The other week I received an email from a blog reader about something they've noticed on this blog. This wasn't the first time I've received a message like this- they've become more frequent over the past couple of years or so- and when I opened this one up and read it, it made me take pause. The email asked me what had changed, why I no longer really shared a lot about the boys on my blog or on Instagram. I had received a similar direct message the other week when I posted a photo of toothless Henry with his swimming band- a long time reader reached out and said how nice it was to see his face, and to get a mini-update, and that it had been so long since I'd done so. Both messages are not uncommon for me to get, especially as of late, and I wanted to chat about it here today.
Sharing about the boys has been a much-discussed topic here. I've always viewed it as a fine line, and something I struggle with often. How much is too much? My boys are 3.5 and 6 now, and as time goes on I have pulled back more and more to the point where only talk about things that are going on with them here and there. I'm still taking the photos of course, but rather than sharing every little bit in a public forum, I'm keeping them for us, printing them out in albums, enjoying all of these moments together without sharing them online. That's not to say that I've taken some new stance against social media- but always a re-evaluator, I'm at a point now where I'm taking another fresh look at all of this.
Most of all, I believe their stories are not mine to tell.
I think back to my blog in the earlier days and how much content I shared about Henry- I don't regret it, but there are times where I think that if I could go back, I would have been even more careful about what I put out there. My number one job is to protect my children, and I often wonder if I did the right thing back then. If we were discussing this over lunch, in the same breath I would probably then mention how much I enjoy writing and telling our story, my story- connecting with people and sharing. But then I would also add that my desire for connection will never ever outweigh any sort of need to protect my children and their own personal stories.
As much as I love blogging and social media, it is not my kids' jobs to bring smiles to faces through my posts, make a stranger's day on Instagram with a cute anecdote or photo, or connect with anyone else. Kind of a weird thing to type out, but wouldn't you agree with that? I haven't always done this correctly with plenty of missteps along the way, but as both they and I grow, I'm learning more and more what works for us. I do believe there is a way to integrate your family into your blog and social media properly, but it takes a lot of thought and mindfulness. For instance, I know I will want to share about Olive's birth, our nursing experience (whatever it may be), and related topics. But I think the key is making it me-centric, rather than focusing on the child. And as they get older, doing the same- this is my story, so sharing my thoughts and experiences from my protective lens. The boys are pieces of everything of course, but mindfully gauging the level of inclusion is so important. As a writer or blogger this is a tricky space to navigate when you value telling your own story- your children are obviously huge parts of that- but I do believe it can be done while respecting your children's privacy.
So here are the questions I ask myself before I post anything about the boys:
Why am I posting this?
Would they mind today if I shared this with the world? Would they mind in 10, 20 years?
Would I want this, shared about me, today?
How would I feel looking back at this post about a child me, today? Or looking back on it as a teenager?
And I proceed.
So I ask you- what are your thoughts? Do you ever think to yourself as you read blogs- wow, this is a LOT about their kids? Or do you enjoy reading the details? In your own social sharing, do you choose to post about your children? How do you decide what to share?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.