what the writer (artist) was meant to do.

    I’ve started talking with the Maiden about the blog thing (she’s almost 6) and she knows that I write about her but do not use her name. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t bad-mouthing her, but she’s otherwise fine with the writing thing. So for now, I’m good.

    And I think you are, too. The only “duty” you owe in terms of your blog is to yourself and to your family. If you’re comfortable with what you post publicly, and if your son is okay with your blog posts and their content, then there’s no reason not to keep blogging. And as for the potentially inappropriate content that his friends might see–well, there’s a lot of not-really-appropriate-for-kids stuff out there, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. If the comfort level of you and your child is good, then carry on!

  22. Underachiever's Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess

    April 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I have gone back through and deleted a few blogs that I felt were sketchy as far as my home-town goes. Otherwise, I am going to keep on, no matter who I know reads this. I know I am helping far more people than I hurt – and they only people I usually hurt is myself through self-deprication so it’s me who carries the burden of the story.

    Yes, there are predators. THis is the world we live in. If we stop doing what helps others get through a very dark time in our world’s history, then THEY win. No way am I letting them win.

    You have a gift – and the greatest gift is to share it with others. You make so many people happy. Including me.

    Big hugs – it’ll all be ok. Your kids are great.
    Andrea (the underachieving domestic goddess)

  23. Oh, Iris, I selfishly wish you would keep this blog but certainly understand that there isn’t an easy answer for this conundrum. I would venture to say, however, that these kids will get bored with the novelty and move on to other things. Also, kids will find racey content when they want to. It doesn’t have to be with you. I’d call a family meeting, maybe put it to a vote.

    • Oooh – so democratic! I love this idea. Thanks Mel. I’m pretty sure they’ll vote for me to keep on keeping on, but that doesn’t erase the new knowledge that my cover is blown. Lots to think about! Thanks for the support!

  24. Other people’s lack of parenting should not have to be your problem, but it does become our problem when it affects our children. I have mixed feelings about making my life known to the public, and have been burned by other’s bad choices. But we cannot stop. Your writing makes the world a better place. We get to laugh at your life and at our own at the same time. Our children benefit more from us enjoying what we do and finding humor in life than they are adversely affected by some middle school classmate’s lack of parenting filters. You did the right thing, you talked to Nature Boy and I am sure he will keep talking since he has a wonderful loving mom with whom to share his thoughts. Keep up the good work, on and please keep writing for us all to read.

  25. Pick D… Your blog is for “adults”… Please don’t leave us!

  26. When you write on the internet you take on any and all kinds of readers. That is part of the deal, right? We decide on our end whether to edit or not as part of the deal.

    You are only responsible for your content, not for who reads it and whether they should be reading it or not.

    And seriously, if we’re worried about 12-year-old boys reading this blog?? I think we are ignoring the entire rest of the interwebs. You should be the least of our worries. πŸ™‚

  27. I’m in the option d or e camp maybe be more aware of what your posting when you’re posting it, but don’t censor yourself too much. They’re going to find out about lady parts sooner or later. Not only that but your kids are proud of you. The rest of us would miss you. And you are not responsible for what those children read on the I ternet. They could find a lot worse, and you would be no more in control of them than you are now. However, if you don’t already, maybe share some of your posts with your kids so they don’t feel left out if their friends are talking about it, or do some sort of spoiler alert like: this post will be a disgusting post. If you’re a teenage boy, you should pass this one up. That’s what I think. πŸ™‚

    • Oh good point, Jessica. I didn’t even think about the possibility that they could feel left out. Love the teenage boy warning idea too. Thank you for being here!

  28. D is the obvious choice. Shame on the parents of these middle school boys for not monitoring what their children are doing on the internet. If these parents are not concerned with what they are reading then why should you be? What a fabulous testiment to the relationship with your son that he supports you whole-heartedly. As the mother of a 12 year old son it almost brought tears to my eyes! Carry on Iris you are keeping us all sane:)

  29. I’m sorry this is happening like it is.

    But what a cool kid you have!
    And those kids are total losers. You have got to think there are MORE IMPORTANT things for kids to read about other than ladies their moms age and what not.
    –I sometimes wonder how my facebook posts will be seen in the future. Like when they’re in high school will there be some Facebook vault where kids repost the things their moms said about them when they were little like ‘Oh Timmy pooped today in the potty!’ and then repost it on his wall? or his personal screen that’s implanted on his forehead? Or who knows what they’ll have by then.

  30. This one’s a real dilemma…

    What did the little weirdos (seriously, what 12 y/o wants to read about mommy vaginas and hairy chins??) have to say about your blog? Did they tease your son (I’m totally up for a road trip to kick some 12 y/o butt, BTW)? Where they mean about it?

    I don’t blog anonymously so I’m not really qualified to comment on that (not that I’m actually qualified to do anything but that’s not the point).

    Your blog is really awesome, your readers absolutely love you and it would be a travesty if you stopped. But I would understand if you wanted to stop, your family comes first.

    I say, write a post dedicated to the little buggers where you totally call them out and mortify them to point that they’ll think twice before reading age-inappropriate material.

    Hope you do keep blogging! I absolutely love you!!!

    • Thank you Karine! No, the boy who said something to my son wasn’t mean, just curious (so far). But he knew the name of the blog and seemed to indicate that he heard about it from another kid. This is just the beginning, I fear.

      Interesting idea to call the kids out! Hmmm….

