For every mom who vents about her kids online, there’s another defending a child’s right to privacy. How do you strike a balance? Find out why admitting motherhood is hard might help new moms and even kids as they grow up.
Chances are you’ve read a parenting blog. You might even have one yourself. Some critics claim that mom and dad blogs violate the privacy of kids. Others insist that parenting blogs offer much-needed support when it comes to admitting that motherhood isn’t always a blissful experience.
Parents can learn much from the vulnerabilities of those who came before them.
Parenting is nothing new until you’re in the trenches
Becoming a parent is nothing new. Countless parents have tackled the ups and downs of parenting — and countless more will in the future. With that being the case, is there any real point in writing about parenting? To a parent, the answer may be yes. It doesn’t matter how many moms have done it before. When you’re a new mom or you’re experiencing new aspects of parenting, everything is fresh and often nothing short of terrifying. Writing about parenting can be a valuable and healthy outlet whether you’re struggling with sleep deprivation or you’ve just sent your firstborn off to college.
The best blogs don’t have an agenda
While the mom blogging atmosphere has shifted toward commercialism, there are still many mom blogs that offer an uncensored narrative about the experience of being a parent. From popular blogs about specific issues — such as food allergies or disabilities — to brand new blogs with a handful of followers, these stories offer various truths about parenting. A personal blog with no agenda is an incredible place to read honest takes on motherhood. From simple joys to fears to immense vulnerabilities, these moments pave the way for others and create a sense of camaraderie. For those who find any stage of motherhood challenging, reading that others felt the same way can soothe a sense of shame or failure.
Bending the cultural narrative around motherhood
Noemi is a mom who writes her own blog, and also reads other blogs. “I think the cultural narrative of new motherhood is that it’s transformative, that you become a better person, that you fall instantly in love, find your true purpose in life, love even the hard parts, cherish all the moments and are finally, completely, a woman (or that this should happen),” she says. “This is where real blogs, by women that I got to know, were immensely helpful. I didn’t love my daughter’s infanthood. I hated it, and her, and I needed so very badly to hear that this was normal. Enough women wrote that newborns were terrible that I didn’t feel so alone, or guilty, or defective because I wasn’t instantly in love.”
What about the effects of blogging on kids?
There’s no simple answer when it comes to the potential impact of blogging on children as they grow and develop. “It comes down to good judgment,” says Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist. “If your child is old enough to read or have peers and other stakeholders that may weigh in, then you may want to check in with your child on it (especially a teenager) or your spouse or others who may also be able to give you some feedback.” Dr. Durvasula recommends making your blog collaborative if your child is old enough to participate and chime in. While good judgment isn’t universal, best practices — such as not sharing a child’s full name or where she attends school — are becoming more common.