I Hope You Don't Mind (I Hope You Don't Mind) That I Put Down in Words...

Archer. Overexposed?

Over the weekend I posted over at Straight From the Bottle about a dream I had. About Nicole Richie naming her son Archer and how much that scared me. It was one of those dreams that take a moment or a day or a week before you can finally figure out what it means. At first I thought I was just paranoid which is stupid because it's not like names are patented. Besides, it's only a matter of time before the name is snatched up by a celebrity. Or a friend of a friend. Or someone. Maybe? I digress... That wasn't why the dream upset me. The dream upset me because after much thought, I came to the following conclusion:
In the dream I was Nicole Richie, exposing my son to the world without knowing any better.

And a part of me was angry, that I chose to put my child in front of the camera, when he didn't know any better than to smile.

It was kind of like the toilet dream I had weeks ago, except instead of exposing myself, I was exposing my son. Without his knowledge and permission.

I called a family meeting and after much talk, decided to ceasefire on public displays of Archfection when Archer starts Kindergarten. ... Because maybe Archer won't care and we'll all find that in the future, everyone is public with their lives. But there is also a chance that Arch will want to draw the blinds on his bedroom windows, and as a mother, respecting that possibility is my job.

...He is his own person. And therefor should be known not for books and blogs his mother writes about him, but by his own means and definitions....

Many of you (fellow bloggers) have written about your children anonymously. Changed names. Etc. But for those of you, like me, who haven't, I wonder.... Do you have the same kinds of dreams? Do you see yourself stopping (blogging) when your kid(s) reach a certain age? Why or why not?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, anonymous or not, because certainly it is something I have been wrestling with.

Word.

GGC

26 comments:

LD | 5:48 PM

I can understand your predicament-- it's a worthy thing to worry about. But I know that I've often admired your decision to make so much public. I often think about changing the pseudonym I came up with in my blog for my son's real name-- a name I love and get happier with every day.

Ewokmama | 5:52 PM

I don't foresee myself stopping blogging about my son as he gets older. To me, the internet is a somewhat safer version of the real world. I would tell any stranger on the street about Jack, share any of the things that I write about on my blog if someone asked. Sure, he could get mad about me writing it down, but he can also get mad about me talking about him. I can't not talk about him, using my voice or my typed words...

Kyran | 6:02 PM

i think the important thing is in the handwringing. I think some bloggers do cross a boundary and assume their children's life is their intellectual property. there is an overlap, a limnal zone between your stories, and the borders are not always precise. at the end of the day, if you can honestly say you sweated over it, if you can honestly say you sometimes left really good stuff on the cutting room floor, if you can honestly say you asked yourself, it will be okay.

as with most of life's deep predicaments, it's not about the answers so much as it is about the questions.

Shash | 7:08 PM

I have two children, aged 5 and 13. I blog about both, using aliases. The teen actually likes me to blog about him, and asks why I haven't if I don't post about him after awhile. I will blog about him until he asks me not to.

I will say I have changed my ways about posting photos of my kids as much, but that has more to do with the fact people have frightened me a bit with their appreciation of my kids, and it kind of creeped me out.

Hope this helps?

Shash

Anonymous | 7:50 PM

I'm not sure it's all that much different than parent-child relations have always been. My parents insisted on diaper-rash pictures on display in the living room. You know, full-frontal bright red baby twat. I was mortified and horrified and then one day I grew up and didn't care. C'est la vie, you know? The dilemma's at least as old as Christopher Robin Milne...

Petunia Face | 8:00 PM

Oh dear. I have thought about it but always ended up thinking about you and Archer, about your blog. I have read GGC since I was a hormonal mess on maternity leave (and still read it now that I'm a hormonal mess NOT on maternity leave). I started my own blog and hesitated before exposing my daughter's name and photos but in the end I remembered how much your blog helped me--the photos, your story, the honesty.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 8:19 PM

I'm so glad my blog helped you, Petunia! Thanks for that. And if I were to go back I wouldn't do anything differently at all. I wouldn't change our names or hide our identities. But as Archer gets older I want him to create his own "persona" .... I want him to choose who he is and what that means. I don't want him to become a caricature of himself, unless he authors said caricature.

At the end of the day, for me, it's all or nothing. I stand by my decision to put it all out there but also think pulling it in where Archer's concerned is probable, especially when he reaches a certain age.