  31. Oh, Iris. I’m so sorry to see you in this position. You know I love your writing. I am so happy to see such loving support in these comments. I have absolutely no answer for you, except that if you decide to start over, I hope you can communicate your location to us groupies that would miss you so much. As in the past, when faced with a challenge, I know you will choose wisely and do the right thing for you with all the grace and integrity that you posess. Good luck, whatever you decide.

  32. Your blog is obviously for adults and I wouldn’t change anything. There are worse things a 12 year old boy could read on the internet.

    But I think it would be a good idea to take your kids aside and talk to them one on one how they feel and if they want their pictures to stay up or taken down. Or if there is somethings that they don’t want you to talk about involving them.

  33. Never dull your shine for anyone, bitch. If you stop writing, I will be forced to read the latest issue of Hustler. *silent pause*…….maybe you should stop writing. lmao

  34. Don’t lots of parents have jobs that are horrifying to their kids? What if you were a proctologist? The shy unassuming church lady who just wrote Shades of Grey (which apparently S&M lady-porn) has kids. Somehow others have navigated these treacherous waters. Although maybe their kids are all headed to rehab, who knows.

    You know what else I don’t know? How different life will be for our kids because almost every second of THEIR lives will be documented on the internet. Microblogging, Twitter, FB, YouTube. Where my childhood exists only in a few moldy photo albums in my Dad’s basement, my kids will grow up in a world where they and everybody they know has a cell phone which they’ll be using to capture and share text, photos, and video CONSTANTLY. It simply is the reality of our lives today. I have no freekin idea what this means for my kids, for how I parent, etc. But I 110% know that it is the truth.

    So you may be a few years ahead of the average population in terms of putting in out there. But all of our kids will be putting it out there soon enough. And maybe as a lady who roams the technical frontier, you’ll be better positioned to help your kids navigate these treacherous waters?

    • Yowza – fascinating theory. Yes, I definitely could have a grosser job. But at least a proctologist is delving into other people’s deepest darkest part and not spilling his own crap for others. I guess I’m just scared about my transparency being used against me or my kids. Maybe you’re right though…maybe this is just the future and we all just need to get used to it, at least until the Cyborgs take over and destroy us all. πŸ˜‰ I love your description of me as a “lady who roams the technical frontier”! Sounds so badass! Thanks!

  35. What if you changed your domain name? Become a .net instead of .com or just change the name of your blog. I wouldn’t change the content at all. Continue on as you normally would. It’s still you, just with a different name. I know other bloggers who have changed their names and nothing has changed for them. Kellie from Nest of Posies had a different name and changed about 6 months ago…can’t remember what her blog name was before that…This Blessed Nest maybe?

  36. Ugh! Don’t stop! I am having anxiety thinking about the Internet without your insight and wisdom, and especially humor. I don’t have any real advice, but I selfishly think it would really suck if I didn’t have your posts to read each week.

  37. Wow! That IS tough. I totally relate and I don’t even write about my girly parts. You’ll make the best decision for you and your family and any of those options above could be the right decision. Best of luck. Oh yeah, and this reply is of no help at all, sorry. πŸ™ I would miss you if you were gone though.

  38. Oh, and on another note, I totally thought of you this morning in water aerobics when the instructed shouted ” HIGHER” and I almost back kicked the poor lady behind me in the vagina.

    Her kids go to my school and she always takes way too long loading them up in the pick up line after school though, so if I had kicked her, she totally would have deserved it. I didn’t though.

    That concludes this story.

  39. Option D, all the way baby!!!

    If your son doesn’t have an issue with it then keep going. And this boy will get board with your site b/c that is what teenagers do.

    As long as you keep your boobies off the internet. πŸ˜‰

  40. I love your blog. You are smart, funny and very talented. Please keep writing.

  41. If you are genuine, if you are open about your blog with your family unit, if as a unit you can all be comfortable with what you put Out There? I say stick to it.
    Life evolves, and there may be a post scattered about in your history that should be hidden for one reason or another. This happens. But if, overall, you aren’t hurting anyone, slandering anyone, or doing something that your husband/kids feel is invading their privacy? You’re good.

    Now, I’m semi-anonymous because my husband asked me to. There are a couple specific topics he asked me not to write about, and he requested I not use our real names or faces. This is our comfort level as a family unit, and so I move on. Each time a writing opportunity makes me need to become less anonymous, we discuss it before making a decision about peeling back a layer. This is what works for us.

    We’re all different, but in the end – for me, at least – I think the family unit should be comfortable as a whole, and your voice genuine, to make this ride worth taking.

    PS: I love you

  42. I vote Option D. It’s like you said – kids that age should not be reading your content, and yet they are. And frankly, that’s their parents’ problem for not being more aware of what their children are viewing online. But should you or anyone else have to censor themselves as a result? I don’t think so.

    Blogs are a diverse extension of the people who write them, and just like some people just aren’t destined to get along, so too are certain blogs or their content not everyone’s cup of tea. Last year, my dad chastised me for a post in which I talked about an exchange between my mom and me when I was a teenager that included the words ‘tampon,’ ‘vagina’, and ‘penis.’ He said that some things weren’t meant to be shared and that it made him uncomfortable. I told him I was sorry he felt that way, but he was not my target audience. And as long as my mom didn’t care (she didn’t – she laughed), the post stayed.

    That said, there are certain topics I don’t touch on my blog for all the reasons you mentioned – personal rants about specific people, my job/co-workers, the in-laws (what a world of blog fodder that would be!), sex, and marital issues being the main ones. I also ask my husband for his honest, objective feedback on my content. And if something feels uncomfortable in the writing and/or publishing, I remove it. And yes, every time I post a picture of Lil’ Bit, a little, nagging voice inside my head questions, “Is this safe?”

