How Honest Should We Be?

With all the soul-searching and navel-gazing I’ve been doing in relation to my blog lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of honesty. I pride myself on the fact that my blog is honest – after all, the reason I started the blog was because “Emma’s Diary” is about as far from an honest representation of a young person’s pregnancy as you can get – but how honest should I be? I try to show the raw, funny side of parenting as much as possible – and when times get tough, I’ll talk about it. Am I too honest, though? Or am I not honest enough?

There’s been a fair amount of criticism directed at ‘honest parenting bloggers’ lately, mainly centring on the fact that when they’re a little older, our kids are likely to read these blogs. Do we want them to be embarrassed of all the details we’ve posted about their nappies and their sick? Do we want them to be hurt, especially if we’ve been brutally honest about the tough bits of parenting?

There’s a reason I use strong language in my blogs. It means I have a clear-cut excuse for not letting SB read these blogs until she’s old enough – by which point, I’ll hopefully have explained to her that a) every baby poops and pukes, so it’s really nothing to be ashamed of, and b) every parent struggles sometimes because small babies need so much help, and I was just trying to help other mommies and daddies who struggle, by showing them that they are not alone.

I think I’d be setting a worse example to SB if I was to simply sugarcoat parenting; to show the occasional arts and crafts and the product reviews and none of the tough times or the funny bits that honest bloggers post. What sort of message does that send to her? “I erased half of your childhood from the blog because it doesn’t suit the impression I wanted to give”? How can I say that to my daughter?

Instead, I hope she’ll know that I have loved every second of parenting her, through the fun times and the tough times and the silly times and the times I’ve been at the end of my tether, and I’ve wanted to share that with everyone, and keep a record of it so that we can look back with her when she is older. Her entire life, from when I was twelve weeks pregnant with her onwards, is recorded in this blog – who needs baby record books, which are discarded and left to sit on a bookshelf or in a memory box without anyone looking at them, when we have a website full of pictures, important dates, amazing memories and funny stories, that she can look at whenever she wants?

Of course, I draw the line somewhere. No naked baby bum pictures is my biggest rule; even though toddler bum cheeks are absolutely adorable, they will not be appearing on here. As she grows older, there are things I won’t share. If I’m still blogging when she’s a pre-teen, I won’t be giving updates on her developments through puberty like I’ve shared her developments each month. If she tells me she wants me to stop blogging about her, I will.

Some people seem to see Honest Bloggers as some awful, uncaring monstrosities who force their children to say stupid things or be cheeky, just so that we can post about it on the blog. It’s just not true – not for me, anyway. None of what you read here has been forced or set up, that’s the whole point of being honest. We just share life as it happens – the fun and the mundane, the good and the bad.

I have been contacted by people who have been helped by the honesty of my blogs. SB enjoys being photographed, and has no idea that I’m writing about her right now – so I’ll continue. In the future, if she hates the photographs, or asks me to stop, I’ll listen to her, and we’ll stop straight away – but right now, I’m not going to start pretending that parenting is a walk in the park, for fear of something that might never happen ten years down the line.

Some people do find parenting a walk in the park, and good for them. It doesn’t change the fact that some of us find it tough, and we want to talk about that. One of the most important and effective ways of preventing postnatal depression is to keep communication going, and not to isolate yourself. By sharing our own stories of trials and tribulations in parenting, not only are we preventing our own isolation – we might just be helping others to feel a little less alone too.

Some people’s blogs find their niche in showing the lovely bits of parenting, and that’s fine – I like those blogs, I enjoy reading them when I want to read something perky. There’s a trend emerging now for the criticism of honest bloggers, calling us miserable and saying we’re insulting our children, and I don’t think that’s really fair. We love our children just as much as anyone else – we’re just a little more candid about all the ups and downs that loving them entails.

Mama Mim
Mummuddlingthrough
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17 thoughts on “How Honest Should We Be?

  1. nightwisprav3n says:

    I like that you are being an honest parent blogger. It is refreshing and helpful to know that we parents really aren’t alone. Our kids don’t come with a handbook. Well, they do – expert books that never seem to help with any child – so reading about the struggles of parenting is always helpful. I can’t really say for sure if I’m one of those parents. What I write about my kids is honest but I focus on trying to help other parents out there who have children with disabilities and I aim to give them some sort of hope. However, I also think it’s important to write about the hard times. I actually read my blog posts about my kids, to my kids. My youngest is 8 and if he has any questions he knows to ask. If he wants me to not put something in (which hasn’t happened yet), I won’t. He has ADHD while his older brother has Autism and so far, he hasn’t objected to anything I’ve written about him. On the flip side of that though, like you, there are things I don’t mention because I know that once it’s on the internet, its there forever and I do try to be respectful of my children. We parents are always walking a fine line aren’t we? Great post! Visiting from #coolmumclub

