When I started blogging in 2006 the medium wasn’t new but it was still relatively newish. People were writing and sharing stories - working with brands and being “sponsored” weren’t a thing.
Twitter hadn’t even been invented yet.
I started writing because I wanted to share the good and not-so-good experiences about parenting.
How original, right? *rolls eyes*
At the time I was the parent of a small child and a toddler. Their stories were my stories….or so I thought. Now, nine years later that blog I started in 2006 is defunct, my kids are older, and it’s not necessarily that I’ve gotten wiser but that I learned a few harsh realities along the way, much akin to getting hit in the face with a ham.
Before you start a blog - or if you’re blogging about your kids right now - here’s a little food for thought from someone who's been there:
When I first began I was getting 75 page views per day (and 72 of those were me checking to see if anyone had visited my blog) and I used my children’s real names. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me when they were five and two. Fast forward five years and it was a big deal. I didn’t like the idea of total strangers knowing my kids’ names. It took a very long time for me to go back and remove their names from every blog post.
I once posted what I thought of a cute photo of my older son wearing a pair of pajamas that were three sizes too small. I thought it was a good idea, that is until I looked at my blog stats and saw that someone had gotten to my blog, and that photo, by using the Google search terms “Little boys in tight pajamas”
I removed the photo immediately.
That brings me to this…. you may know some of the people who visit your blog, but you don’t know all of them. Remember that you are giving personal information and posting photos of your kids for everyone to see. You’re giving information you would never tell a stranger on the street and yet you’re posting it for thousands of strangers to view online. Think about that for a minute.
Those photos you posted that you think are cute? The ones of your kids running around naked or having a meltdown in a store, or any of the hundreds of moments that happen each day that we all feel the need to document? Trust me when I say you teenage son or daughter won’t think they’re cute. At all.
I know you think these are stories for you to tell, I thought it for a long time too. But writing about the things your child does or what happened to him/her means those stories belong to them. It’s one thing to share a funny anecdote among friends where it will stay in that circle and not go any further; it’s a completely different kettle of fish when you put it on the internet for the whole world to see.
Once I wrapped my head around the fact that my sons’ stories weren’t mine to tell I fell into the trap of writing a story, then having them read it and asking if it was okay for me to publish it.
Don’t fall into that trap because:
a) You’re leaving an adult decision up to a child.
b) The truth is your young child has no idea the ramifications of how it will affect their lives in the future having all of these stories on the internet. Nor do you.
You wouldn't ask your child to weigh in on how you should mortgage your house or if you should stay at your current job or relocate to a new one. Don't leave adult decisions that have adult consequences in the hands of a child.
So now you might be thinking I’m completely wrong and you have every right to share your children’s stories. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, SHARON?
As a mom of two boys who are now older and able to Google and read everything I write, all I'm asking you to do is stop and think about this for a moment. Your young child is going to eventually get older. What if he (or she) decides to start their own blog that documents your stories? Like the day you freaked out at your kids in the middle of the grocery store, or how they overheard you talking about how you hate your neighbour, or, you know, that one night you went out with a few girlfriends and came home having maybe one too many glasses of wine?
Think about what it would feel like to Google yourself and come across that story?
Then think about that every time you sit down to write about your kids.
RELATED: 10 Secrets of Successful Bloggers