Friday, June 6, 2008

Writing About Children

An interesting topic came up on Slate this week.

The question? Is writing about one's children a do or a don't?

Since I keep this blog for an online magazine, write a regular column about parenting and often use my daughter as fodder for my pieces, the question does bring up a bit of a sore point.

Some of the concerns (the lack of privacy, etc) I think are a bit silly. That is the stuff that people over 45, not familiar with this generation's tell-all style tend to worry about. I am not printing my address or photos of Sam in the bath anymore, but mostly I think it is ok to share my thoughts. I keep track of the traffic on this site and would know if something sketchy were going on. Plus, I am not a closed person. Still, it would be false to think you could read this blog and know all that is going on in my life. There are many things I choose not to share here, both big and small, but that determination is my own.

Mostly, I try to keep this blog about parenting/family/pregnancy and leave the other bits out. Still, I have the nagging suspicion that some people do judge my decision to blog/write about Sam, especially given that Steve Almond, a writer I tend to admire, opted to cease his blog at Babble once his daughter was around Sam's age. Granted, his readership was larger and more vocal (and angrier) than mine, but it also gave me pause when he said that part of the reason he stopped was to honor her privacy.

Am I not honoring my daughter's? To be truthful, this blog is mostly something I do for her. I would give anything to have any piece of my childhood recorded. No one remembers a damn thing and that is very hard. I have to hang on to the small snippets my aunts or grandmother can give me. But how amazing would it have been if my mother had recorded my milestones, month by month? If she had written down her own thoughts on new motherhood? I would love to have that. And so, I am making the assumption that Sam will like this one day, especially (sorry for my constant morbid thinking, but I have to face the possibility) if I am not around to tell her myself. On a less morbid note, this blog will also one day serve as a memory refresher for myself.

Still, for the most part, my essays are about me, not Sam. She is always a part of them, but thanks to my healthy supply of narcissism, I am always the main character. My thoughts on running during pregnancy, my thoughts on abortion, weight loss, political t's and more. It is the Sasha show in most of my writing, not the Sam show.

Still, as she gets older, it is something I am going to have to be aware of. Motherhood is a huge inspiration for me. It has been fertile (pun intended) ground in which to plant the seeds of my writing. I can't help that. Still, I need to remember that Sam is her own little person who may ask me to cool it on the details of her life someday. And when that happens, I will have to respect it.

But jeesh, what will I write about then? A geriatric Rocky? My obese cat? Yikes... I may need to look elsewhere for inspiration. But what could be more inspiring than my children?

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Did you follow the whole blowup with Dooce (huge "mom" blogger- and Kathie Lee on the Today show about this very topic?

I completely agree with you that parenting is different now than it was even 10 years ago. Today's moms are hitting up the web for parenting advice, not their mother or grandmother, so blogging about kids is a natural extension of this.

I write about Isabella for many of the same reasons you blog about Sam. Someday, my blog will (hopefully) provide her with a sketch of her childhood.