I Won’t Blog About You

posted in: Expectations | 66

laptop blog“…and then you’re going to blog about it.”

That phrase, said by a friend of mine, was preceded by a joke about my daughter thinking the entirety of an empty pitcher of beer had been consumed by only me at our church’s Oktoberfest this past weekend. For the record, I did not consume the entire pitcher of beer by myself. I only had one-third of it…and one-third of another…and another. Um, so technically, yeah. I had a whole pitcher of beer. But not THAT SPECIFIC whole pitcher. Hey, it only makes sense. I had a third each to celebrate my German roots, my Irish roots, and my Catholic roots. All my roots like to drink.

Yet, I digress.

I laughed along with everyone else about the idea of me using the situation for blog fodder, because that’s what I do. Use my life for blog fodder. But the phrase, “and then you’re going to blog about it,” is much more loaded than anyone who heard it probably realized.

I do think long and hard about what ends up on this blog. I have scrapped ideas for all kinds of reasons: it’s something too personal; it might be embarrassing for someone; it’s not my story to tell; I haven’t had time to be anything but reactionary about an issue; or I realize there is no way you guys want to read one more post about the freakin’ Monkees.

Most importantly, I don’t want the people I know, people who share their lives with me, to ever recognize themselves in my corner of the internet and not like what I have to say about them.

There are parenting and life issues that present themselves to me on a daily basis that I know would resonate with many if I wrote about them. I see those issues being written about by others all over the place: what happens when your child is hanging out with a bad influence…how to navigate your relationship with other parents…how to handle your child feeling left out…dealing with the illness of a loved one…being the target of poor sportmanship…sorting out family issues. And sometimes they are written about in such detail that I can’t help but wonder how the people on the other side of those blogs feel. Because you know if they saw it, they would know it was them being written about. What do they think when they see themselves criticized or patronized or demonized for all the world to see? Or when something they confided in a friend is suddenly public knowledge? Awk.ward.

I already walk a fine line with what I share about my children, which becomes less and less as they get older. So there is no way I want my friends and family and people I interact with on a daily basis to constantly have to second guess what they say to me, or how they act around me, or fear the way their children treat mine lest they receive a blog lashing from this scorned mama bear with a laptop. It’s just not going to happen here.

So to all those I know, rest easy. If I think you’re a jackleg, I will do the acceptable thing and just complain about you to my husband and mom and maybe a few close friends…who don’t have blogs. I will save my public outrage for earthquakes, toy fads, annoying kid shows, smug contributors to newspaper columns, Fifty Shades of Grey, ruined Target shopping trips, pointless mommy wars, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, irresponsibly bad journalism, and of course, my nemesis, Chuck E. Cheese.

Nor will I blog about you if you drink an entire pitcher of beer by yourself. Because, you know, people in glass houses…should probably space it out over a couple of pitchers since everyone can see every damn thing you do.

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66 Responses

  1. mommydoesyoga

    A good read considering that I’ve just started my blog and still have much to learn. It’s tough because family usually make for the best writing material!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      So true! And I am not saying I never write about those I know. But if I do, I get permission or do so in a favorable light. I just never want to do that whole “I know a person who…” thing in order to have a good post for myself, but leaves that person thinking, “hey, I think she might be talking about me.” My friends and family read this blog…and even if they didn’t, it’s not fair for me to use them as material in a negative way when they are just living life.

  2. Sincerely Kate

    Though I do bring my little guy up on my blog from time to time, it’s usually either a small update (e.g. how much he loves this time of year and keeps talking about riding in a sugar beet truck), or something big that happened (like his dental ordeal) where I need to update friends and family anyway, and it’s easier for me to write it once than talk about it repeatedly. I am never going to write about how annoyed he or any of my family has made me, or what things people I know (whether they know I blog or not) have done to piss me off. I am not a fan of confrontation, and would rather err on the side of caution. I can appreciate you not wanting to air such personal dirty laundry, and I completely understand your reasons behind it!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Thanks! We bloggers are always walking a tricky line between wanting to be honest and genuine, and knowing when something is oversharing. It sounds like you have set great parameters for yourself and your writing. Everyone loves great stories about kids, and I have certainly shared a lot about mine. But I always ask myself how they will feel about a post if they ever read it. So far, I think I have done okay. And now that my daughter is older, I even ask her if I can include her story in my blog. It’s only fair, because it’s her life…not just mine.

