Safeguarding my children’s stories

Joy, Lovely Joy

Before they came into this world I had plot lines and narratives scaffolding in my mind, outlines and blueprints of their stories sketched in pencil. But like any story that’s given room to grow and roam and veer off the plotted points from A to B to C, they began to wander into their own exposition, their own conflict and rising action, and it’s only now that I’m beginning to fold my own plans and tuck them away. It’s only now that I’m truly seeing them as protagonists in their own stories. Stories that aren’t mine to tell.

Joy, Lovely Joy

And so here I am wondering where this leaves the state of this blog, which was founded as a way to preserve moments of their childhood. A blog that was founded alongside an industry that capitalizes off of stories that expose our children no matter how well intended, so lately I’ve been asking: Where do I draw the line? What is considered “over sharing” in a medium where such a definition is nearly impossible to define? And if I continue down this road will my children come to identify themselves by their online presence? Am I still trying to lay a framework from those blueprints even as I stuff them away?

Joy, Lovely Joy

I’ve been silent for a while because I’m not sure where this leaves me, mired in motherhood and feeling drawn to write about it, to process it, to share it, yet an overwhelming desire to protect them and safeguard their stories has kept me from doing so as of late. I have no doubt that I’ll continue to write about motherhood–it’s my greatest source of joy, frustration, and doubt–but I don’t want to unintentionally force identities on my children or publicly speculate about who they are becoming. This discovery should be theirs.

Joy, Lovely Joy

I’m still trying to figure out a way to navigate this terrain of writing about motherhood on a more macro level. With that said, I will continue to take photos (though I’m becoming ever more wary of featuring their faces online) because I know that someday they’ll be grateful for these snapshots of their childhoods.

P.S. You can find me on Instagram here.

Joy, Lovely Joy

10 thoughts on “Safeguarding my children’s stories

    • Lara says:

      I think I’m noticing more mother-writers pulling back in talking specifics about their children. I wonder why this is? Why now? Or maybe this isn’t the case at all and I only feel like I’m noticing it because it’s been so present in my mind. 🙂 xo

  1. crnnoel says:

    Crap, I totally had a whole comment written out and then deleted… doh.
    Anyway 🙂 I get this. So much, and it’s probably why I stay quiet on the blog more, too. And on IG, it’s interesting but I think of it in such less permanent ways than the blog. Like it may not be around forever, as these things sometimes end up… but I am aware that sometimes the kids will ask me not to share things that they say or do – though they think of it more in terms of “don’t tell grammy!” since they hear me sharing about them over the phone. All these lines and boundaries… there’s no clear answer. Do what your gut says. We’ll all keep reading here no matter what you write!

  2. Lara says:

    I feel the same way about instagram though I know it isn’t as harmless as we’d like to think. I rationalize IG by thinking that I’m pretty boring on there. 😉 But yeah, there really isn’t a clear answer. Now watch, I’ll post some highly specific story about one of my kids next week. 😉

  3. SierravBrock says:

    I am so glad that I followed your blog, Lara! This post is the best thing I have read on the internet in a LONG time. I am very cautious of the stories I tell & what I reveal on my own blog, primarily limiting it to my own discoveries, failures, and lessons. I write about myself, not the people in my life. They surround me. They teach me. They know me. And I learn. That becomes my writing. I loved this!

  4. kateywrites says:

    A very eloquent post, Lara. You are certainly not the only one wondering these things, but I haven’t got any easy answers, either. My blog is mostly about books – so my children’s reading habits and pictures of us with books show up there (and on twitter) pretty frequently. At the same time, I consciously choose not to share too much about other details of their lives, or to force them into (being OR reading) stories they wouldn’t pick for themselves. I hope that in this way I form a little cocoon around the “blogged about” part of our life together that makes it feel like a small, safe thing to share, while giving them plenty of room for privacy and self-determination in other parts of their lives.

  5. Dina L. Relles says:

    Navigating with you, as I know you know, and certain you will find your way. I feel as though I evaluate anew what I’m willing to share, and how, with each post, every essay. It’s constantly evolving. Your thoughtfulness and care will continue to guide you–and others too. xoxo

  6. Leslie Kendall Dye says:

    Yes, yes yes. Macro is the key, isn’t it? When we write about parenting, it has to shift to the abstract and away from the anecdotal. Lots of parents have achieved this transition successfully. Anyway, this is a beautiful post on a tough subject. We’re all struggling with it together.

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