This is a guest post from @lumpinthethroat, please comment below.
There are many things that as a first time parent I’ve really appreciated about the on-line parenting community. When I was having trouble breast feeding, online helped me. Online helped me to connect with other like-minded parents, who were massively supportive. Online helped me speak to other mothers around the world who had similar worries. At the point when I was staring out on my street, seeing no other lights, feeling utterly alone, and my child is trying to express a need I could not understand, online helped me know, there are lights on in other flat’s – there are other parents spending the witching hours rocking back and forth and singing round-and-round the garden with an increasingly desperate tone. In a world when you are nursing a child at 3am, not sure if they are seriously ill or just plain old kid ill, online helped relieve worries. We live in a world where we don’t automatically stay in the place where we are brought up, surrounded by granny’s grandfather’s, aunts, uncles and cousins. I doubt the fact that that is new, but perhaps that is for another post. Online has replaced some of those gaps for me – and I am very grateful.
However I do wonder where it ends? I started on Facebook. Instead of a status I would report conversations I had with my daughter, most of them hilarious, some of them challenging. I got a good response. People kept on telling me how much they loved them, how funny they were. So I wrote more. I stopped blogging about poetry (another of my obsessions) and instead started a Tumblr, mainly about my daughter with occasional literary feeds. I have not felt so comfortable with this recently. I think the parenting blogging community is a wonderful source of support, especially if you are a parent who does not necessarily fit with the main-stream style of parenting, or if you just want to find an opinion that isn’t mainly focused on meeting government targets.
I’m worried about when my “funny” reporting of my daughter’s conversations with me becomes an invasion on her privacy? I hope that some of the things I’ve written, when she is older, we can laugh at together? Hopefully she will understand that I have known her in a time she has no memory of, when she was developing, that I have loved her unconditionally throughout it all. It will help her see that is ok for her to get things wrong or misunderstand, because she has done it before, and it has not, and never will stop me loving who she is. I am a place where it is ok for her to make a mistake. What is a mother if not that?
When though, is the benefit outweighed by the fact her friends Mums and Dad’s read it that blog? When she first types her name into Google? Worse still, will she be applying for a job and her possible employers come across that post I wrote about the first time she discovered her vagina?
I normally blog mostly on political sites, and my views are up for debate and discussion. However my daughter is a different matter. Normally when I blog on politics I already have a clear point in view. When it comes to my daughter’s privacy, well, I’m still learning, I’m pretty sure I will make a mistake on this one. In no way do I want to over step a boundary which I has not yet reached, but may resent me for overstepping. The internet is new in terms of human civilisation. How do we adapt to that as parents? How do find and create the supportive groups we need, without compromising our children’s needs to be private individuals in their own rights? I’d really like to hear your views. In fact, I would not like to hear them, I really need to hear them. Personally I really want to have this discussion – I’d love it if you could join me