To Mommy-blog or Not to Mommy-blog

MC over in Freemont sums a question writing moms get a lot: How do you feel about writing stories that involve your kids?  Is that territory you would avoid or embrace?

I’ll take “avoid” for five hundred. Parents exist to meet their child’s needs, not the other way around.

(And I would change my title here to “Parent-blog,” more accurately reflecting the growing number of dads getting into the biz. Except that far more people Google “mom blog” than “dad,” and I am trying to build constituents. Keep my crass exploitation methods in mind as I wax more-functional-than-thou.)

  • I do understand, personally and deeply, how childbirth and parenting change people at their core, and how writers need to express those feelings.
  • I also understand the force  zeitgeist plays n scoring a book deal.

I bullet these points to underscore how clearly I get that blogging about my kids (who are cuter and funnier and more brilliant than yours; I’m sorry but that’s just the truth) would be personally and professional beneficial. But these are not things we’ve created.

These are our children.

Children do not have the maturity to understand what it means to be written about. I’m talking sheer brain development, here. Not to be ignored: they (rightfully) depend on parents for survival. Until they are significantly autonomous, it is ludicrous to think that we could ask them for permission and have them do anything except try to please us.

And that’s for the parents who think to ask. It is my experience the most parents still don’t understand that children are not around for  parents to appropriate for their own benefit.

Let’s take the seminal in the field, Anne Lamont’s Operating Instructions. Well written without a doubt, great to read if you are a new parent—helping others! Good! Right?

Not for your child.

So what is so all-fire wrong about sharing darling stories about our freakishly adorable young? Let me have it, right in the comments.

Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

4 thoughts on “To Mommy-blog or Not to Mommy-blog”

  1. Yep… I’ll comment!

    I just saw a link to this blog on Madrona Moms, and since I have a blog as well about parenting, I’ve got my opinions… I do write about my kids. I write about them all the time. I don’t very often write cute stories about them because they are 19, 17, and 13, but I do include memories in my writings. They (my kids) weave their way through my thoughts, dreams, writing, eating and just about everything else I do. I actually think that once one is a parent, and particularly a mother, one is forever changed by that fact and since our daily lives are wound up with the joys and sorrows of parenting, we cannot separate ourselves out from that. I would even go so far as to say that if I explicitly avoid writing about my children, my voice will be “less than”, because it tears a large hole in the fabric of what informs my writing. If I don’t write “about” them, they are still there. No matter what the topic.

    That said, I have gotten into trouble with my kids for writing about them. “I can’t believe you wrote that in your blog, Mom! And yes, I’ve had to apologize for being insensitive.

    Here’s what underlies my thinking about writing honestly about my experience of parenting… We write to connect with other people and to share our vision, but we must ultimately write for ourselves or no one else will be interested. I have to write from my heart, whatever is there for it to be any good. At that point, I make a choice whether to include it in my blog or not. But it has to start from an authentic expression of my own experience of being a human being or its just a bunch of words (and that most definitely means my experience of being a mother).

    My blog is also on WordPress… Its called “What do you do?” The Question that Makes Stay-At-Home Moms Squirm.
    http://camelliablossoms.wordpress.com/

    1. Hi, Camille,

      Thank you so much for your well-stated and fully resonant reply. I have been hoping for responses such as yours, and propose that we engage, blog-to-blog (rather than pistols at dawn). We could post the conversation both blogs. What say ye?

      I will start with this interesting morsel: “I have gotten into trouble with my kids for writing about them. ‘I can’t believe you wrote that in your blog, Mom!’ And yes, I’ve had to apologize for being insensitive.”

      My immediate question is: Did you take down the posts?

  2. Hmmm, while I agree with your point about children being autonomous beings, I wonder if that really equates to you needing to get their permission to write about them or really equals some kind of exploitation. What about creative license? i assume that you aren’t going to write complete straight reporting nonfiction here, right, even as fascinating, funny, and brilliant your kids are. You are going to take their little nugget of golden humor or truth, or both, and grind it up and whip it into a fabulous story-dish, with some delicious embellishment.

    or am I wring about this? If every time you write a story involving: your ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, a current lover, a favorite teacher, some smelly dude at the bus stop, the goldfish in the local pet shop . . . are you really going to need their permission?

    what am I missing here?

    anyone?

    anyone?

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