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Blogging with the Mother Hen

Blogging isn’t easy. Blogging consistently for 5 years is a feat of nature. Lately I’ve been silenced.

For most of the time, I’ve written fairly anonymously. I use my real first name, but I’ve given my children pseudonyms to protect them from some job interview, application or future situation in which they rather not have the story about the one time they shoved PBJs in my VCR or tried to flush hot wheels and Power Miners down the toilet while playing tsunami in the bathroom. (Ew. just ew.)

And writing behind that veil is pretty easy. But my professional careers are to the point that they require actual contracts, real contact information, and the veil of anonymity doesn’t cut it professionally.

And suddenly, the content of my blog feels heavy. I am much more cautious about what I may expose about my sons if it can be associated with their real identities. My archives have been stripped of certain posts. I spent days thinking about this, and even caught myself pacing in my kitchen about this decision. I have always been very forthcoming with our boys’ stories. There is a great need for parents to choose to be advocates for the causes near and dear to them. However, I strongly believe those stories can be told by my son when he is ready to share them, if he chooses to share them. And while I am willing to advocate for the causes near and dear to us, I will not do so at any expense for his future.

But I spent a good time in reflection about the audience I am losing. The moms who are aching, feel alone and isolated. I get several emails a year that spill out hauntingly beautiful, aching stories of love, loss, and miracles. Packing up those posts removes the stories that bring them to Life with my 3 Boybarians. I will miss those connections.

In the end, the mother-hen inside me – the one who loves her kids so fiercely she sometimes thinks her heart may burst – that mom had a decision to make. And I will always fight for the best end result for my boys, even if the pay off isn’t for years and years.

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How do you protect the ones you love on your blog? Do you blog with a pseudonym? Do you use your child(ren)’s names? I’d love to hear what influences your decision and comfort level with your kids’ information online.

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Comments

  1. I use our first initials but I use my name when I comment on people’s blogs
    .-= Tammy´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Baby Boy! =-.

  2. Darcy – you really are a thoughtful mother and a ‘mother hen’ to all us newbie bloggers as well. I appreciate your desire to help others be successful. I noticed that about you way back and I’ve made major decisions according to your advice.

    My hubby’s a minister and has always asked the kids permission before sharing personal stories. Our older kids have found that endearing and seem to not be scarred by the spotlight. I think that same regard is gracious from us ‘blogger moms’ – especially you FAMOUS ones. :)

    As far as nick names – we have 11 kids – I have a hard enough time getting their real names straight. I’ve chosen a first name basis on the blog without mentioning the exact city we live in. It works for me. I also don’t post links to my kids blogs for obvious reasons.

    BTW – I’m loving this blogging experience – thanks to YOU!
    .-= Debi´s last blog ..About those Mountains … =-.

  3. There’s been a lot of chatter on this topic recently. I use my real name, but have nicknames for my husband and my daughter. I have the same solid reasons behind that as everyone else.

    I think we have to walk a fine line between owning our stories and protecting others. These are OUR stories to tell. As long as you’re not hurting or exploiting someone else in any way, I think it’s important to keep your voice if you desire that.

    I understand the bloggers who shutter up, or want to crawl back into their hole after laying themselves bare in a post, but I hate to think about all the stories we’re missing because of fear or over-caution.
    .-= laura @ hollywood housewife´s last blog ..this is a production designer =-.

  4. Thanks for these thoughts. Since I have no stories from my childhood, I always thought that our kids would appreciate the moments we’ve jotted down on the blog. I am now reflecting on the opposite side. We started our blog for our family and friends because we moved to China. It was our way of staying connected. Back in 2004, blogging wasn’t anything like it is today. So, yes, we used our names and where we live in China. My purpose for blogging is to record our memories and to not feel so isolated from those who love us the most. That said, somehow we’ve acquired some readership. I have no clue why. So, I’m thinking about making our blog private, but I do feel sad to lose the connection that the blogging world has become.
    .-= on the eastern journey´s last blog ..Sianna, this is home! =-.

  5. My 18-year-old son and I were digging back in my archives laughing at some old stuff last night, and I found 2006 posts with names. I really thought I’d cleaned all that up, but looks like I have some editing to do.
    .-= Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home´s last blog ..What It Truly Means to Teach =-.