    I know that going forward, as Lil’ Bit grows and becomes more aware of what I do, this self-censorship is only going to get more pronounced, but I’ll deal with that as it comes. A blog is ever-evolving, after all, just like its writer.

    Sorry to write a post in your comments. And thanks (as always) for the shout-out!

  43. Oh my gosh please option D! Where else will I find out about things like “magic cream” or laugh so hard over a shopping trip that entails a giant metal rooster??? I agree with some of the others, it really is up to the parents to monitor their kids Internet whereabouts. Believe me if they are reading your blogs, I can only image what other inappropriate sites they are going to. You would be greatly missed πŸ™ !!!!

  44. Don’t stop being you, Iris. This blog is your outlet, and you should say whatever you and your family feel comfortable publishing. Those who object have many other options. Those who support you are staying right here. Besides, it was just a matter of time until neighbors and locals found your blog. You weren’t hiding. That just speaks to the popularity of your blog and how many readers enjoy it.

    So be loud and be proud, Iris. It’s what got you where you are. If you think you need to, just add a “For Mature Audiences” tag on your header. You have more supporters than you realize, so carry on – for us AND for you. PS – I think your son is amazing, which means you’re doing a lot of things right. Stop being so hard on yourself.

  45. I personally love your blog like most of the smart(ass) people of the internet world…

    So my thoughts are…where are those kids’ parents?? Don’t they know what their lil brats are up to, reading about ladies vaginas and whatnots?? Maybe they don’t care, and so the life lessons you provide are totally needed!

    Such an awesome moment when your own lil brat is proud of you, follow his advice…one day he’ll wish you were locked up somewhere, but til then…Don’t give up your gift…you’re supposed to share it!

  46. Yep. Stick with it, and screw em, I say. πŸ˜€

    • …with the ginormous VAGINA I so prominently feature in so many of my posts?! Poetic justice at its finest! Hahaha! Thanks for visiting Cecily! πŸ™‚

  47. i totally agree and totally get it. I am anonymous. No faces or names on HMM. However, my kids know about it. My friends’ kids know about it. My kids wear HMM shirts to school (even though I’ve advised against it). I think as my boys get older and their friends would be interested in stalking a mommy blog for whatever reason, my content will change…albeit organically….
    But I can honestly say that there is NOTHING on Hot Mess Mom, no matter how inappropriate, that I wouldn’t say in front of my kids or share with them.
    {except for maybe doing shots and smoking }
    Go with your gut lady……..

    • oh, and also… while traveling abroad my husband informed me that Hot Mess Mom is banned in Abu Dhabi… you can’t even get to it!! That’s my new tag line…. Hot Mess Mom~~banned in Abu Dhabi. πŸ™‚

  48. Think of this as a scrapbook you’re putting together. There will be embarrasing parts like when the high school prom date comes over and parents whip out the pictures of Junior potty training. But it is also a record of your life and your family. I don’t have nearly as many pictures of my 3rd in a dedicated book (like I do for 1 and 2) but when they grow older they will all have my blog stories about their life told from a different point of view. And my ego likes to think that maybe when they have kids of their own they will appreciate that perspective.

  49. Shit.

  50. keep on keepin’ on. you are who you are– that’s why so many people read your blog. there may be a little bit of hubub over this at first, but it will blow over quickly. especially since your cool kid is ok with it. don’t lose what it’s taken you so long to build, and what you love so much.

  51. It’s a tricky question, isn’t it. Blogging was (and still is) very therapeutic for me. When I was going through some unholy mess with my teenage (now 24) son- stuff that probably shouldn’t have been blogged- the feedback from my 12 followers kept me going. It was a source of stress between my son and me, but I was kind of on my own, and needed someone to talk to, even strangers. Having people say to me “oh, I went through this, and survived” and “I have nothing to say but here’s a hug” really really meant the world to me at that time. Tho my blog is nowhere near as widely read as yours…it still helped. A lot.

  52. Stay. Please. OxoxoxO

  53. D & E combo.
    Do your thang!…but toss in a few PSA’s for the wandering boys (and girls)….and a tad less about your specific vag. as a nod to your kids would not lessen your appeal. Your blog is not very graphic imo.
    If you want to blog not about the kids, maybe you can take up some kind of cumpulsive hobby like hording so you have other great stories…..no?
    In the end, kids will find something to tease about if they want to and frankly, your kids seem well adjusted. I am sure they will triumph over anything thrown at them. I’m thanking God that my dog doesn’t go to junior high since I blog the opposite of anonymously.
    I would miss you and I feel like I was late to this party, but I’d understand – your kids are very important…….(singing “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way……”)

  54. Ack, my soon to be roomie … this really sucks.
    Self censorship – I live it every day.
    Stories I cannot share about my oldest, stories that maybe I shouldn’t share about my youngest …
    Retractions asked for by my husband who now doesn’t even wants his face on Facebook on my personal page because its ‘his choice’.
    Being mindful of the homeschool communities that I write for. Knowing there are teens from our local community that have found my blog and read … so much for my little corner of the blogosphere.

    Sometimes starting over appeals, then the idea exhausts me – plus how can I ‘unknow’ all the bloggers that I already know.

    Lets just drink tomorrow night – you are drinking again right? This sure calls for it.

  55. Iris, I’m quite sure you know where I stand on this.

    After all, in my online life I am rude, vulgar, uncouth, profane, and at times downright filthy — and in my offline life, I’m worse. Hell, from where I sit, you’re practically Miss Manners tatting doilies. But here’s the thing: those parents who want to keep their kids sheltered from vagina talk and the f-bomb (YES! New name for my band!) — it is their responsibility to lock those kids in a closet and raise them Amish.

