I am facing a dilemma. As my kids get older, they do more and more interesting stuff and new issues come up all the time. If I write about these issues, my successes and failures could help out other parents. But should I be writing about my children at all?
I just Googled “mommy blogging ethics” and several other search terms, and all that came up was stuff about how, if you get free swag, you should indicate it in your article. Nothing about whether writing about your kids is a bit exploitative, or which topics should be off-limits.
Have you seen THE BIG BANG THEORY? The main character Leonard’s mom is a psychiatrist who’s the best-selling author of books about parenting– all featuring him– and of course he and his mom have a terrible relationship and he’s embarrassed by everything she’s written about him, and he’s a neurotic adult. I don’t want to be Leonard’s mom.
Blogging is weird. There are some people who follow my blog who I don’t speak much to in real life, and then when I see them, they ask me, “Hey, how was your trip to Oregon?” or whatever, and I think, “Did I talk to this person about my trip to Oregon?” and the answer’s no, they read it on my blog. Of course! But it always throws me off.
So I’m trying to come up with a Mom Blogging Rule O’Thumb for Drawing a Line. This is my best idea thus far:
Do not post things you don’t want strangers asking you or your children about.
If I post a cute Mother’s Day card a kid wrote for me, someone might say to my kid, “Hey, I saw that cute card you wrote!” No big deal. But if I posted about how my almost-teen acted at a family dinner (which is a made-up scenario, BTW), I don’t want someone saying, “I hope you learned your lesson!” to her.
It’s different now that my kids are older. If you write about a baby or a young child, chances are a) everyone except their grandparents will forget about it within a day and b) nobody is going to ask your baby/toddler/young child about anything and c) they are mostly doing cute/harmless stuff, not shoplifting (not that my kids shoplift, but you know, things that are higher-stakes than the stuff that young kids do).
So I guess I will have to rely on my fiction to work out all my issues with everything. No wonder I don’t write memoir!