Friday, 25 March 2011

be accountable

I am accountable for my words.

I'm indirectly involved in a situation that cropped up in the neighborhood recently - I say indirectly, because I wasn't a part of it but affected by the outcome. Situations that make me grit my teeth and knot my hands up are draining. And bad for the psyche. While it all seems to be blowing out to sea now, the things adults do in the name of pride astound me.

Communication-wise, we live in a digitally-based, always instantly recall-able world. I know that anything I write here will be tied to my name (and that of my children) forever. I can write rants about whatever I want, as long as I realize that  whatever I write will always be able to be found - and attributed to me.  Something that gets forgotten sometimes, in this age of facebook, twitter,  and instant messaging is that all this data is stored.

A perennial point for bloggers: Do I have the right to talk about my children?  Post pictures?  Refer to them by their real names?  Is there a cut-off point - a cut-off age? Should I worry that people will read what I've written here and use it to tease my kids? Are my children property? Do i put the kids in danger by posting their faces? There are a lot of different answers - the short and sweet one being to go with your comfort level. The rest is up to the individual blogger.

My stance is that I DO have the right to talk about my children. They are part of my world, and figure largely in my writing. I will not embarrass my kids here on purpose - I can't imagine?? - but I have no guilt about relating their stories. When I first started daysgoby, they both had nicknames, but those wore off after about a week. Referring to them without using their correct names felt stiff and wrong, like I was writing about paper dolls.
 My children are not my property. I don't own them. They have their own stories that they'll tell as they get older. While they live with me and interact daily, while their lives touch mine every day and our lives get bound up together? I think I do have the right to talk about them.

At least until one of them asks me to stop. (And yes, they both do know about this blog.)

Oh, and my husband. I've called him Bear for years - because at first it was a privacy issue (I had no idea how he'd feel about being outed on a blog) and then it was habit. Given his job, though, I think I'll keep him as Bear. Because I don't need him to be accountable for my words.

I can do that all by myself.


Yo-yo Mama said...

Some day my kids will have a blog (or whatever weird thing will be *it* then) and they will talk about me. Will I ask them to stop (especially if they post pictures of me without makeup or using photoshop)? Maybe, but will they have to? No.

Dawn said...


kyooty said...

excellent post, and point!

May-B said...

Totally. I think about this on occasion too. And then, I post about the time I had diarrhea.

Nova Scotia Local said...

Well said!
Thank you

Jen on the Edge said...

These are important things to realize. There is no anonymity on the internet, even if a blogger uses a fake name, hides his/her location, and never posts photos of the family. Someone will figure out who you are and that ranting post you wrote about your mother-in-law/boss/stepmother/whomever? Will definitely eventually reach that very person's eyes.

I make sure that I don't blog about anything that I'd hate to have come back to me later. I don't write about my extended family or my husband's family unless I am talking about them with love. I don't tell stories about my husband and children that would embarrass them.

I wasn't always so careful and, a couple years ago, was confronted by a relative who took offense with my blog even though there was nothing in it about her. Still, I went through my archives and deleted dozens of posts that could, with the greatest stretchings of imagination, be offensive to that person.

As my girls get closer to teenagehood, I am more careful about what I say about them and the photos I post about them. Eventually, I probably won't say much about them all.

My family (husband and children) is very aware of my blog, but I'm not sure that my girls truly understand how far it reaches, so even if I were to ask their permission to blog about them, they wouldn't quite get it, so I self-censor on their behalf.

Stomper Girl said...

My rule of thumb is to try to limit myself to only writing things on my blog that I would feel happy saying to the person's face. And to try and keep a clear line on which stories are mine to tell. I use my friends in real life to have a proper no-holds-barred sound off!