      • Sincerely Kate

        That’s a great question to ask yourself, and I think more parents need to think about how their children will feel if/when they stumble upon their posts. and if their child is old enough ask what is and isn’t okay– I think it’s admirable you do that instead of assuming anything!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      You know, you might be surprised. There were a lot of friends reading my blog without me knowing it for a long time. But even if they didn’t, it’s still probably a good rule to follow.

  3. Grief Happens

    Great post. Part of this is why I started writing fiction, something I never dreamed I’d enjoy. I love taking an idea from real-life and turning it into a fictional scene with fictional characters. I also keep an anonymous blog, where I probably go too far at times since nothing is ever truly private on the Internet, plus it’s hard to remember which details and names I’ve changed, so I still do my best to be respectful. It’s a hard balance to strike. I love reading your blog and think you do an amazing job!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! And I think having an anonymous blog is so smart in so many ways. I have often wondered if I could back and start it over, if I would do this whole thing differently. But it is what it is now. And yes…fiction is a great way to use your personal experiences more freely!!! I will have to consider that 🙂

  4. joegergen

    I’ve so heard this from people. All that good material. Sometimes I write it to get it out of my head but then delete it.

  5. rachealizations

    I had a similar experience with vodka once…no one can prove my participation added up to an entire bottle! I might have considered blogging about it, but my fingers don’t work when I’ve had vodka. Plus I have trouble remembering the alphabet, so…. Great post! 🙂

  6. Twindaddy

    I’m debating whether or not to lose my alias. The downside to that is I have to REALLY be careful what I say and who I say it about.

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      I just commented to someone else that having an anonymous blog is so smart for so many reasons. But I also understand not using an alias. And you’re right, losing the alias will mean you might have to give up some creative freedom. Somehow I think you will continue to rock it either way.

  7. Joyce Poggi Hager

    Occasionally, husband and daughters have said to me, “You’re not going to blog about this, are you?” If they’re mentioned in a post, I have them review it first. I’ve made changes based on their input. If they disapprove, it doesn’t get published.

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      I have heard the same question at my house 🙂 Those are great guidelines to give yourself. There’s no reason to upset your family over a silly blog post.

  8. jeandayfriday

    Love this post! Every time something happens funny, silly, etc. in my house, my dudes shout, “Don’t put this on your blog!” But, I sometimes do. 😉

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Well, hey…sometimes you have to 🙂 I always just make sure to really ask myself if it something that would upset or embarrass my kids down the line.

  9. Anna Lea West

    I’m actually astonished at how often people say, “You should blog about this” or “This is blog-worthy!” Around 10 times out of 10, what they’re referring to isn’t even worth a sentence in a blog … yet they think an entire blog post can be fashioned around it. It makes me shake my head, Kelly!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Maybe you should say, “Hey, why don’t you work something up for me?” Then they will realize just how hard it is to write an entire post about that funny thing Jim in Accounting said at lunch yesterday. And they will also have a whole new appreciation for our skill and talent. We shall be dubbed geniuses, surely. 🙂

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Oh and for some reason, you saying it makes you shake your head made me think about your shake weight post and I started just laughing aloud in my empty house.

      • Anna Lea West

        Haha!!! Oh the Shake Weight 🙂 And WORD re: Jim saying one funny thing leading these ill-thoughtout commenters to finally realize our GENIUS.

