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Dec 29 2009

Raising kids on a blog

(I struggled with whether or not I should post this, and took several days to get out what I needed to say without it seeming like I was making mountains out of molehills; A does that enough for the whole state, I don’t need to contribute.)
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When I first started this little writing project here four years ago, A was almost five and J about 18 months. I was blissfully anonymous and they were young. Writing about them was easier then.

And then they got older, and A’s various issues, mainly coming back to his twice-exceptionalities, got more intense. I wrote about nearly all of them, even ones I was certain I would never cover. Almost all came out, and I found so many supporters and fellow travelers on this path we never, ever expected. You don’t expect to have a gifted kid who is also (insert various learning disability/emotional issue here). Just not covered in the baby books. So finding others in similar situations was a blessing.

“If you decide to confide in others, you’ll discover you’re not alone.”

I live by this motto. I also believe that if I confide in others, they’ll discover they’re not alone. But it also comes with an increasing lack of privacy.

A few weeks ago, I was at a “OMG, it’s winter break!” playgroup/FAC (Friday Afternoon Cocktails) and someone mentioned how much she enjoyed my Facebook postings, that they always made her laugh. I grinned and said something along the lines of her discovering my Walter Mitty fantasy, being a writer. She asked if I had a blog, and I flat-out said yes. It’s on my Facebook info page, it’s not something I’m hiding, I’ve told IRL friends about it…but it still caught me by surprise.

See, some of the things I write here could easily be misinterpreted by people who know me outside of the computer screen, who know my sons in real life. While I try to be every bit as ME online and off, I’m considerably wordier and open here. I’m not about to go up to a friend and talk about giftedness. That generally doesn’t go over well. It’s like SENG’s description: “What does she have to worry about? Her kid is gifted!” I live that, plus A’s giftedness generally doesn’t show itself unless you’re sitting and talking to him. In group settings, you see the kid trying to get others to play by his rules, or freaking out over the volume of the kids (even though he’s plenty loud himself), or upset by the unfairness of groupthink.

“If you decide to confide in others, you’ll discover you’re not alone.”

I’m not going to tone down what I write here, unless my sons ask me to. I’m going to keep the level of relative anonymity I have now, unless I see the need to change. I suspect I have some lurkers who know me IRL, and that’s ok, it doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that what I write here could easily be used as gossip, which could then trickle down to the kids who know my sons. (This also goes for extended family members, too). If someone reads here and wants to talk (or chat with someone else to send my way) about twice-exceptionalities or asynchronous development or giftedness and how poorly it’s addressed in the schools, then I will bend over backwards to talk and help. But if what I write here becomes neighborhood gossip fodder, that worries/saddens/angers me. Yes, I know what I put here is Out There, for God and the whole world to see, but I do it to find I’m not alone, and help others not be alone on this confusing journey.

I know I’m not struggling with this alone; mommy blogs tend to be slammed for writing about their kids. Raising kids isn’t all sunshine and roses, I think the honesty of mommy blogs brings that front and center, and that makes people uncomfortable.

I guess this whole post can be summed up as such: I will talk openly and at length about anything I write about here, to anyone…but please don’t gossip. It can poison in hidden ways anyone it touches.

Comments

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12 comments

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  1. ella

    As someone who does not know you IRL but as someone who walks in shoes very similar to yours, I would like to thank you for your willingness to share so openly in a public forum!

  2. corrie

    I also started my blog to help other parents who feel like they might be alone in dealing with their kids issues and gifts. However, I do sometimes worry about things coming back to bite me in the butt. However, in the long run, I chose to believe the Lord will watch our backside…ultimately. And I will trust the biting will be in our best interests or the interests of others.

  3. Amy

    I also believe that honesty is the best policy, and I find that blogging in general, whether I am writing about my own problems, or life dealing with a 2e kid, that it has been wonderful to vent, and organize my feelings and find support along the way.

    I also hear what you’re saying about it potentially coming back to bite you in the butt. I have a few people that I know in person who read my blog, and sometimes I wonder……

    Anyway, I digress! Great post, thanks so much for writing it.

  4. Leanne

    I’ve had to start another blog, to really write about my kids now that they are older – my new blog is cathartic for me. My ‘old’ blog is very tame and more about me now and very uh, boring. If I didn’t love the people who visit it so much and the URL I would probably shut it down. Sad, but true.

    Good luck going forward!

  5. Theresa

    I am always asking myself, “to blog this or not to blog this?” With teenagers who need their privacy and a mom who sometimes just needs to get it out, it’s a fine line to walk…keeping it real and keeping some privacy.

  6. MoCo Mom

    This post really hit home. Thanks for this — so happy to have found your blog (via Twitter).

  7. Mama Zen

    I worry about this, too. Quite a bit, actually.

  8. melissaz

    I’ve had a few things bite me in the butt, but it all worked out in the end. I don’t think many people IRL read my blog, and that’s cool. I don’t think many people read the blog in general, but that’s not why I write it. I write it to vent and meet new people. Like you!

    🙂

  9. Missy

    Sadly, it took me every comment AND the blog to figure out what IRL meant. My brain is apparently fried.

    Glad to be back reading you after a week away! I don’t need to meet you to know we’d be buds IRL – and I understand completely what you’re saying here!

    M

  10. MoCo Mom

    Jen – just back for another read, and to get to know you better. Geez, so many similarities. I remember the times (years) of daily meltdowns (his, mine). We’ve all grown a lot in the past 8 years. Things are much better now, but I think I’ve also got my head in the sand about some stuff. It will get better for you, I truly know it will. Wish I had a lamp to help light the way for you. Can only offer a hand and an ear. And I do want you to know how much I’ve loved reading your posts (smiled, cried, lots of both).

  11. Fun Mama - deanna

    I have similar issues with privacy. I was recently told that I do overshare on my blog, which I didn’t think that I do. I think I will probably start a new blog that is private to share personal things about my daughter and only use my public blog for things that I don’t mind becoming gossip. It does weird me out sometimes when someone says, oh yeah, I read such and such on your blog, and here’s what I think about it! (Not always in a good way.) I am on the LOM yahoo group.

  12. cms8741

    I assume that my IRLs gossip — maybe that’s a strong word — talk with each other about what I write among themselves. I figure I can’t put private stuff out there and then assume that it doesn’t get talked about. BUT…that said, it’s why I changed my blog to be anonymous. What I’m not okay with is someone google searching my name or my kids’ names and then pulling up all that personal stuff. I also made the name intentionally hard to remember so that you’d really have to want to read my blog if you knew me IRL. Everyone has to choose what feels right to them.

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