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Jan 24 2011

Ethical Writer, Mommy Blogger

I think, before I start writing here, I’m going to direct you to the pretty link at the top of the page. The one that says {privacy}. If you’re in a feed reader or catching this through NetworkedBlogs, click on through. You’ll get to see all the pretty colors of the site and read my thoughts plea on privacy. Pinky promise that it won’t take you more than 31 seconds to read.

When I first started blogging, I did it as a lark. Some writing interspersed with funny quizzes and memes and this and that to take up space. As I got more serious about the writing part, however, the kitschy bits faded away and I began to hone my focus. Being a (I hate this term, but let’s call it what it sadly is) mommy blogger, especially one who writes on a certain misunderstood population, I have to walk a very fine and faded line between honesty and privacy. My mission statement for this site is “if you decide to confide in others, you’ll discover you’re not alone.” And it’s worked. Because of the bare-bones honesty, I have had so many comments, both on posts and privately, that I live in others’ heads and bring to light what they’re living or thinking or feeling. We’re not alone.

I subscribe to Christina Katz’s The Prosperous Writer newsletter, and this month’s theme of being an ethical writer got me thinking. That fine and faded line is getting difficult to navigate and I’m struggling. My biggest struggle as of late is to be an ethical writer, to be truthful about what it’s like raising children outside the norm. Heck, to raise children who not only don’t believe there is a norm, but that people who believe in the norm are boring and why bother and HEY! SQUIRREL! I want to cover up what it’s like, partly from embarrassment and partly to protect my sons. I really don’t need something else for them to discuss with a therapist in the future; trust me when I say they have plenty of topics already. And, truthfully, it’s not always sunshine and roses and rainbow-farting unicorns raising gifted kids, especially an underachieving twice-exceptional gifted kid with sensory issues and a penchant for freaking the hell out with no warning. It’s hard, frustrating, exhausting work. I know I’m not alone in this struggle, that there are so many other parents in this trench with me, but I still want to hide and pretend that everything is happy and perfect. But, for me, that’s not ethical. As difficult as it is, I must be honest about the struggle. I can find the humor in it, I can file down the more embarrassing parts, but still I must be honest.

As my sons age and become more aware of what I write here, I need to be more careful of what I write. In my mind, being an ethical writer also means protecting their privacy as much as I can. I’m already starting to do that, and I’m finding that I need to search out that fine and faded line more and more. I hope to be honest while still honoring their lives.

So I will continue to share here the celebrations and frustrations of these amazing gifted kids, and what it’s like to raise them and why it’s important that they and their parents get the support they need. That is so very important to me. But I will also, in my mind, be weighing those stories against the mom in me, and be the ethical writer I know I am to balance the two.

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  1. Super Anonymous

    I hear ‘ya. How much to censor plagues every autobiographical writer. I don’t know the answer to this either, which is why I choose to write anonymously. This backfired, though, too, because there are very many people who know who I am IRL. The good news is that you can always choose to unpublish posts so at least it’s not out there forever. Okay done rambling…for now.
    Super Anonymous recently posted…magical thinkingMy Profile

  2. Robin from Israel

    I hear you. I too have found that as my children age I write less and less about them, though in my case it’s helped along by the overwhelming focus on photography over writing that my blog has these days. Still though, I find I’m not as comfortable sharing as I was when they were younger. The issues are different, and their need for and right to privacy is higher than it was when we were worrying about potty training and if they’d ever sleep. It’s a very hard line to find, let alone walk. In the end all you can do is go with your gut.

    ———————————–
    Shades of Pink is holding a giveaway for one of my custom Photoverse prints – swing by and check it out!
    Robin from Israel recently posted…SequinsMy Profile

  3. Christine

    Christina Katz is FAB! and yes, as I tend to share my own kid stories, I am always aware of what I am saying and how. Its just something I think I’ve always been keenly aware of – if that makes sense.

  4. My Kids Mom

    I find it interesting that I’ve held back on writing about my older son (9) but I’m still putting in all the stuff about younger son (6). I suspect as he gets older I’ll slow down on him too, but for now he does more goofy stuff that I feel can be shared without humiliating him ever.

    I hope that by keeping my kids names off the computer – even FB, I’m securing a bit of privacy for them (to keep or give up themselves as teens!)
    My Kids Mom recently posted…happy pig- happy cow- happy usMy Profile

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