    The only person’s opinion you should be worrying about is your son’s — and he seems to be fine with having an Edgy Mom. I grew up with an Edgy Mom (we once got kicked out of church ’cause her skirt was too short — no shit) and the only thing it did to me — aside from, y’know, making me rude, vulgar, profane AND SUCCESSFUL AS A TV WRITER BECAUSE OF IT — was make me proud that my mom didn’t give a shit about what anyone else thought.

    She was stronger than “Them,” and more confident than Them, and funnier than Them, and cooler than Them, too. That’s right — I’m betting that not only is Nature Boy proud of you, but that he thinks you’re cool. (Do you need to sit down? Smelling salts? Bourbon?) Not just because you talk about your vajewelry box, but because you’re confident enough — and have a sense of humor enough — to still be you, the person, and not just you, the “proper” mom.

    Now, should you check in with him every once in a while, just to make sure he’s still okay with everything? Sure. And you should do the same with Mini-Me and Bucket Head when they reach an age to start talking about it. But it should be a discussion — not a gladiatorial thumbs-up or thumbs-down thing. No one should make any decisions about your writing but you.

    Everyone who reads here can tell you’ve invested years of work and discipline in producing this blog — and if you’re anything like me, taking it down would kill a little piece of you, a piece that belongs to You you, not Mom you. Which I understand you’d probably be perfectly willing to do for your kids as a mom, but as a person, I think would do your talent a great disservice.

    It is abundantly clear how much you love your kids — it comes through in every post — but you should also think about how much you love what you do. Because as I learned from my Edgy Mom, being a mother doesn’t mean you become someone other than who you were — it just means you’re made up of more than you had been. And what you’re made up of now, girl — I think that’s someone your entire family can be proud of.

    Cameltoe and all.

    -Mere-
    lead singer of Vagina Talk And The F-Bomb

    • Oh.
      Mah.
      GAW.

      I just found this comment in my spam folder. WTF?! This ain’t no spam, this is POETRY.

      And thanks for making the Me me cry reading about the difference between the You you and the Mom you. Both of which are completely different from the hoo-hoo.

      For what it’s worth, I play a mean hambone if you need any band members. I think you know I would wear that t-shirt with pride.

  56. Option D!
    I JUST came across your blog a week ago and LOVE your posts. I am working on reading them all and would hate to miss out on your humor and perspective of things. There are FAR more things on the internet that these kids can get to (sadly) that are worse than what you write but do understand how this is personal especially since your own kids arent allowed to read it.

  57. Oh no! This is a serious dilemma, I completely understand your feelings on this one but I love you and will miss your blog, your honesty and humor if you go! Your son made my heart happy, what an amazing kid. Of course you don’t want them to have to suffer in any way but I also agree – this is not a blog for under 18! Kids in his or any grade school class should not be reading. I guess if you go or change to a new blog, please leave a trail of breadcrumbs for us and if you stay, I feel confident in saying you have a pretty big support base to help you through it all.

  58. Bitch…have you done lost your damn mind?? You can’t stop the blog. This blog is what brings us together….

    Think about the notoriety you will get….that could lead to big dollars, and then you can fly to NH to see me and we can drink and I can show you all the Twat waffles that live near me, giving you an endless supply of chapters for your blog!!! COME ON!!!!
    Don’t play with my emotions this way… it’s been a week where I feel like I’ve been ass raped by a cactus.

    Oh…. but if you must do something… I like what Kat1e says…. A little disclaimer is good… like “If you offend easily, or your kid goes to school with mine, go play Hide and go fuck yourself”.

    That’s all.
    I love you, Iris…don’t you dare leave me.

  59. Anne Alexander

    April 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Iris, Iris,Iris. I can’t imagine that middle school boys would find the blog that interesting. [What do they know anyway!] Except for a sprinkling of vagina lingo [no pun intended], the content just isn’t their thing. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you love!

  60. Please let me know when you figure this out! I struggle with this daily. People are starting to tell my daughter, “I love your mom’s blog!” Which is great, except that as she and her friends get older, I will be standing in your shoes. No idea what to do.

  61. Hey Iris, looks like I stopped by just in time to let you know I agree with everyone else, keep on the same track – and if you decided against it for some reason please keep me on your faithful readers contact list! πŸ™‚

  62. I am going to be selfish and say go with option “D”. I would so miss your words of wisdom and humor! I have a quote plaque in my living room with words from Dr. Seuss which seems to fit here, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”.

  63. Since those Middle schoolers are obviously not being supervised while roaming the web
    soon they’ll move on to ..let’s say …juicier things for teenage boys. I know it seems sort of scary right now, but I’d just wait it out. As my Mom always says, “This too will pass”

  64. First of all, I have no children, so take of this what you will.

    Another commenter made a really good point – there is all kinds of stuff out there on the internet. Just because some of it is written by you doesn’t make their entire well-being your responsibility. My parents always, always kept track of what I saw and did on the internet, which is what I think these parents should be doing, too. It’d be a different story if it was embarrassing for your son. But he seems to love it! And if down the road it’s too much for your daughter, you can reconsider then,

    In conclusion: Don’t stop writing; I know I live near you and I will come to your house to get you to write down funny things on a notepad if I have to. Also, since I just made a stalkery comment, no worries if you feel like you should call the cops on me.

