One of my ongoing struggles, when it comes to blogging, is how much to write about my kids.
Even when they were small I never wrote anything I wasn't prepared for them to read, some day. I'm careful about what I say and how I say it; I'm not going to put anything here that I'm not willing to talk to them about directly when the time is right. Someday, I hope, some of my posts could provide a platform for discussions about the tougher stuff, as well as some laughs over those moments that otherwise would have drifted into oblivion, forgotten in the hustle bustle of daily life.
Recently I blogged about Greta's anxiety, our recognition that we needed to get help for her, and for us. The decision to put that out there on the internet was a tough one; I spoke to my husband about it at length, and I called a good blogging friend of mine to find out what she thought, too. It's one thing to put my own thoughts and struggles out there, it's another thing altogether to talk about my kids'.
Acknowledging that she needed help, that we needed help, was a tough thing to digest. Any time your kid is struggling with something it's hard not to take it on the chin, underwrite your parenting, flip over all the rocks of your own neuroses and wonder if what is happening to them is somehow your fault. The temptation to keep it close to the vest was huge, but in my gut I knew this was one of those topics, like recovery, that shouldn't be shame inducing (but somehow often is), is a very common problem and that many people existed out there - even within my real life community - who could help. I just needed to find them.
Every time I'm open about something, share honestly about what is going on, my life is enriched with people who understand, who offer words of comfort and advice. Talking about Greta's anxiety was no exception; the community I needed to reach found me, and their words of sympathy, advice, wisdom and support are so incredibly helpful. Thank you to everyone who emailed, called or reached out in some way. I treasure your input, and all of it helped me feel less alone, less afraid, less fragile.
Without this blog, I wouldn't have known where to begin; I could have found the right medical community, but what about our support system? I can't just start calling my friends and asking them, "oh, by the way, does your kid have anxiety? Any words of wisdom?" It turned out, though, that some good friends of mine had walked this path before me and had amazing advice and insight. Without the blog, though, the topic never would have come up.
So we made the decision to share about Greta's anxiety as we embark on this next phase, but I'm not going to keep talking about it here. We have found help, of all kinds, and feel like we're on a really good path.
All this has got me thinking about where the line is .. when do I stop talking about my kids on this blog?
At 8 1/2, Greta is getting close to that line, and my days of talking about her here, other than light or funny anecdotes, are likely numbered.
My kids have an increased awareness of the blog, and now when we snap a picture or share a moment together, one or the other will usually say, "are you going to put this on your blog, Mom?" Before I share any pictures, I ask them if it is okay. Usually they say it's okay, but if they aren't comfortable with it, I don't.
It's hard, though, because a lot of what I write about has to do with parenting in general; more than specific stories about one kid or the other, I write about my own journey in parenting - the hard parts, too. Each and every time I write about the tough stuff I have my kids' well being in the front of my mind. I always picture them reading my words - when they're old enough - and look for things that could be unnecessarily unkind or hurtful. I don't want them to read something I have written and think any pain or difficulty I go through is their fault, because it isn't. But I still want to paint an honest portrait of the trials and triumphs of parenting.
So I don't know where the line is, exactly, but I know it's coming. Like with so many other things in life, I may not know exactly where it is, but I think I'll know it when I get there. And with Greta, I'm almost there.
I'd love to hear from other bloggers out there - where is your line? Do you have one? What are your thoughts on blogging about parenting, openly and honestly, without crossing into territory that could be hurtful or misconstrued by your children either now or down the road?
And thank you, again, to everyone who commented or emailed about your own experiences with children and anxiety. I'm so very grateful for this incredible community.