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.