    Option D! πŸ™‚

  65. As long as your kids are cool with it, I think option D is the best! If you go somewhere else, you are just going to have to tell us all where to find you anyway. And then there goes your anonymity!

  66. Iris, this post has driven me from my phone to my actual computer because I felt I had to comment. As Rebel Gold Five would say: Stay on target! (If you don’t get that reference, I apologize – I’m a sci-fi nerd.) Your blog is incredible because your posts are well-written, wry and witty. I just about pee my pants every time I visit because I find your candor and your perspective so funny and refreshing. Don’t stop. I beg you. It really is difficult to find a balance between privacy and oversharing and you’ve done it. I think it takes time and courage to get to the place where bloggers feel comfortable letting it all hang out. I’m still working on it. You’ve done it and I applaud you. Bravo!!

  67. I’m thinking you’ll make it whatever you choose. And not to be redundant, but I agree with everyone in saying you have to do what’s right for you and your kids. Def include a disclaimer or some kind of firewall? Not sure how all that works. If not, trail of breadcrumbs is also nice. We like you, your drinks, your vag, your kids and your dancing. You never disappoint.

  68. Extra flip flops

    April 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I strongly urge you to continue on your current path. You are in good company (e.g., Erma Bombeck), with essayists who talk about real life events and feelings. Your son is proud of you. Hold onto that. As long as you don’t violate his essential privacy (and he will be in your face before the words hit the screen!), you’ve got nothing to be afraid of from your family.
    Children will get bored with the pedestrian topics they already experience daily. After the novelty wears off, they’ll be gone like your proverbial fart in the wind. (poof!). They get more excitement (and harsh language) from their friends’ Facebook posts. And don’t even get started on the violence and language in video games, movies, on TV, radio and in music. How can you compare with that?
    you have an authentic voice which readers enjoy. What is it in you that makes abandoning this seem like a great idea? This is not the stuff of life that will make the difference long-term. Trust me.
    Wow, that was WAY too serious. Time to light a fart. Who’s got the lighter?

  69. I vote D. Everything else won’t work. If you have asked your kids for permission to put something about them on, they know what you have said about them. If 12 yr olds want to read your material it might make them a better husband/father/partner. You never know. You have to stay online Iris. I love your stuff.

  70. I think its clear we all vote D. Most excellent blog!

  71. Let me just start by saying this caused a major cramp in the pit of my stomach. Erin and I are new to the blogosphere, but are old timers in the middle schoolosphere. Since we had teenagers way before we blogged, we had quite the discussions about what we would share. We have some humdinger stories that we wish we could share. But our blog is tamer as a result and it is written so that our kids can read it. We carved a different niche.

    But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. You have the content that makes me laugh out loud. So I’m viscerally feeling your conundrum. But, and here it is chickie, I think you have made your decision by writing this post. You have shot a warning flare that this could be pulled down. Nothing ever dies on the internet and if teenage boys want some of the content off of this blog, they have already taken screen shots.

    And if you took it down or put an R rating across the top, you’ve just made it that much more titillating. You are a quality, comedic writer, this is your product, and it does not have to appeal to or be appropriate for all ages.

    The most I would concede is a funny tagline indicating this is an adult read. Maybe something like, “If you have a vagina more than 25 years away from menopause or have never seen a vagina, this blog isn’t for you.” Hmmm, I just re-read that and perhaps that isn’t a keeper.

    Another commenter mentioned Eddie Murphy and how in his comedy shows he talks about drugs and sex. You know why that is acceptable? Money and success. If you have opportunities on the horizon hinging on this real, high-quality brand you have crafted for yourself, please don’t throw it away. Fame softens many transgressions, let alone the entertainment that you provide.

    So I hope you can reach a decision that is right for everyone that matters in your life. And I do truly empathize. My 13 y/o daughter told me the other day that the boy who has had a crush on her (stalked her) for years reads my blog. My mind started spinning about what I had posted about her. I can only imagine the state of your insides and I knew exactly what you meant when you said you verbally vomited on him.

    Cyber hug to you which is ever so much better than 12 y/o cyberstalking.
    P.S. – You have one fine boy there. Ellen

  72. Bernie Bickers

    April 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Superman II – Clark Kent tells Lois Lane his secret identity. Later, his super life is super sucky.

    You broke the Superhero code Iris, and now, like Clark, you face some tough choices (though in his case not too tough since Margot Kidder’s voice could sterilize a walrus at 30 meters, and she later went all batshit crazy, but I digress…). Will you be a meek horn rimmed glasses wearing nebbish, or will you man up like Clark finally did, hike back up to the North Pole in a busted Member’s Only jacket, rebuild the fortress of solitude, and don your cape and booties once again so the world can be safe from mediblogcrity.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than to say you find a way to make it work. Because if you quit, the next thing you’ll hear will be me and those three mylar wrapped ex-cons from Krypton coming down to to kick your ass into the blogosphere.

    Ya’ dig?

  73. They’re 12 year old boys reading a mommy blog.
    I’d be more concerned about that.

  74. lauren alexander

    April 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    87 comments already? Geezus Iris. That’s amazing.

    But on to your problem, I think you should do what you feel in your heart. And then also I think you should keep blogging. Because you are a writer after all and you’ll want to write no matter what you are doing and blogging is the best way to release that tension. I mean creativity. And you do it so well!

  75. Please stay the course. I agree your blog isn’t middle school fodder but it is really the PARENTS of these children who should be making changes…not you. But I am being selfish. I LOVE your blog. I LOVE you and look forward to your blogs with great joy. Truly you must do what you feel is right but if your son is proud of you…and you are OK with it…don’t go changing.

