A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: oversharing

A new way to use my crazy for good at school!

Ever since the year I was an overachieving (see: pill-popping) Kindergarten room mom, I tend to steer clear of volunteering at school. I’ve just found that my kids do better on their own without me being there to, you know, ask questions like “So is the Principal Pal thing rigged, or what? Who do I have to throw some Benjamins at to get one of those frickin’ magnets on my car?”

But you know me, I like to help. I’m just much better behind the scenes: pulling weeds in the school’s butterfly garden, or sending in canned goods, or selling my soul to the devil in exchange for the last existing yellow poly folder with pockets AND prongs in the western hemisphere.

One year I found that the best way I could help was by sharpening all of our teacher’s classroom pencils every weekend. (Those poor teachers have THE WORST pencil sharpeners in their classrooms!) My oldest son Vince would bring home a baggie full of about 100 dull pencils every Friday and I would zone out and reflect on my deep thoughts over the sound of my professional grade X-ACTO whirring away. Very therapeutic. I like my pencils like I like my men: tall, sharp, and with a big, firm, pink… eraser on the end. Ew, what did you think I was going to say?

This year will now forever be remembered as the year my child was finally rewarded for my hoarding tendencies. 

That’s right, people. The stars have aligned and Mini-Me’s math teacher sent out an email this week asking parents to save twist-on bottle caps for a future project.

Uh, like these?

It finally pays to be a hoarder by The Bearded Iris

BOOM.

My sweet child came home all aglow yesterday because apparently I was the only parent to reply to that teacher’s email.

See? We all have our own unique gifts and ways that we can serve others. Mine just so happen to involve repetitive tasks and the DSM-IV. Whatevs. You say PTA, I say PTSD. God bless us, every one.  

So that’s what’s new around here.

But elsewhere…

I overshare on the Internet

Last week I was invited to write this for HLNtv.com about moms who “overshare” on the Internet. And apparently it struck a nerve with some people. Granted, I’m not licking my own face repeatedly or slapping my nekkid butt cheeks all up on a gyrating Footlocker employee’s man meat, but still—this article garnered the second ugliest comment I’ve ever received in the five years I’ve been doing this blogging thing. (Which you cannot read because it was not published. As a general rule, the only assholes I pay any attention to whatsoever are my own and my children’s.)

I’m also very excited to be making my debut at Bonbon Break this week to share some of the behind the scenes pinnacles and pitfalls of the whole self-publishing experience. Please check it out!

I hope your Labor Day weekend is everything you need for it to be, times two, with a side of Come Back Sauce, and a free kitten.

Yours truly,
Leslie

 

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.

“Mom, some of the kids at school know about your blog,” my 12 year old son sheepishly told me after school on Monday.

“WHAT? Are you serious? How? How do you know that? What did they say to you? Are you okay? Are you embarrassed? Do you want me to take it down?” I verbally vomited all over him.

“NO Mom! Don’t take your blog down! I don’t care if kids know about it. I’m really proud of you.”

(OMG – my son is proud of me! SWOON! But holy crap, his friends know about my blog.)

Nature Boy and Iris, 2011.

 

This is quite a predicament.

When I started this blog as a hobby nearly four years ago, I did it anonymously. I never showed my face or my children’s faces, I didn’t use anybody’s real names (still don’t), and I never worried about potential risks.

But blogging anonymously wasn’t a good fit for me. Not having my face connected to my words made it easier for me to write things that weren’t really my truth. I felt like I was living a lie and eventually I quit.

I missed it though and I decided to give it another shot in January of 2011. But this time I wanted to do it with more authenticity and more skin in the game: I would show our faces and I would blog not just as a place to express myself, but as a way to entertain and serve others with ideas, tips, recipes, and hopefully, laughter. Maybe if I was good enough at it, I could turn it into a career.

Yes, it was a risk. The Internet is a scary place.

But the gamble paid off. My readership and opportunities grew exponentially when I started showing our faces. Was it easier for readers to connect with my family when they could really visualize us? Did my writing improve with time and practice? Or was it because I was suddenly putting more thought into each post knowing that my face was out there? I don’t know.

Every mom blogger worries about their children’s safety. We worry about stranger danger and accidentally handing Internet predators the keys to our lives. So we use code names and limit information about schedules and geographic details.

But is that enough to protect our families from the dangers of blogging?

There has been a lot of online dialogue lately about mom bloggers oversharing about their kids lives.

I am torn.

What would the mom blog genre be without REAL stories about ourselves and the crazy shit our kids do?

Frankly, I never dreamed that I would ever have enough readers to make blogging about my family an issue.

And I certainly never imagined there would ever be middle school peers of my kids reading my stories. My kids are not allowed to read my blog and they know why. It is unconscionable for 12 year olds to know about some of the very adult themed issues I’ve shared here. I write for mature audiences. I use language and discuss content that is inappropriate for children. 

I have always tried to keep my school/church life pretty separate from my personal/blogger life. But I have always feared that if my blog got into the wrong hands, it could cause problems for us. I’ve read horror stories about some of my blogging heroes like Cecily Kellogg who have gotten into hot water over their blogging.

However, I have always been willing to share my real life online because I have seen the benefit that it can give to others. Parenthood, marriage, life in general can be so difficult at times. Knowing there are others experiencing the same (or worse) challenges can really ease the burden. And after all, isn’t that what we are all called to do? Ease each others’ burdens?

But I have no control over who reads my work and what they do with the very personal information I have shared.

So now I have a choice to make.

Here are some of the options I’m considering:

A. Shut The Bearded Iris down and walk away from blogging.

B. Shut it down and start over anonymously somewhere else.

C. Go back through the blog and unpublish any posts that I am particularly uncomfortable with children reading.

D. Say screw it and stay on my path.

E. Embrace my new audience, increase the fart jokes, decrease the vagina talk. Or increase the vagina talk as a PSA to boys in puberty who need to learn about the traffic patterns down there sooner or later.

F. Other: _____(Please advise me in your comment below.)_____

This is not an easy choice for me. I have worked so hard to create years worth of original content. I have potential business opportunities in the works that are dependent upon my current status in the blogosphere. For the first time in my working life, I absolutely LOVE what I do. I don’t want to walk away. But I don’t want my kids’ friends to know anything about my genitals either. That’s not cool. Not cool at all.

Ack! Blogging. What a double edged sword. I totally picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue.

What say you?

-Iris

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