“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.)
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. (Thanks Kristin of What She Said for sharing Lisa Belkin’s thought provoking post with your readers!)
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?