The Ethics of Mommy Blogging

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!

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

One thought on “The Ethics of Mommy Blogging

  1. ummmm. This is something I’ve thought about some. I used to write about my children and it got printed in the newspaper, Ohio’s largest newspaper. I usually wrote cutsey Erma Bombeck type essays and the kids got a kick out of them as they were exaggerated. Funny and harmless. (Plus their friends saw the articles and were impressed). You have to figure out a line and not cross it. Also, you can always use the line, my friend’s kid did thus and such. I used to say my oldest, my youngest, my middle, etc. No names ever.
    I’ve loved reading your blog. However, when we write about our lives, it’s something we all have to figure out – how much to share. Most of what I write is pretty inconsequential to anyone but me.
    Best of luck as you work out these issues. Blessings, Barb

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