How to be a Blogging Mom Who Doesn’t Over Share

How much sharing is too much?

This bounces around my head all the time. I have certain boundaries regarding my husband and children, though will shamelessly share everything about my cat.

Recently, I found out one of my college classmates was this year’s commencement speaker at our alma mater. Since we graduated 9 years ago, she has become an insanely successful person (and she deserves every bit of it). But I also recently learned she became engaged to a longtime boyfriend her followers didn’t even know existed.

Which makes me wonder: how much sharing is too much?

Did she keep him private to give herself an oasis of privacy? Did she do it just in case of a bad split? Did she do it to respect his privacy? Did she do it because it had nothing to do with the empire she is building?

Am I sharing too much about this remarkable acquaintance from years ago?

I shamelessly read many, many, many mom blogs. So many that sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not sharing my children’s names and pictures.

It really comes down to two things: privacy and consent.

Privacy

Does what you share infringe on your or someone else’s privacy?

Everyone has a right to be protected, especially online. Sure, there are people who will literally share everything about themselves and their families with the whole world. But how much is too much?

I am a highly private person. I weigh everything I write. You might notice I talk more about me and what I do with my kids instead of what they do and how they behave. You might notice I never talk about my marriage or give relationship pointers. Wait, aren’t I a highly private person? Why, yes, I am. That’s why I weigh everything.

Will what I write out me to someone on the street? Will someone who reads my post then know enough about me to say “oh, over there, I see her?” If yes, I scrape it and maybe start over if I still have a message to get across. If no, I publish it.

I will not write anything identifiable about me or my family. Thank goodness there are only about a million short Chinese women in Southern California! Too much? Nope. Because it’s true. You don’t know enough about me to be able to find me.

Consent

Consent isn’t just for sex.

I was trained to be a psychologist. I had to do consent forms to do therapy, give questionnaires, and run experiments with people. Consent forms were a big part of my education and professional life.

Consent here refers to my husband and children.

Anything I write that has anything to do with my husband is run by him. If he approves, I publish. If he wants changes, I revise. If he says no, I trash it. His opinion is more important than anyone else’s. He must consent to publication, or it won’t happen.

My children are under 18. It is my job to sign consent forms for them. Does that give me permission to share anything I want about them?

No!

My children are private people. They are my responsibility. As their mother, it is my duty to protect them. I’m not saying you should do the same. I’m saying this is my line. I will not toe the line with over sharing about them. When they are 18, they can sign the consent forms.

My Boundaries, Your Boundaries

Every blogger has their own boundaries. Mine are above. Perhaps I am guilty of under sharing. Perhaps I don’t share enough to get more people interested in me. But I like it that way.

You have your boundaries. You know what is okay with you and the people in your life. You make the call.

How to Know If It’s Over Sharing

If you already under share like me, you’re probably not over sharing.

If you’re not sure, maybe be a little more conservative if you’re worried or a little more liberal if you’re not.

But the best rule of thumb is probably: when someone you’re writing about says you are.

It’s probably a good idea to ask if they’re old enough. Otherwise, you need to judge for yourself. Ask if what you’re writing has the potential to hurt or embarrass them. Ask if you really need to write it. Ask why you are even writing it. I’m not even going to touch social media because 1) that’s a whole other monster and 2) I’m barely on it so I barely know how to use it.

And be careful. You never know who’s out there.

Now that I’ve scared you, just use your best judgement and have caution. Consider what you write and why.

What are your boundaries?

22 Comments

  • bitsanddragons

    Like you, I don’t write about my children.
    I don’t post pictures of them on the sociosphere (??) but I use it to send pictures to people I know. So my boundary is somehow to write about my private life. With a remark.
    I try not to, despite I think it may be very interesting. At the very beginning I was …more personal on my posts. Those post are gone. Now I drop personal anecdotes here and there and I use a part of “the real” on my posts. That is enough for me, it works like a sort of code that you can use to track me if you want. Or to check it’s really me.
    My problem is, I have no idea about who’s reading my blog.
    But there are a lot more readers than I expected.
    Oddly enough, not the ones I expected, neither in the places I was expecting 🙂

    • kat

      That’s the problem, isn’t it? You can’t know who is reading it and why. It makes me skittish and paranoid. Besides, for what purpose do people share so much about their kids? Readers can come from out of left field. I also have readers from unexpected places, so it feels safer to share very little, if anything. There has to be a line somewhere. Though with all the parents who share everything, I’m glad to know there’s a like minded soul out there.

  • howikilledbetty

    Good points and worth me thinking this through! I too am pretty private but as time goes on I am telling readers more about me. Not my children and very little about my husband. Frankly I suspect that the majority of my followers don’t even read my drivel, and I have a few whom I genuinely like and we chat in a pen pal sort of way which is lovely. And it is really just them that I write for and to. Thanks for the great post, it made me think and that’s great! Katie

    • kat

      Thanks for your comment! I feel the same way about my readers, but goodness knows who is lurking out there. Better safe than sorry, right? On the other hand, with so many bloggers and people in social media in general, how much does one person really matter? I often wonder how many people actually read, pay attention to, and remember what I write. Though it is nice to have a few faithful readers who become great one pals. And, who knows, maybe I’ll be sharing more about myself as time goes on. Even though I’m a new follower of yours, I do read every word you write!

  • mrsmotherdirt

    I struggle with this too. I struggle with blogging using my own name, which I don’t. I write under Mrs. Mother Dirt. I don’t mind sharing a photo or 2 but I do struggle with how much of me to put out there. Some blogs I really enjoy because they do put “it all out there” and it’s mesmerizing. If I write something, I try to maintain my personal perspective and experience.

    • kat

      I also enjoy the blogs that out everything out there, but it makes me think I’m doing something wrong. It’s a fine line, but we do have to keep safety in mind. The daily struggle.

  • jennifermzeiger

    I’m paranoid. It’s reassuring to hear I’m not the only one who is super cautious about what she posts. I’m finding it harder to keep things within my boundaries as I work on marketing for the book, but that might be because I’m almost totally an introvert. I guess at some point, people need to see my face even when I don’t like it. When it comes to my family, however, I post very little and it’ll stay that way.

    • kat

      It’s so hard to find a balance between having something to say while also staying private. I don’t envy you doing this while marketing your book. I know I always read everything I can find on authors I loved and hated, so good luck! Though I do admire how you stay focused on your writing and keep your family private.

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