  10. KezUnprepared

    Yes yes yes yes! This resonates with me so much. I think we’re on the same wavelength 🙂 Like, every word of this post. Thanks for saying it so well x

  11. talesfromthemotherland

    It is not at all uncommon in my house to hear: “This is off the record; no blogging!” “You can’t use this.” And of course, my friends say: “Are you going to blog about this?” I scrap a lot, but I’m also write with limited filters… so I think very carefully about what I do put out there. As you know, my kids are much older and they have been very clear about what I can and can’t use regarding their lives and images… it’s an interesting line to walk. Nice post, Kelly!

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Thanks! I just have this fear that if I’m not careful, I’ll be the one who makes everyone stop talking when she walks into a room. As important as my blog is to me, my real life relationships are more so. I love that you have clear boundaries with your kids, which is something I am learning to form, especially with my oldest.

      • talesfromthemotherland

        It took years, and years… and most of those years, there was no blog. But once I started writing, my kids were fairly direct with me (particularly my daughter, the oldest). “My older son tells his sibs: let her write what she wants; it’s her right to share her/our lives. And then when she’s famous, we can write a tell-all book and make millions!” He’s always thinking ahead. 😉

  12. Kathy C.

    I do hang in your circles and I hadn’t noticed the empty pitcher of beer on Saturday I just noticed a bunch of fun moms well basically having fun! I love your blog and I think you navigate all the sensitive and close to home topics with much grace (no pun intended)! And you can blog about me anytime because I never remember what I say so I wouldn’t know if it was about me anyway!

  13. NotAPunkRocker

    I accidentally outed myself/real name on my blog. Now people call me one or the other, I don’t care.

    Work knows about my blog. Unfortunately. So I am careful about what I say. Not that I said anything wrong or broke any rules, but I don’t want it coming up in conversation (what they read and accidentally learn about my personal life is their issue, however; be careful what you look for). If they read from time to time, IDK.

    Matt knows that I write about him. He has no interest in reading any of it, though he knows the address and that he is welcome to chime in on or offline whenever he wants. His name is also generic enough that I never thought too much about using it (which he is also aware of and Ok with).

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Exactly. I obviously don’t mind people knowing things about me, and I can choose what I put out there about myself and my kids. I guess I have just been reading several posts lately talking in detail about things like bad playdates, or children’s interactions with other students, etc that are just so detailed, it makes me uncomfortable. And I don’t even know these people. I guess I just always struggle with the ethical questions of what’s on the table for me to write about and what’s not. And I prefer to err on the side of caution to protect the relationships in my life. I have obviously written about my family and some friends, but I think intent is the big subject here. I never want to “anonymously complain” about someone in my life on my blog and have them recognize it.

  14. The Waiting

    And this is why you are a classy lady, Kelly. I was just talking to someone yesterday about how blurred the lines can get when you blog about your life. What’s more valuable: clicks and hits or real-life relationships? Unfortunately it seems like many people are comfortable with sacrificing the privacy of their families and friends for Internet fame.

  15. rlwyattcali

    Just make a note of it and tuck it away then you can be like me and write about everything in the ancient past. The only one I really need to worry about is my wife because I’m creeping up in my chronological tale on a couple I think she might kill me for. If all of a sudden you don’t see a Sunday story from me, please notify the authorities – something is afoul.

  16. ginjuh

    Man, people are so opinionated about what we shouldn’t put in our blogs. Bees wax, people. Mind your own.

  17. mindfulmagpie

    I was just thinking about this very thing. Because of my job I don’t use my real name on the blog,(though I will give it out to readers if they ask) bc I don’t want my clients to find me and read my not so private thoughts which would lead us into dual relationship territory. But even so I watch what I put out there. Not just bc of client issues, but bc I’ll probably post it to Facebook. Do I want everyone I am friends with on Facebook to know what parenting problems I have had, or that I need to clean out my sock drawer? I think not. Great post.

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      Ha! I know the feeling. And I’m not so sure THAT many people read my blog…it’s just that more and more people I KNOW are reading it. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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