Hi, I’m Suzanne.
I write a blog and I share EVERYTHING.
I think that every blogger in the history of blogging has struggled with this little dilemma. To share or not to share?
We have people who click on this little blog space and read. They read all about my life. About my husband and my marriage. About my kids and my mothering style. About my weekend happenings and my life lately. My struggles and my accomplishments.
And while all of that sounds pretty awesome, it also is pretty dangerous. There are people out there who will take advantage of my vulnerability. There are people out there who will take the pictures of my children and make role-playing accounts. There are internet trolls who love nothing more than to attack a vulnerable Mom for her opinions.
But there is a more personal level, too. There are people at church and in society who think that they know my children simply because they read all about them on the internet. There are people who think I’m super popular and always surrounded by people because that is what they see online. There are people who read my words and feel offended, and I never even know it. There are people who read my words and disagree with me and don’t ever voice it. There are people who choose not to ask me how I’m doing because they read my blog and feel that they know how I’m doing.
And then there is the issue of my children. Tera Evelynne is my child, but she is also her own person. Will she look back on all the photos of her that I shared and resent me for that? Will she hate the fact that her Mom posted her potty training debut and her temper tantrums online? Will she wish that I had never done that? Obviously, as a baby…she doesn’t know. And most likely she won’t care because by the time she does know, it will be a thing of the past. But what about when she is 6? 10? 16? Will she want me to post about her then? This blog is my little corner of the internet, and Tera and Theo and our baby boy are pretty much my whole life, but I do have to remember that they have feelings and situations that need to be guarded from the whole world.
It doesn’t take much to go into the reasons that I can’t write much about our foster children. It is for their own safety and protection, not to mention that they technically aren’t mine at all. They are wards of the state and it is not my right to share about them online.
I know bloggers who chose to not share their children’s name or faces online. I have read through their reasoning on this issue, and I have to say that I completely see where they are coming from. I have thought about making my life more private and taking away the possibilities that may come with being so open and honest.
But then there is the flip side, too.
This blog started as a platform to share what is going on in my life with my parents. It very much still continues to be that platform, and it is my favorite way to share what is going on with our family, since almost all our family lives very, very far away.
This blog then became my journal. I have recorded both my pregnancies, and the entire 9 months that we had Little Miss. I cherish looking back on those old posts and remembering exactly what I was feeling when I wrote that.
My blog then morphed into a platform to encourage and share and build up people who stumble upon it. People are encouraged when they hear about things that I am going through, when I open up and share about the struggles of foster care and the things that we go through in daily life. I get emails and comments from people who say that they love what I wrote and that it touched them deeply.
So, where do I stand? To share or not to share?
- For now, I continue to share. I have found that I love writing, I love sharing and I love being able to connect with people while being open.
- My blog is my ministry. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. I am choosing to use the gifts that God has given me to reach people. I love sharing shop features and supporting local shops and local Moms. I hope that my posts convey Christ in all that I write, and that through that I can reach people who might not otherwise know him.
- I will not put my family in jeopardy. There is a certain “street sense” about blogging and putting myself and my family out there. I try not to post when we are traveling or where we are traveling to, and I try not to post our address or where we live. I also need to be aware of trolls and stalkers and the like, and learn to deal with creepy people who sit behind their keyboards and wreak havoc on real people living life and choosing to share about it. If this becomes an issue, my blog will have to go. Because my family is more important.
- I try to respect my family’s wishes. Especially among my extended family we have some relationship situations that are difficult and sad. I choose to not post about those, even if I think someone could relate and be encouraged. I choose not to post about those because it is not my place to share that. Although it affects me directly, it is not my right to share. Sometimes I feel bad because I know that everything I post about my extended family makes it seem like we are one big, happy family with no fights, arguments or struggles. It’s not true, but it’s not my place to open up about that.
- We will go through stages. For now, my kids are young and aren’t bothered by what I put online. But as they get older, I will continue to reevaluate and ask for their input on what I am posting. I also try to remember this for what I post now.
- Will Tera be embarrassed by this if she sees it when she’s 16? I
- s this a memory better kept within our family (a scrapbook or photo album)?
- Is this something that will be beneficial or harmful to my readers?
- Is this something that will be beneficial or harmful to my family?
What about you? Do you struggle with sharing too much online? Or too little? Or maybe you struggle with judging Mom’s who chose to share too much (or too little?)? Do you have anything else to add to my pros and cons list?
To share or not to share?