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 and 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. I write for mature audiences. I use language and discuss content that is inappropriate for children. 

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

About The Bearded Iris

Leslie Marinelli is a writer, humorist, blogger, life hacker, and invisible vessel for grandchildren and PTA donations.
This entry was posted in behind the beard, blogging and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. Emily says:

    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

    • AggieRob says:

      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! :)

  4. Lisat says:

    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.

  5. Carrie says:

    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.

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  8. Zaakiyah says:

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

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