Mommy bloggers walk a fine line between TMI, snark

Me, Myself... as Mommy.

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If you thought mommy blogger was a job with few risks, you haven’t been searching the Internet.

A job description should warn about incessant bullying, and snark. Though it’s hard to read that a person you’ve never met hates you, it also comes with the territory. The World Wide Web is not a hate-free zone; in fact, the nasty discourse is what makes the Net the Net.

Mommy bloggers are easy targets; they lay it bare for anyone to comment on. For me, a majority of mommy bloggers are so obnoxious, I feel like jamming my nail file into my eyeball. These women ooze artificial love, lacing their prose with flowery lies about the 100 percent beauty of raising children, and co-parenting with a person who brings his/her own experiences to the table.

In all honesty, these Stepford moms are just like the rest of us, wishing they had a dog crate to house our children when we just can’t take it anymore.

I write this column as honestly as I can. I don’t have trouble in my marriage, finances or mental health, but I often find myself confused about how to raise my babies into functioning adults … actually, about how to make sure they don’t embarrass me in restaurants.

I thought writing about my life would be all roses and candy, not realizing the violent backlash against women like myself. Women who overshare their lives online, as well as their husbands’ and children’s, without their permission are becoming social pariahs.

Sharing stories about my husband’s struggle with getting cut, Scarlett’s battle with turning from a toddler into a little girl, and my general concern over screwing up this huge job are all done in hopes of someone picking me up, dusting me off and saying: You’re doing fine — carry on.

This is the greatest opportunity to connect with people who know more than I, a chance for them to teach me lessons they’ve learned.

There are obviously some major pitfalls with this thinking process; either some sadist via his computer is cheering me on, or I open myself up to some serious hatred. There are a few I can connect with, but a large portion of the Internet doesn’t owe me anything, and don’t know me, so I get snark.

It wasn’t until I read some of this website that takes mommy bloggers to task that I began to rethink my decision to write about my children. Some of the things written on these sites can be downright destructive; some carry a great point — doesn’t my kid deserve her privacy?

Scarlett is nearly 4 years old and, as cliché as it sounds, she will be old enough to read, Google and die from embarrassment at the things I have written. Endless lists of her actions are outlined not only in the newspaper but online, where they are permanently placed for her and her peers to read. Are these stories mine to share?

Erma Bombeck is one of the most well-known columnists, a mommy blogger before there was even a word to describe it. If you read her essays, you find she never exploited her children. Bombeck didn’t participate in the art of oversharing; she kept things general, taking it to a place that most mothers could relate. And she was at the top of the game.

I can’t say why mothers started sharing intimate details online, maybe because the Internet is so impersonal, or my generation doesn’t subscribe to the suffer-in-silence motto. Another reason could be mommy blogging is now a lucrative business where one earns those hits by oversharing.

I fully realize I’m lucky to have this column. I realize I’m lucky my dear editor allows me to splatter my thoughts about the pages of Hers. But I now realize my lack of realization of what it would mean to write about my children.

So, I’ve decided to tone it down, to think what’s crossing the line of TMI on my daughter and son’s life.

That said, I will still cry out to you when I need direction. The amount of information, advice and anecdotes that have been shared on Hers helped me make huge decisions on the well-being of my family.

Hearing new perspectives from women and men opening their Tuesday paper, taking to their keyboards to guide me, are a huge reason why I am grateful to get this space on the first page. So, thank you.

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