Can moms who want to blog have it all – the freedom to write what they want, the foresight to keep their family safe and the power to connect with their readers? It's a complicated question and a complicated issue that different women approach in unique ways.
Popular mom bloggers take a variety of measures to keep their sites – and families – safe. Some use pen names in place of their real names. Others pick up cute monikers and rename their children. Some share a lot – or seem to – others keep the details vague.
A private pen
Sophia Leto, who blogs at Moody Mommy and Chicago Moms Blog, confesses that her "name" is a pen name. "I blog for myself from my perspective only. I am not speaking for my family or anyone else. ... I don't want my child to be 13 years old and have to suffer having his privacy invaded by anyone, especially cyberbullies," Leto says. "I don't think a lot of these parents realize the amount of ammunition they are giving to their child's future peers, not to mention what will happen if that child became famous and/or wanted a political career. None of these children are of age to give permission for their private lives to be on display to the world for eternity!"
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One popular food blogger, who asked not to be named, often writes about her family but uses a pen name online and keeps that fact a secret. "Since our blogs, and conversely our lives, are out on the Internet, you never know who's reading what you're putting out there. Call it one too many episodes of 'Law and Order' and 'Criminal Minds,' but I'd rather err on the side of caution. While I don't think bloggers are necessarily a targeted entity, there have been instances of unsavory things happening [such as] comments and e-mails that didn't have a necessarily friendly tone and more," she said.
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That blogger said that when she began her blog, she did so with an intention of drawing a privacy line. "I feel I can still tell a story and draw the reader in, without revealing too many ultra-personal details of our lives, and keep a proper balance and perspective. Everybody's happy." Still, she says, she worries about her children getting recognized.
Open, but not
For Christine Coppa, the situation is a little different. Before she became the voice of Storked!, she wrote a Glamour article about an ex-boyfriend who had a life-altering motocross accident. They were both featured in a documentary. Now, she blogs about her life as a single mom to an infant son. Her blog frequently features photos of her little boy. "We're always recognized. It's great and odd when people say, 'Is that JD?' and squeal about how cute he is and how much they love Glamour and the blog. But, people are also quick to approach me and say: 'Saw you in Murderball.' I'm out there."
But even Coppa keeps a clear divide. "I've always drawn a line. My life is very complex and there is a lot not spoken."
Leto says that ultimately, if you want to speak freely, anonymity is the only way to go. "There are a lot of crazies out there. I want to be able to say whatever I want to say and about whomever I want and not have to worry about personal repercussions to me or my family."