Mommy Blogging: On Creating Personal Boundaries Before Creating a Personal Blog

In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion amongst mom and dad bloggers about posting pictures and possibly embarrassing stories of their children. Two “mommy bloggers” that I really respect and appreciate had interesting perspectives to share – Jessica Gottlieb and Scary Mommy – so make sure to check out their thoughts on this subject as well.

If you read through the content of this blog, you can probably guess where I stand on this topic. I have a couple of policies and boundaries that I created for myself and my family before I published my very first post in August 2009:

  • I do not use the real names of my toddler, my husband, or any other family member. I have 2 reasons for that. I value and respect their privacy and none of them have given me permission to use their names.
  • I do not post face-forward pictures for the exact same reasons.
  • I do not write about them very often and, when I do, I make sure that it’s not about something that will come back to haunt or embarrass them later. Or, at least, I don’t think it will.
  • My family has the power to veto a post.

Ain’t Yo Mama’s Blog is a blog about parenting. I identity myself as a mommy who blogs. I blog about parenting, family, and relationships but I also blog about national and global issues that I believe affect us as parents and families. Having a platform to write about topics that speak to me has been an incredible and valuable outlet. However, it’s also been a great exercise in self-restraint and censorship.

Just like nearly any other mother, I love talking about my kid and regaling tales of his funny, smart, and clever expressions and antics. I love sharing pictures of his perfect gorgeous face, impish smile, and beautiful blond curls. He is the most amazing and beautiful person I have ever met and, as much as I would love to share him with the world…I won’t. My Monkey has not asked to be shared with the world and it is not my right, even as his mother, to allow it without his permission.

There are boundaries for me when it comes to talking about my loved ones and the line that I have drawn comes down to these questions:

  • Am I exploiting my child or my family to increase blog hits and gain readership?
  • What are my motives for blogging about a personal situation or story?
  • What are the potentially negative implications that may arise from this personal post?
  • Do I feel comfortable enough with this post to publish it?

There are no easy answers to these complicated questions. However, before I hit the “publish” button on any personal blog post, I have to question my reasons and possible consequences. If I can’t answer these questions with a positive and constructive answer, I hit “delete.”

Sure, there is a good chance that I am being paranoid and/or over-protective, but I would much rather be too protective than throw caution to the wind in a foreign environment. No other generation has grown up in the public eye like the children of mom and dad bloggers. No one knows the long-term issues that may arise from the public family scrapbook. As more and more parents publicly share personal pictures and stories, we can only hope that it will be a positive experience for both the parents and the child. I am not very optimistic that it will be, but I hope to one day be convinced otherwise.

Do I think other mom and dad bloggers who post pictures and names of their children are wrong? No, I don’t. Do I think parents who share potentially embarrassing stories of their children or family are wrong? Absolutely not. It’s just not right for me and my family. It’s good to know where you stand before you publish a blog. It’s important to have a good idea about your boundaries and the boundaries of your family. They may change over time, if your personal convictions allow for it, so it’s a good practice to regularly ask yourself these questions. And, ultimately, it all comes down to this: when in doubt, delete.

Thoughts? Would love to hear them.