  76. Gee Iris, sounds like you are between a rock & a hard place. I don’t feel qualified to make the decision for you. I’d like you to pick option “D”, but want you to do what’s right for you & your family. I will respect any & all decisions you come up with, but sure hope you don’t give up blogging. God Bless!

  77. Maybe “know about” and “read every vagina post” are not one in the same. I know my kids always pretend to know stuff they really don’t, especially when they overhear something they think they shouldn’t. And if they have read it cover to cover? Wow. A+ in Accellerated Reader.

  78. My stomach dropped at the possibility of you doing anything other than this blog. I definitely don’t envy you the choice you have to make, but I thought I’d put my 2 cents in…

    There are always going to be people who have issue with your blog. Why? Because you’re honest. Because they don’t like the way you think. Because it’s not exactly what they think.
    If kids are reading your blog, blame their parents.
    If their parents are reading their blog, it’s because you’re awesome.
    If those parents don’t see the awesome, they are obviously blind.
    If your church group reads this blog, I want to join it.
    If your church group reads this blog, but doesn’t like it and wants to oust you or anything like that, find another one.

    If you yourself want to stop this blog… Stop. Otherwise, I say fuck the naysayers. But not literally because you don’t want crabs.

  79. Have any soothsayer friends who can accurately predict future peer-trouble for your children because of this? The things other children do and say to our children at school is out of our control. But you hate to be the one supplying the fuel (even if they are WAY TOO YOUNG to be buying it).
    Those are the things I keep telling myself as I spill my guts to the universe…..

  80. *your*

  81. As a middle school teacher I can tell you that every middle school boy ever born gets teased about his mother. Fat, thin, MILF, working, not-working, drunk, religious…the list goes on and on. In your case, the “ammo” is that you have a potty mouth and a wicked sense of humor. In middle school land, that’s pretty fucking cool. Hard to tease about something you wish you can be. And trust me, one minute into reading they will get bored and google “vagina” or “sex” and they will completely forget about you two seconds later. As long as you keep tease worthy stuff about your kids private (like if they wet the bed or still sleep with a stuffed bunny) then all is well. Stay the course. Middle school sucks no matter what. Don’t let your son see that bullies have power over his mother’s actions. Fuck em. Write on sista.

  82. Are you totally kidding me?? Nature Boy just needs an elevator speech to deflect the assholes – or another school. No quitting. You are brilliant in your humor, honesty, and realistic outlook on life, love, and reality.

    How could we possibly go on without the weekly joy of your blog – even when it is a bit “over the top?”

    We adore it – and you. As someone close to us once said – “If you F- with a Bull, you get a horn up your Ass!” Go For It!

  83. Dude, seriously, “D”. Keep sniffing glue. You really don’t say anything awful. Perhaps the pics of the shitty drivers in your school carpool lane might not want their license plates showing, but other than that, whatevuh.

    Don’t stop. Please, I enjoy.

    Since I’m dealing with cuh-razy stuff in mine, I gotta keep it more on the DL, but I don’t think you do.

  84. Oh Gah. That sucks! I had a similar issue with my old blog. I started my blog back in 2008 as a foster care/adoption/social work blog. I was careful not to reveal any identifying details about myself and I never posted pictures of myself or my husband. It didn’t matter, someone from my old life of social work found the blog and created a huge hoopla that involved lawyers and privacy rights and blah blah blah. I was served with a cease and desist order and even though I technically broke no laws and never compromised confidentiality in any way, I had to shut it down. I was so sad and I took a year off from blogging to decide what to do.

    I came back in January 2012 with a brand new blog, brand new name, brand new everything. I’m not anonymous in this blog, but I’m more careful about glossing over details. I do not ever post about foster care/social work and I never will on the new blog. I’m loving my new blog home. It’s more of who I am, it reflects my real life now and I am excited to blog again. I’m careful to only share things that won’t humiliate my kids and I do not use their real names (I use nicknames).

    I hope you choose to stay the course. This problem is not with you. It’s with the parents that are not monitoring their children’s internet browsing!

  85. Option D, please. To thine own self be true…why change what or how you post? Besides, your blog is tame compared to some of the stuff I’m sure those teenagers are finding on the internet.

  86. “D” please!

  87. Cynthia of Sewing Maching Fame

    April 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

    A real tough one, Iris. My thoughts:

    1. I read two blogs regularly. Yours and Maria’s. (“just eat your cupcake”). Yours is very forthcoming. Maria uses pseudonyms and has no photos. She has a blog stalker. I think you are both amazing bloggers and get so, so much from reading your blogs.

    2. for the record, I’m a single mom with an almost 12 year old in middle school. I am also sort of a privacy freak because I don’t want my dtr’s bio dad to be part of our lives for some good reasons. I have a few blogs – not about parenting, about more boring teacher-y stuff – but they are private, no pics, etc.

    3. I find it almost hard to say but I do think whatever you do, it should come down on the side of familiy first. I am guessing you discuss all this with your husband. And obviously you’ve discussed with Nature Boy. As everyone has said, you can’t predict the future. Waht you can do, I think, is look at how children of celebrities respond to their childhoods after they are grown. I know. You’re not Paul Newman or anything (close! To us moms, anyway!). but you know what i mean. How do adult children of famous people feel? Or children of people who have written memoirs?

    4. I taught a Memoirs course to older adults for about six years. We discussed this issue – what to share, what not to share – a lot. I always said if one chooses full disclosure, one can always have the memoirs shared after death, etc. No right or wrong, etc. Or write it but don’t share it.

