I have been thinking about my VBI lately. You know, my Visual Business Identity. Okay, so technically, I’m not a business. But this little blogging thing I do has become a job of sorts, and I find myself at the point of wondering if this whole thing is going anywhere. And if it is, where? And why? And how? And am I a “mommy blog“? A humor blog? A write-whatever-random-thoughts-come-into-my-head-blog? An anti-Chuck E. Cheese blog? A blog where every post would be about The Monkees if I didn’t think it would drive away 98.4% of my readers blog?
I guess you could say my blog is a bit of all of those things, but the pervading common denominator seems to be my role as a mother. Which means I am writing about my kids…a lot. On the interwebs. For anyone to see. Including them.
Some mommy and daddy bloggers worry that writing about their children will embarrass them, so they are cautious in their postings. Others freely and unabashedly complain and vent about their kids and parenthood. Some even reveal truths that only the bravest dare to make public. Again, maybe my blog is a bit of all of these things. But I can say I have thought about what it means to put my children in this spotlight, and what it will continue to mean as they grow older.
Why do I write about my kids anyway? Part of me does it because they provide me with a lot of material, and really great material at that. Write what you know. I know my kids. Part of me does it so that other moms and dads can see themselves and their children in my family, because we all like to know that sometimes “[f]or every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” (Did ya see that? That’s a little Walt Whitman I whipped out there. Check the box for “pretentiously-quoting-Transcendental-poets-to-prove-I’m-all-learned-and-qualified-to-pontificate blog.” I’m going to have one kick ass VBI.)
But mostly, I write about my kids for myself. Not only can I chronicle some of our life together (because that scrapbook in the basement has been hanging out at day three of my daughter’s life for, oh, eight years now), but writing about certain aspects of my life with my kids helps me to step outside of the moment. To evaluate what happened. To see where I went wrong. To see how I can do better. Or to remind myself that I AM doing better, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I think writing about my kids has helped me become a better mother to them. Many of the hilarious scenarios that made for great blog posts were not that funny when they actually happened. But when those moments are over, and I sit down at my computer for a little finger-therapy, they become funny. Not just to you, but to me, …which makes whatever happened okay in the long run. And despite how I felt at the time an incident was ocurring, the way my words recreate the images of my children in those moments makes me love them deeply, faults and all. I am also able to recall the way I handled the situations and evaluate my own strengths and shortcomings. More importantly, it gives me pause when new challenging situations arise. In real life, I wish I could have the clarity of mind of my blog self. What would my blog self do?
I actually asked myself that very question as I sat down to write this post. What would my blog self do? Dinner was over. The dishes were finished. My husband was starting on Michael’s bath. Grace was somewhere being quiet. I had just settled into my sweet spot.
“Mom, will you play pass with me?”
Seriously? I had spent all day running both kids to camps, going grocery shopping, getting volleyball knee pads for Grace, taking my stupid cell phone to the stupid cell phone store to find out what stupid problem was making it do stupid things, playing psychologist to the dramatic outburst over the latest pre-preteen problem, and cleaning out the refrigerator. I just wanted to write. I just wanted to tell Grace that this was my time now and that she needed to go read a book or something. But as I looked at my glowing computer screen I thought, what would my blog self do? My blog self would make some sarcastic quip about how my kids call the game of catch “pass,” which is probably more apropos since the ball usually passes by their outstretched arms, and instead slams into whatever door/wall/glass of water/computer screen/head they happen to be standing in front of. But then my blog self would make the revelation that this destructive game is only destructive to the things that don’t really matter, for it is always a time of harmony between whomever is playing it. Giggling ensues. Competition fades. Whining is completely absent.
So guess what I did? I did what my blog self would do, and I played pass with my daughter for fifteen minutes before writing this post. And we had a great little conversation. And she smiled. And I was a better mother. I was my blog self. And my blog self is amazing. I should steal her VBI.
Still, I am left with a nagging question. Blogging may make me a better mother, but how do my kids feel about me putting their lives out there for anyone to see just so I can work through my parenting demons? Am I invading their privacy? Am I embarrassing them? Neither are my intention, and I would never blog about anything deeply personal to either of them. But this is my hope for when my kids one day read about their blog selves: instead of getting angry that I told everyone what a Miss Sassafras my daughter was, or wonder why I would portray my son as a little terror able to turn shopping trips into nightmares, they will see those stories not as chances to embarrass them in order to get some laughs, but as love letters to them. They will see that even when they were at their worst, I still loved them as much as when they were at their best…and that they really weren’t that bad at all. In the blog, or out of it.
So yes, I think I will continue writing about my kids; and I think it will continue to be just fine. And even when it’s not fine, I know my blog self will make sure I get a great blog post out of it, because I am pretty sure that’s what her VBI is all about.