I will be live on BBC Radio Scotland this week, discussing if we (mum bloggers) should stop writing about our children. This is after blogger, Christie Tate’s daughter found out that her life was online for all to see and she was embarrassed – this has resulted in Christie defending herself and refusing to stop. The story swiftly went viral, with Tate facing backlash for her “self-centred” argument and for “monetising” her daughter’s pain.
It’s a tough one, I do believe my style of blogging is a little more general and less personal than some when it comes to my kids. I admit, I have found myself cringing at parenting discussing their children’s personal lives and even more so when they use words like “dicks” or “assholes” to describe them surely we wouldn’t start a blog about an adult and use these words to talk about them, it would be seen as bullying and would probably end in some sort of conviction.
I’m not innocent though, I have done just these things. Maybe gone into too much detail and called my children out on their behaviour – Am I wrong in doing so? I don’t know…honestly. Maybe I should stop discussing my children like I own them and stop acting like they aren’t little human beings.
Mummy blogs explore diverse illustrations of motherhood away from what society deems “right” and the constant war of words about women’s roles in the home and at work. By writing about the myths of motherhood, they have created online social groups that provide solace, support, and social environments for mothers at a time of transformation and loneliness.
Mummy bloggers are praised for there honesty, the hold nothing back style of parenting that we can all relate too but at what cost? I have seen bloggers discuss the gender of a child who doesn’t even know its own name yet, potty training mishaps and relationship clashes. It may all seem innocent now, but would your child thank you for putting pictures of their poop in a potty when they can finally navigate the internet?
Last year, I decided to not show my daughter as much on my platforms as she would be starting school and I hoped that would protect her from bullying or her peers finding out more than she wanted them to know. Do I have less content to share? Yes, but I know I’m saving a lot of years of therapy that I know I couldn’t afford. We are building our trust, she won’t resent me (well, for this at least) I am extremely open about what I do with her and she is vocal with me too. She will tell me if she wants to be on camera, if she doesn’t feel like a photo and I have explained to her we have to be very careful online as there are some “bad people” out there that can do some terrible things. She tells me her secrets then adds,” don’t put that online!” I never would but this shows me that she understands what I do. I talk about things online.
Most my posts surround me and my mental health – things I have gone through and would I want my children to read them? Absolutely! I’m their mother, they know me and love me despite all my issues. I hope they can see I’m trying to normalise something that NEEDS to be discussed, that its ok to not be ok but still function as a parent/ as a person. That these feelings aren’t one offs or unique, everyone feels them, and each person needs different support and help to get through them. That if they ever need anything that they can always come to me, I am open. I am non-judging. I am their mum.
Parenting blogging isn’t new but the children of the first crowd of mummy bloggers are growing up—and some are unhappy about thoughtlessly having had their lives circulated to a fascinated audience of millions let’s not forget somethings used to earn money through paid partnerships.
The thing is though, I am writer, I am a person who shares my life experiences on my blog, including, sometimes, experiences that involve my husband and children. But I am especially mindful that, just because I am willingly embarrassing myself on the web doesn’t mean my husband/kids should be, too (they are not) my husband doesn’t like to appear on any of my platforms and has to give me the go ahead if I want to post something involving him, which I respect fully. There are some family stories I would have loved to have written about, funny, cry laughing inducing stories—but because they are not only about me, it’s not my place to share them with my readers/followers.
Though I have a deep need to write about my experiences this does not surpass the respect I have for my family.
What really has me thinking is that maybe in the next generation of teenagers and young adults we will see them sneering at their parents for the overexposure of their lives on social media – does it matter how unoffending that picture of them in the bath seems to us? Could we see court cases and accusations of damage to mental health or violations of privacy? Resentment and mistrust? Broken relationships?
Most of us are guilty of divulging pictures of our children on social media to some extent – some for money, some for Likes, some to share with friends and family.
We have a lot to think about next time we decide to share a snap of your child with the world. Is it really as innocent and as straight forward as we think?