    5. When I think about all this, I ponder issues of intention and trust. I am a writer, myself. (Not a famous one! πŸ˜‰ In recent years, I’ve had to acknowledge that part of my creative drive is simply the drive to be creative. It’s a deep and rael part of me. Another part is a quest for fame. And what is that about, I asked myself? I realized it was about being loved, safely, from a distance, because I have just a few issues about safe emotional intimacy, from my childhood. I had to look at that and that was painful. (Hard to believe I write, reading what I’m writing here! But I digress.)

    For many of us with complicated pasts and childhoods, there is this whole issue of wanting and needing and being able to the do the very important job of telling the truth AND still be loved… even being loved FOR telling the truth. You’re a truth teller. And your readers love you for it. I bet your husband and kids do, too.

    That makes it all the more complicated.

    The trust thing: if, and I’m not saying you want to or will, if switch formats and go anon, will you still have the success you’ve been cusping on here? And that success is a good thing, I want to say. It brings you creative fulfillment. Sounds like it’s bringing in some bucks. Always good with three kids! And it’s making your readers happy. All good. So if you do what you feel is “right,” can you trust that things will still go the way you want them to go?

    No telling, hunh?

    But even more importantly, can you trust yourself to deal with things, whatever you do?

    You haven’t mentioned prayer and reflection. I know you take your spiritual life very seriously. YOu write these wonderful and hilarious posts aobu the Nativity scenes but you also write with wrestling with the idea of being loved for just who you are.

    Waht about prayer and reflection as part of your process?

    I feel like I”ve lost track of my numbered bullet point system.

    The last thing I want to mention is something like.. how do I put this.. for truth tellers, it’s also hard for us (I included myself in the truth teller category) to manage and maintain human relationship webs. Soemtimes telling the truth causes a tear in the web.

    However, lies strangle people. (I’ve lost control of my metaphors! πŸ˜‰ WE know that denial ain’t good either.

    Where’s the balance? How do we find it?

    My haert goes out to to you.

    And I want to say: I trust you will find the way that feels right to you, in both heart and mind.

    Take your time. No rush.

    You have a great team – a wonderful and hairy husband (I can laugh about that because my boyfiend has quite the shoulder rug), fantastic kids, and readers who really love you for who you are.

    And you have a spiritual team, too.

    Take your time. YOu’ll find your way.

    ZC (of sewing machine fame ;-))

  88. Cynthia of Sewing Maching Fame

    April 19, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I just want to add a note to readers who don’t have older kids (tween and up) or don’t know people who do.

    Good parenting of tweens does not make it possible to police everything they do on the Internet. Kids go to the library. Kids have friends who have smart phones. It just isn’t possible.

    I’m happy my girl seems to have taken on my values, is grossed out by sex stuff she sees in posters on telephone poles (we live in SF so we see stuff like that sometimes),
    and uses the Internet to do her homework, send emails to friends and relatives, etc.

    Yes, I could check all her computer history. But realistically, does anyone DO that?

    So, please, don’t make out the parents of the kids who have read Iris’ blog to be bad parents! You never know what parents are dealing with, anyway. Maybe they’re coming hoem from a crappy job exhausted adn it’s great that they shared a mael with their kid and went over homework. My sis had claer cell ovarian cancer last year. She was still a good mom to her son. Was she exhausted and did she feel crappy? Yes!

    Anyway, lay off the judgement, please! This culture is pretty damn insane on many things. Once kids hit tweendom, it’s treacherous. I do the best I can. It’s impossible to shelter kids from everything unless you move to some freaky commune somewhere and then you eff them up that way.

    I also wonder how many of those judgemental types they, themselves, watch porn or or partnered by husbands who do. I guess that is just a personal quirk. (Because I am one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t like or use porn and it troubles me on several levels.) So many people want to protect kids from a life they themselves lead.

    okay, i’m done with my own judgemental sermonizing! πŸ˜‰

    ZC

  89. Your son is proud of your blog, so definitely D! It’s so sweet of him! Plus, parents should be the ones limiting/restricting internet access to age-appropriate things. That’s not your job. You already to that with your own kids, bravo! Plus, there are probably worse/harmful things on the internet. Don’t stop doing what you love. Unless your boy starts expressing concern — then it’s really about protecting him over your own interests, which I’m sure you and every other mommy blogger would proudly do! Good luck with the decision!

  90. D. You are already out there. Your kids’ teachers may have been reading the blog for two years and you didn’t even know. (That’s supposed to make you feel better :)) I don’t think you need to apologize for, or hide, your writing. It’s great! You are not advocating any of the kinds of evil that exist.

  91. I dearly love being an absent part of your family. I laugh, and have laughed, so hard over the many posts you have here. Sharing your experiences has made my life SO much happier. Do what you gotta do for you and yours. And know, that if you leave (again) you will be desparately missed! (God love Bucket-Head. And Mini Me. And Nature Boy. And the Gatekeeper. And You.)

  92. Well, if you start over anonymously, can you let me know where to find you? ;). Let me just say that you have an awesome 12 yr old. What a sweetheart to be proud of you! Tell those little punks to stop ruining it for all of us! Love you, Sista.

  93. Well, Option D is about the only one *I* can live with! I love love love your writing but most importantly, YOU are happy professionally. How many moms can really say that?!
    I think as parents it is our responsability to ensure that our children know what is and is not appropriate content AND to do our best to monitor their web usage. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. πŸ™‚

  94. I wonder if a “should they run for president could it be used against them” filter could help separate what you’d like to post, not post?

