I write about my experiences as a mother without getting into specifics about my children as much as possible, but is it really possible to be a “mommy blogger” without writing about my kids?
Recently I read an article about a blogger who decided to stop writing about her kids. Completely. It caught my attention because I blog about my life with kids.
I write about my nearly-2-year-old and her just-turned-6 big sister because they take up most of my world. The stresses, happiness and physical needs of life as a mother make up, what feels like, 99.9% of my life. I’d like to say something like “my focus shifted easily towards writing about being a mother to young children,” but the truth is I fought it and continued to write about other aspects of myself, but they continually fell flat. While I am a person outside of being a mother, this is my life right now.
What I don’t want to do is abuse the funny, adorable or stressful ways they are parts of my life by writing stories that aren’t mine to share. Instead, my intention is to explore myself and my life. And I haven’t always written only about being a mother—I haven’t always been one.
I’ve written and published stories about relationships, friendships, families, eating disorders, yoga, ADHD, happiness, and just being a human being. Still, my most probing, heartfelt work—regardless of whether the subject matter was specifically parenting—has been written since becoming a mom, not because the love of my kids changed me—although it has—but because I’ve consciously committed myself to authentic, “real” writing.
I want my girls to grow up, and share, and be themselves without fear or shame. I want to be an example for them of finding joy in who we are, even if we don’t always fit in properly with societal standards; even if it’s true we are imperfect.
It’s important to me that I write carefully about my children. I don’t want to publish—even on my social media accounts—stories that would embarrass them. I try to share from my experience as their mother rather than using their own lives for my words. My stories should be my stories, even if they are inspired by these gorgeous little characters I share my life with.
I afford my husband this same respect. Although he’s a present father, I eliminate him from my stories often. I’m the one choosing to bare myself when I publish, not him, and not our two tiny kids.
But regardless of how hard I try to shield them, my kids are still in my stories. The truth as a “mommy blogger” is it’s impossible to not share at least snippets of my family, even if I fictionalize stories, without including them in some small way. What is possible is to check in with my intentions as a writer.
Why am I sharing this story? Are these 140 characters on Twitter necessary for a quick laugh? Whose expense is my joke at? Mine, or someone else’s? If my goal as a writer is to honestly explore myself and my life, and to make a career from it, then my larger goal should be to accept that my kids won’t always be small, and I won’t always have them as main characters.
I can’t always be a “mommy blogger.”
I want to be a present parent with my kids.
I want to live in the real world before I commit myself to writing about it.
But I also want to transform the ordinary difficulty and constant joy of parenting into words for others in similar situations, so we can read and feel less alone in this typically lonely experience of spending so much time with little people.
If I were to answer my own question it would be “no”—no, it isn’t possible to be a mommy blogger who doesn’t write about my kids. Because of this I need to hold myself accountable for what I choose to put out there.