It has often struck me as odd that with a name like Mummy Barrow I don’t really feel I am a “mummy blogger”. I hate the phrase anyway. Much as I hate “working mother”. The media spit it out like it should be some kind of oxymoron. No man is ever referred to as a “working father” so why should we be singled out? I am digressing here.
I happen to be a mum and I happen to have a blog, that doesn’t make me a mummy blogger, does it? Or does it? I guess I should have thought more about that when I made my Twitter ID mummybarrow and then my blog name but back then it didn’t really occur to me that the mummy part of my name would play such a large part in defining me online (I didn’t want to use my real name), even it doesn’t define my blog. But since I started blogging I have not really blogged about being a mummy and I haven’t really blogged about my children. And that last part of the sentence is no accident.
My three children are no longer children. I am still their mum, they are still my children, technically, but at 17, 20 and 22 they are not “children”. They are young adults with their own lives, and more importantly their own rights to privacy. Something I have always been very protective about. I wouldn’t want to discuss their lives on here any more than I would like them discussing my life online.
How often have my generation joked “it’s a good job social media wasn’t around when we were growing up” when reminiscing about drunken exploits? Whilst our mates might have been aware of what happened at Dave’s party on Friday night in 1987 we were safe in the knowledge that our parents weren’t telling their mates all about it via Facebook the following morning.
And I feel the same for my kids now. It is one thing to put their own exploits on Snapchat but I think it is something else entirely for me to do it.
It actually makes me cringe when I read some blogs where people have divulged the most intimate or personal detail about their child, along with their name. Somehow, for me, that is not right. Those children are growing up knowing that every error they make in life is likely to be a blog post. That a swift Google of their name will return things that in a few years time they might rather a potential employer or partner not know about.
It is easy to think “God I would love to write about that” on all sorts of scenarios that we have faced as a family, some that I know would generate traffic or maybe even go viral as my blog about the police and social services arriving following an investigation that started in a US chat room. The notion that I have teens, I have a blog and therefore I should relay what I have learnt from being asked if a boyfriend can stay over before the poor chap has even left the house feels wrong to me. In abstract terms at a later date, yes, but not immediately.
Ditto conversations about the pill, alcohol, drugs, break-ups, exam stresses, exam results, fall outs with mates, hatred of teachers, the list of subjects I could cover is endless but it makes me feel uncomfortable to do it right now. To do it whilst my friends and subscribers know who my children are online and will know what is going on in their lives. These are their stories to tell, not mine.
I also don’t blog about the stuff that Mr B and have gone through, my thoughts on the stuff we have had to face as a couple, it’s personal and I don’t think it is right that people read about what goes on behind our front door and can then be reading about it over breakfast. That isn’t fair on Mr B, or our families.
My children have to be entitled to ask me a question and not think “I can’t ask mum that, she will blog about it”. I need them to know there is a line and that whilst I live a lot of my life on line, and ditto them with theirs, that line is very definite.
This was reinforced this weekend when I read this article from the New York Times: Why I decided to stop writing about my kids Exactly this, what this granddad said about his grandson
But I do know it is a view not necessarily shared by fellow bloggers but right now this isn’t about them, it’s about my three and us.