  95. Iris,

    In July of 2011 my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, since then our lives have been turned upside down. Some days I don’t know whether I am coming or going. He underwent a stem cell transplant in February 2012 at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the kids and I spent many, many hours at his bedside.
    It was during this time of relentless hours spent trolling the internet that I saw a post my friend shared shared on Facebook. “DIY Feminine Hygiene Tips” was the heading, of course this sparked my curiosity, who wouldn’t have to see what this article consisted of?
    I have to tell you that I laughed so loud that the nurses came in to see what was so funny, and I believe your blog now holds a spot on their board in the stem cell transplant unit. I do believe you have some faithful followers there as well.
    The whole point to this story is to share with you the epiphany that you brought to me on that day. My 13 year old daughter started crying and said Mom, I haven’t seen you laugh in a long time. You, it was you Iris, that brought me back from the underworld. From that day on I vowed to smile every day and laugh at least once (which you so often help me do).
    So I will SELFISHLY say D is my final answer. I can appreciate your predicament and completely understand if you should decide against it, I will follow you no matter where your jokes take me. You are my prozac!

    • Dear Kristen,

      First of all, sending my thoughts and prayers to you, your husband, and your kids. I can’t even imagine the toll this must be taking on you all.

      I am so deeply humbled by your comment…oh my God, your comment. It blows my mind to imagine that I may have brought someone a moment of happiness and laughter while they are in the midst of such pain and suffering.

      Knock-knock. Who’s there? PURPOSE.

      Thank you Kristen. You have given me such a gift with your words today.

      with love, blessings, and gratitude,
      Iris

  96. There would be not nearly enough fart and vagina jokes on the internet without you. Please stay.
    I agree with other commenters who say you are not responsible for censoring the internet. Your voice is a special one and it needs to be heard.

  97. Okay – I’m late to this comment party and everyone else has already said what I was going to say.

    So let me tell you this:

    My kids are almost 13 and 15. I use our family members’ names and pictures on my blog. I do not tell any current stories about THEM that might embarrass them because they’re not my stories to tell. Plus I do enough humiliating stuff on my own to have plenty of blog fodder. So. Might my kids be embarrassed BY me? Possibly. Except for this:

    I raised them to not give a crap.
    Win. Win.

  98. Oh Iris, don’t you dare change a thing, and don’t you dare leave this corner of the blogosphere. Your blogging success preceeds you! You are an icon. I’m sorry, but it’s up to parents to patrol where their children are going on the internet, and if your children’s peers are finding their way to your blog, that’s not your problem. Stick with this my sweet lady, you are definitely meant for success!

  99. D! There is no other answer but D! Plus, I’ve still not had the time to go back and read all of your hilarious archives as I’ve only been reading for the past year or so. Don’t go, we all need the comedic relief, Iris style. xoxo

  100. Would you put all these posts into a book? Knowing it would sell because you’re a hilariously insightful writer and because your fans are borderline rabid? Of course you would. There’s nothing terrible in here for the right audience.

    You would probably talk with your kids as you were getting ready to publish about heightening reality to make things funny. About how embarrassing everyone is, really. About how they get to write their own books, in their own words, whenever they want, starting right now. You’d let them read yours and then enjoy reading their reactions.

    Well, that’s what this blog is. You may always publish it on paper, too. But for now you publish a couple of pages a week. And you make what you see and do funny and real and touching. And that’s something your children might, instead of balking, aspire to.

    Especially the lady parts. Because every child hopes to grow up with the awareness to notice how vulva-like pecans can be.

  101. Definitely keep it up. Have you SEEN how many comments you get? Most of us get two or three. Maybe I should talk about my nope I will leave that arena to YOU! They will read the wrong stuff anywhere, your kids prob told them about the mastication video, and you are one of the rare few doing zactly as they should be doing. They will probably forget to keep reading anyhoo, right? RIGHT?

  102. Truth: He says they know ABOUT your blog. He didn’t say they read it. What does that mean? It means THEIR MOMS READ IT. And they share the ones that are age-appropriate. In other words, you’re golden. And if they’re reading the age-inappropriate ones themselves because their parents are Bad At Monitoring Internet Usage? NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You’re welcome, and Keep Being Awesome. <3

    • I totally agree with Emily. It’s not your job to police other people’s kids’ internet activities. You have a gift, and people love hearing your “voice” (especially with pictures to associate it with).

      And yes, I do realize we are now 16 months down the road, and this decision has already been made (thank you, “D”), but I just wanted my 2-cents noted, in case you have any more panic attacks (quite the run-on there, eh?).

      • Aw, thank you AggieRob! You are so sweet to click through to this old post and get caught up on this part of my blogging history. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a great comment, even if it is 16 months after the fact. Really appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  103. Stay on your path! Keep your authenticity. I highly doubt a bunch of 12 yr olds are going to continue any interest in a female/adult style blog. They’d be bored in 2 minutes if they even go on at all! Hey, your son is proud of you and that’s so special!! Keep up the candid writing. My 2 cents for what it’s worth.

  104. Uh, ANY chance I get to say SCREW IT…that’s what I’m going with.

    Kinda like any chance I get to say “vagina” just to see the frozen looks on faces (thanks to you), I say it.

    I love hearing about what others have going on. Maybe I’m nosy.

    And I love sharing the shit I do. Maybe I’m nuts.

    I don’t care. But I can see where someone with kids would be a little more leery than me with no kids on sharing. It would be scary.

    Just know if you go anonymous somewhere…you best clue me in. I can’t NOT have Iris in my life.

    End of discussion.

  105. I say d and F but increase on the vagina talk lol. I love your blog!

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