That's not to say I'm perfectly confident that I've done right by me by being so open.

Thanks for your thoughts, all.

Rob | 8:22 PM

GOD, I've thought about this a lot, not just because of blogging about my daughter, but even more about writing a book about her, with her name and her PHOTO on the cover.

In the end, I have to balance the good that I believe that comes from a story told out of love and with as much honesty as I can, and I fall back on trust, in the idea that even if she thinks I'm wrong to have done so, she'll nevertheless recognize the love that drove me to write about her.

My own father made many mistakes. i wish a few more of them had been fueled by love.

Anonymous | 11:50 PM

My mother had a blog about me for 17 years. I will always have it, and treasure it as she is now gone. It's amazing to look at it and know how much she loved me.

Jaci | 6:08 AM

Interesting topic. I've thought about this a lot as I blog about my 4 kids & our life, especially when I am inclined to post something about my oldest son (9).

I guess I am a little more guarded with the laundry I choose to air (dirty or clean), but that's the way I deal with him on every level (blog or 'real life'). I can smother my younger three kids with kisses whenever I want, but when greeting my oldest at the bus stop, a simple high-five will do. I follow his cues, even though sometimes it's hard (darn, can't it be cool to be a mama's boy?).

Don't get me wrong, he likes to be featured on my Blog as long as it's the 'right' material. As a matter of fact, for his 5th grade project he's created his own Blog. It's a vicious cycle!

barbara | 6:49 AM

If you're writing from a place of love (which you are), then it's fine. But you have the choice what to write about and what *not* to write about. I love yr posts about Archer and about other topics. Just do what feels right for you/your family. I do think Archer will appreciate this blog when he's much older.

dvl | 8:10 AM

kids are adaptable, he'll end up being his own person no matter what the surroundings, and you owe it to yourself to not abandon who you are and what you do under the false fear that it will overexpose your kid to the world. xo

the mad momma | 10:09 AM

Well I blog under a pseudonym but that was more because I am a journalist in real life and i didnt want personal opinions clashing with the publications. less to do with privacy.

I thikn I agree with those who said that we only blog abt things that we'd anyway chat with our friends abt. I havent ever written something that i wouldnt say in public. which probably means i have no idea where to draw the line!

seriously though, i dont think our kids will be scarred. public lives are the norm now. they will grow up in a world very different to the one we grew up in. and probably thank us for making stars of them :P

just kidding! i dont know how much longer i will blog. i do know that i will stop when they ask me to

bombaygirl | 12:03 PM

I've been wrestling with the same thing. My blog came about because of Nik, and so did my business, and I feel that it is important that others know that. Changing his name would de-personalize it somehow for me. I like what you say about stopping when he starts school. I may too.

Stimey | 12:20 PM

I have a 6, a 4, and a 2. I don't see myself not blogging about them anytime soon, because their lives are my life, and I have so much to say about them. And not only that, I believe my blog is a record. A record of their lives and the little moments that slip away. There are things that I know I would forget about if not for this blog, and I believe that in the future, I will be so happy to have those memories. And I hope they will be too.

There are, however, things that I don't make public about them. Things that they wouldn't want me to write about if they knew I wrote about them. Things that if I were them, I wouldn't want someone to write about me.

Just as there are some things I won't blog about my husband to spare his feelings, there are things I won't blog about my kids.

Tiffany | 2:04 PM

I don't see myself not blogging about them. They are an important part of my life. I won't however, post things that would embarrass them. Not silly things, but things that are important to them, that they wouldn't want anyone to know about.

BOSSY | 2:48 PM

Uh, up to this time Bossy has not had that dream, but you can bet she will now, except it will be a nightmare. (Bossy is very suggestive like that.)

Chris. | 4:18 PM

If the blog is about you and your feelings and your experiences (about/with the kid), cool. If it becomes about them and their lives, then I think there runs the risk of them feeling over-exposed.

And I don't think a verbal conversation is the same. Spoken words are fleeting (though arguably more true). Writing persists, and you have to be more accountable.

clueless but hopeful mama | 8:00 PM

I haven't been blogging long enough to really think about it too much but when I do think about it, I get a bit stimied. I think when she's older I'd like to show the blog to Zoe and ask her what she thinks. Yet I also realize that, if she's in kindergarten, she's a little young to make informed consent about such things. If I'm still blogging (I will always be writing, maybe just not on the internet?) when she gets to kindergarten, I will have to revisit this with thoughtfulness.

