But What About The Children?

Remember Brigit’s Granny Knickers? Think Floral.

My mother had this little trick she used to do when boys came to visit. As I sat there on the front porch looking cool, my mother would arrive with a handful of washing which she pretended to be in the middle of folding. Except it wasn’t indiscriminate washing, it was my knickers. And it wasn’t knickers of the lacy Victoria Secret kind, it was more knickers of the floral, old, and falling apart at the seams variety.

There is nothing quite like your mother having a conversation with the hunk of your dreams while she uses your floral, waist high bloomers to make a point. So embarrassing.

But that wasn’t all. She did lots of embarrassing things. She took a breath in, she let a breath out. She stood too close to me. She stood too far away. She retold stories of my youth, she didn’t tell the right ones. She made me sit in the front seat, she made me sit in the back seat. She parked the car too close to the action or way too far away. She asked the most embarrassing questions in front of my friends, questions like “Have you got money for lunch?” Or “Would you like me to pick you up later?”

So embarrassing.

I write stories for a living. Some of those stories are about women, some are about traveling, others are about family. I have a personal blog that has become anything but personal. I’ve chosen to share and I’ve had to make decisions about how that impacts my family.

There are so many private events that happen within a family. When we were in Paris something happened that was perhaps the funniest unwritten blog post in history. I knew immediately that I would never be allowed to write about it. And I didn’t. Some things are private, never to be shared.

This morning I woke up to read a comment on a piece of my writing that was shared on an Australian website. It was a post on over-sharing and in hindsight I guess I should have expected that someone would turn a post about over-sharing on Facebook into a post about over-sharing “Mummy Bloggers.”

“…after all you in your blog you trade on your “little travellers” and their lives too (along with your “foofy”) .
Would you like every triumph and disaster of your childhood out there in the public domain for anyone who ever wants to find it. For ever.
Imagine when these adorable little kids hit tweens and teens and their ex-friends go looking for info with which to hurt. They’ll find it in droves thanks to mum (rarely dad) and her blog.
And they’ll use it with glee.
And it will hurt because it’s true and the child’s trust was betrayed.

The comment of course was anonymous. I love that my anonymous friend talked about my foofy. It’s been a week since I’ve talked about my foofy, let’s get it out there again.

I read the comment out to G. “Fair enough” he said with a shrug before straightening his tie and planting a kiss. “See you tonight.”

I hopped in the car with my “adorable little kids” and asked them what they thought of the blog. “I think it’s good” said the second. “It’s fun” said the third. “You don’t write enough stories about me” said the fourth. The blog is set as the home page on the little traveller’s computer so they see it every day. I have often wondered how long it will take before someone goes through it and makes a tally on how many posts were written for each child to be used as evidence in the favourite child contest.

“Do you ever think kids might go through the blog looking for things they could be mean to you about?”

I received a look that didn’t require words, a look that said why on earth would a kid want to read your old lady blog.

“I’ve had kids tell me their Mum reads your blog, and they’ve told me they laughed at a couple of the stories” the first traveller offered (two weeks away from being a teen).

“How did that make you feel?” I asked, sounding just a little too much like Dr Phil.

She shrugged her shoulders. “It didn’t”.

“Would you guys prefer if I just stuck to the stories about the other stuff?”

There was a resounding “No”. Followed by a “Why?”

And then the second little traveller reminded me of something a very wise woman once said.

“It’s none of my business what other people think about me.”

And it’s not.

I write stories for a living. The stories hopefully capture a moment in time, a moment that my family will look at in years to come and fondly remember. Remember when you thought Jesus’ parents were called James and Lily? Remember the pirate ship park in London? Remember when we went to the souk for the first time in Qatar? Remember when I folded your floral underwear on the blog? No, me neither.

Granny Max didn’t really mean to fold the floral underwear in front of the school hunk, she was just getting about her business. Her business of being embarrassing. It’s my job to make sure I don’t post anything that will hurt my children, and I really don’t think I do – but if you do, well, it’s none of my business what you think. That’s between me and my children.

I think right now is the perfect time to say thank you. To those of you who are not anonymous. To those who have left all the gorgeous messages and comments and have popped by to say hi – thank you.

Now, excuse me while me and my foofy head off to the Grade 4/5 basketball Grand Final, because if I’m late for that – they’ll be some serious long term damage.

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