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  2. Nadia - ScandiMummy says:

    What a lovely and (honest) post. Like you I wont share naked pictures of Caspian for obvious reasons. I try and focus on the happier, upbeat moments, but that’s for my own sake more than anything. I’m scared it could affect me in a negative way if I didn’t try and find the positive in parenting, though I’m always honest whether it’s a personal post or a review and I very much appreciate reading the posts of other honest bloggers, even if they haven’t put a positive spin on it. If Caspian ever asked me to stop I would, but I hope that he’ll understand why I’m blogging and be proud of what I have achieved. Great read, thanks for sharing #coolmumclub

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

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    • The Speed Bump says:

      That’s the great thing about parent blogging, isn’t it – however you feel about parenting, you’ll always find a post that helps you make sense of your feelings, whether you need to read a post that will help you appreciate all you have, or whether you need to know you’re not alone in struggling! Thanks for commenting x

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  3. Lucy says:

    You’ve obviously put a lot of thought to this and I have definitely never read anything on here that seemed disrespectful to your daughter, which to me would be the main issue with deciding how honest to be.

    I’m one of those who reads this blog because of how honest you are – especially when I was trying to sort out my feelings about an unplanned pregnancy and every other blog seemed to be full of uncomplicatedly happy, planned pregnancies. It was so useful to know I wasn’t the only one who was a little…um…surprised by our pending new addition! I think you do a good job of walking the line

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  4. Robyn says:

    “I erased half of your childhood from the blog because it doesn’t suit the impression I wanted to give”? I think that’s the most pertinent point you made here. Writing about your life as it really is, and your daughter as she really is means that you’re embracing it all. Kids love to see pictures and hear stories about themselves, as you say this is way better than a dusty photo album. #coolmumclub

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  5. This Mum's Life says:

    I’m very much with you in the honest blogging camp. And like you, I read and enjoy the ones that are perhaps a little more generic, I don’t really want to insult them by saying ‘sugar coated’ but you know what I mean. They aren’t really for me, and I’m sure my blog wouldn’t be for them. I wouldn’t want my blog any other way. And I am going to be fully honest with my children that having them was tough, so they know a little better what to expect if they have children of their own. You are right, SB will be secure enough in the love you have shown her, not to be in the least bit upset by what you have written. Great post!
    #coolmumclub

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  6. mummuddlingthrough says:

    I think being honest is something that comes naturally to some of us – not just in blogging but in life. So why change for the purpose of your writing? Our kids will love it all I’m sure – it’s up to each person to decide what they feel comfortable publishing. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

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  7. mamamim.com says:

    Oh I couldn’t agree with you more when you talk about the sugar coating of parenting by some – I don’t waste time reading about unacheivable parenting goals or dishonesty about what to expect as a mum – give me honesty any day! Thanks so much for linking this up to #ParentingPicks Mim x

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  8. Kirsty Ho Fat says:

    As a newcomer to the parent blogging party, I wasn’t aware of the backlash at honest bloggers.

    I set up my blog to write. I find it very cathartic in times of difficulty. Mostly I’m enjoying the journey of motherhood, but I share the highs and lows rather than a skewed one sided view of fairies and unicorns.

    Struck with post natal anxiety, after writing about it, an incredible support network appeared out of nowhere. If I hadn’t written that post, I’d still, to this day be struggling through.

    On the other side, I’ve had other new mums reach out and hopefully I’ve been able to help them in some way. At the very least to let them know that it is normal to struggle with motherhood sometimes.

    I absolutely LOVE your blog, and that everything gets covered. Like you I do draw a line at certain photos, will stop if my son asks me to. But I want him to have a rounded view of everything, and not hide things from him.

    Looking forward to reading your many posts to come!

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  9. littlebug says:

    Great post, thank you for writing this. I’m really sad that there’s a backlash against ‘honest’ parent bloggers – I really don’t get why there can’t be room for all types of bloggers (although, personally, I definitely sit on the ‘honest’ side of the fence – I just find it much, much more interesting!).

    The risk of backlash from kids when they grow up is, I think, a bit silly. My mum loves to regale me of stories about what a nightmare I was when I was a baby because I cried and cried and hated sleeping and had to be entertained ALL THE TIME – but so? I think it’s hilarious and love hearing stories about how I was once so mad about being put in my cot that I shook it so hard the bottom fell out. I don’t feel any less loved or any less cared for – I know my parents love me and I’m sorry that I caused them drama (but not really – my baby stories are way more entertaining than my angelic bro hah). 😉 I’m sure one day SB will absolutely love to read all about her babyhood.

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