By Jennifer Bardsley
When I first started Teaching My Baby to Read two and a half years ago, I was a blogging newbie. My first few months of blogging, I shared pictures of my children just like every other blogger I followed. I thought this was safe, because I had changed my children’s names.
Then, something happened that made me rethink everything I knew about mommy blogs.
The one and only week I ever posted on a certain unmentioned parenting forum, another poster viciously attacked me. I still don’t know what his/her problem was, but it was ugly. Really, really awful things were said about me personally, and the moderators did not step up in time.
That was my first introduction to total strangers hating on me online, and it was enough to make me seriously reconsider what I was sharing about myself and my children.
The first thing I did was I stopped showing my children’s faces on my blog. I’d include a hand, foot, or elbow, but never a full image.
Once my I Brake for Moms column in The Herald started, I decided to pull back further. Now that I’m sharing anecdotes about my children with all of Snohomish County every Sunday morning, I feel the need to be extra careful about my children’s privacy. I have my husband double-check what I write each week to make sure my children won’t hate me later when they’re grown adults. I’ve also stopped including our address in school directories.
The biggest change is that I no longer share any pictures of my children on Facebook. I don’t even mention them by their true names. But I do send out a traditional Christmas card every year to family and friends, which includes a family picture.
Other moms make different choices than I, and I don’t judge them whatsoever.
We are parenting in a brave new world. The line between public and private is getting blurred, and Facebook keeps changing the rules on us. Twenty years from now, none of us know what our own children will think about any of this.
What I do know is that one more hit, one more post and the elusive chance of a page going viral, isn’t worth risking my children’s esteem and affection.
So blog readers? You’ll just have to trust me on this one. My kids are super cute, even though you won’t being seeing their pictures.