  6. I have been reading through the posts in my in box – I’d like to encourage the bloggers to find a way to keep their activities on line and public. We recently moved to a town where there appears to be no homeschoolers, no Christian moms, and no children. Fear keeps everyone inside and away from the “tourists” at the beach. I set up our blog so that anyone in our situation looking for fellowship will be able to find it, and to share how we homeschool/unschool middle school.
    In Real Life, This week I lost my wallet in a public area, and my son left the keys to the car in the lock of the trunk when he retrieved our crabbing gear. Inside were our bags, purse, bills, etc. A couple from a town an hour away turned in our wallet with the change still in it, and no one touched our car. This happened while reading these posts, and giggling at how easy it is for someone who WANTS to, to get our identification, in our mail box, in the phone book, in conversation at the store, following you home, etc.
    I am all for keeping business and personal separate, I think that is is a different matter with websites – but here – in the blogging, sharing encouraging world – I have only seen joy – and never heard of bad experiences – other than an overzealous reader.
    In conversation In Real Life or on line, it is a good practice to not think/say/do anything that you wouldn’t want plastered on the 5pm local news. I’ve actually learned that lesson in real life. Keep the cute embarrassingly funny stories to share in emails to the family, but even in an email, it can become an online forward sensation quickly.
    I encourage you to not let the online mom blog community be so sanitary that we discourage others to join us! Shutting out those who will “never be like them”. Honest. Real. Life.
    The theme of hurting the family business, I understand, and the theme of not leading someone to your front door with a handful of personal information, I understand. First Names, General Areas, Nick Names.
    But take a trip to your local library – and look through the books that are published. No nick names, no generalities, unless it is fiction. The Sketch book that I am reading has the sketches from her children, and has the address to contact her in the book. The Math book I am reading has his contact information and picture and children’s names. The Newspaper articles I read have names, at least first, and contact @ info.com type communication.
    I ask you to look at the fear issue. Really look into it. Who are you afraid of? What will they do? What has God called us to do ? Go and make disciples of all men. How do we do that, if we are unwilling to share how we follow Christ?
    If the 40 great blogs who tagged on to this post disappeared into the private sector – it would be a great loss. And remember, it only takes one crazy aunt pearl to forward something you typed, and it is no longer private. :)
    I have REALLY enjoyed reading all of your attached blogs here. :) Great writers! Please don’t disappear!
    .-= Angie/Pebblekeeper´s last blog ..Walking on Water =-.

  7. This is wonderful and has really gotten me thinking. I recently got married and am seeing my little craft blog turn into more of a home blog. I have recently felt torn even at the amount of public information I was sharing with people on facebook (and those are people I know, not bloggy land people). I want to still speak about me and my husband and one day future children, but I can in a way that I do not use their names or too much public info. I am so glad I am thinking about this now before I have children. I am not sure I have the time or energy to go back and change my husband’s name and I am not ready to delete posts…but I am able to know I can protect my children’s future privacy. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is hard to protect yourself over the internet these days, but just because things change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be careful.

  8. There is zero privacy, anywhere, anymore–whether you write online or just live life! It’s why I no longer worry about the fine points of pseudonyms, etc. It’s probably smarter to take ownership of our public identities. Protect our images by being proactive. Preserve family moments by sharing only what we would want in the newspaper if we were suddenly the object of attention…or had a child one day running for President.
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..How To Calm Down When Someone Paints On The Dining Room Table =-.

    • “It’s probably smarter to take ownership of our public identities.”
      That’s a really interesting point Meredith. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. It’s interesting though. Thanks!

      I’ve struggled with the whole online identity thing because I started writing online over 14 years ago, using my real name, when the internet was still safe. Or at least when computers were no attraction to creepy people. Nerds have better things to do. ; ) lol I’ve often said that had I known what it would grow into, I would have picked a pseudo name and never looked back. I still debate if disappearing “completely” might not be a good thing.

      Over the years I’ve had people call me out of the blue and send letters and packages – after finding my info online. They’ve all been sweet people, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it. As the world keeps getting smaller, I have wondered more than once when someone will show up on my doorstep. And if I even want that.

      Good questions. Thanks for the discussion Darcy. : )
      .-= Janel Messenger´s last blog ..WP & Commenting Issues =-.

  9. Hmmmm. . . .I guess I’m in the minority here. I started off trying to be anonymous and then my son was born and was so incredibly sick and I wanted the world to pray for him–not just some unknown baby, but CHARLIE. I’ve heard others express this sentiment as well. AFter that, it seemed silly to try to keep my name a secret. LIke someone else said, I don’t really like cutesy nicknames–if you’re going to go that route than just make something else.

    My son’s health is what my blog is about. About raising him and dealing with his health on a day to day basis. To remove that information would literally make my blog about nothing at all. I think of my blog as a beacon to other parents–I life preserver when you feel like there isn’t one. Without that element, I don’t think I’d bother to do this. . . who knows? That said, my son’s health issues are so severe that I doubt seriously anyone could meet him and not know that they exist–I’m not sharing something that COULD be kept private.

    I guess my final thought is that I think the idea of anonymity is really a farce–people find out. Things are known. If not on the internet then at the supermarket, where your husband works, or within circles of people you hang out with. If you interact with others in any way then you’re exposing yourself to potential issues.
    .-= Katy´s last blog ..Good Things =-.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you’re new to this discussion, please read: Blogging with the Mother Hen – the first post. Especially read the amazing, thoughtful comments. The real gems are [...]

  2. [...] for PERSEC or Personal Security, I read two posts a few weeks ago, written by Darcy at My 3 Boybarians, where she spoke about blogging and [...]