Don Mills Diva | 9:23 AM

Believe it or not, I never really gave this issue serious thought until I saw your post on Babble. When I thought about starting a blog I considered a psuedonom for Graham but it just seemed kinda weird and cheesy to me. I honestly looked to you as my fav blogger and thought "If she uses Archer's real name, I can use Graham's" ( I don't use our last name but it probably wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.)

I agree that kids are adaptable. I think if my blogging about him is his biggest worry then he's probably okay. Having said that I try and use my family life mostly as a jumping off point for my opinions and so I haven't got super personal. If I'm still blogging when Graham hits puberty, for instance, I think it goes without saying I not be writing about his wet dreams (OMG I feel so icky thinking about that)or his acne.

Luckily I still think I have a while to work this all out.

Her Bad Mother | 11:15 AM

I've been thinking a lot about revealing WB's name. She just turned 2, and she's a *girl* now, and it seems strange somehow to write of her like a character and not a person.

It's so funny that you wrote this, now, because I've been thinking about it so much lately - whether her place in my storytelling is the ultimate expression of love, or something else, like me making her into something that she's - maybe - not. I've always figured that I would marginalize her more and more in my writing as she grew older and more *herself* - whatever that means- but then I think, what does it mean to marginalize her? Is that good or bad?

I didn't really need my head to hurt anymore today, but this is good, fruitful hurt. xxo

Anonymous | 11:44 AM

i don't have any kids, but i was one. i've blogged since i was around..13 or 14. i think it would be amazing to see so much of a life i don't remember, pictures are one thing, but he'll know the stories, even the ones you might forget because they get lost in the shuffle of the really, really important moments. i deleted some of my archives when i was younger, and i really wish i didn't, it's fun to see who i was back then. :)

Melani | 8:09 AM

I think the last thing my daughters would want in their teen years, would be for their potential boyfriends "googleing" them and learning all about the size and shape of their poo, how they enjoyed eating boogers, or any of the other things mommybloggers tend to think the world wants to know about their offspring.
Man I feel for those kids. Being a teen is hard enough with out some asshole in your class digging up embarassing pictures of you your mom thought were "so cute!" and just had to post on the internet.

mothergoosemouse | 7:36 PM

When Tacy does or says something that makes me laugh, she always asks: "Are you going to write about that?" And I always reply: "Do you want me to?"

Inevitably, she says yes. When she starts to say no, I'll stop.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake | 5:42 PM

Hmmmm....this made me think:

But as Archer gets older I want him to create his own "persona" .... I want him to choose who he is and what that means.

Speaking from my own experience of raising a child who breaks the mold, there is little I can do that would get in the way of Payton and his own persona. He's force of self is just that darn strong.

So personally, I have little worries of him confusing who he is and what that means because of my blog.

I'm just not powerful enough to overcome Payton's own sense of self. (God knows I tried in other ways to overcome it when he was younger.)

Anonymous | 10:16 PM

I was famous and on a TV show when I was younger. Before I was twenty. It was intensely uncomfortable and it was a decision made entirely on my own but still insurmountably difficult to cope with.

Though the public information known about me wasn't bad- it represented someone else's idea of who I am. And that was hard to overcome in daily life because you have to constantly assert yourself against assumptions at every turn. It gets exhausting. Still is, a billion years later. I chose it. But I would let my kid choose it on his own because it is so hard and I want his development to evolve, not come about as a reaction as mine did. I don't know how this media will mutate. I want so badly to share photos of him, to tell his stories. But I don't yet know what this media will become, how it will change, what the future will be like. I'm not conservative out of fear, I'm conservative out of respect that I would not take away his choice about how public he wants to be.

My mother is a prominent writer and I am in her books in many forms. But I've always cherished that it is our secret, who I am, where I am in those stories. For her and I to know, my baby moments recorded, told in stories,but still sweetly private to us.Some things are painful, some are odd, and some are just funny but they are still mine and I can share them with people...or not. The choice has been mine.

My mom didn't know she was going to end up a huge writer. It turned out she did and it turned out I had a public life as well.

Those were our choices and they worked out well for us. But there have been many other people who made different choices, and it worked out well for them too.