An Explanation For My Children

Dear Evan and Caroline and Future Hypothetical Offspring,

Congratulations! You have learned to read and also know about the internet! Those are two of the most important things in life, so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a minute. I am not a complete failure as a mother! Speaking of which, I’d like to explain to you why you are here, on the website, looking at words and pictures about yourself that you did not give me permission to post, which some might say DOES make me a failure as a mother so I feel like maybe I should elaborate.

This is my blog, a web log if you will, an internet journal of your lives from the moment I knew you were coming until (enter current date and time here). I have shared many things about our lives here for anyone with an internet connection to read. I’ve told the stories of your births, my fears about motherhood, your milestones and birthdays, your favorite things, special days, normal days, good days, bad days and everything in between. Through those stories, I’ve met and connected with a community of women who have become dear friends. You have met some of them already, and probably many more by the time you read this, and even more who love you even though you have never met. I am so happy to share our lives in a way that has made them more joyful.

Some people think this is a very poor choice on my part, that I show a lack of discretion, intelligence and general self-awareness by making our lives public. I absolutely understand their point of view. There are definitely periods of my life – most of 1996 for example – I wouldn’t be thrilled to see on the internet.  When my dad threatened to show my prom date my baby bath time photos I died dead of embarrassment right there in the living room and never even got to GO to prom. Ok, that’s a lie, but I sure wished the earth would swallow me up before Dad got out the pictures. I imagine you feel like this now, seeing dozens of photos of yourself, many of which you probably think are embarrassing.

But now, as a grown up – and I assure you I will do everything in my power to make sure you are a grown-up some day – I cherish every photo, video, scrapbook, postcard, and slide of my own childhood. I check the back of faded prints to see if they are labeled with names and dates and places so I can fit them into my consciousness. I have a terrible memory, so tangible evidence of things I vaguely recall are precious puzzle pieces. I hope this blog can provide you with all that a more. You’ll have access to hundreds of different days in an instant, with places and exact dates and the names of your friends all recorded. You will have details about your childhood I have long forgotten. Someday, if you have kids of your own, you will have a totally comprehensive guidebook explaining everything you need to know about raising them to be perfect, brilliant, successful humans! Because that’s what I did! Or, depending on how you think you turned out, a very serious warning. Either way, I’m being servicey!

More selfishly, I’ve written things about myself. You’ll probably find posts detailing what we ate for dinner and my knitting projects boring now, but someday I hope you’ll read them, eager to know more about the person your mom was when she wasn’t just your mom. It’s a remarkable thing, realizing your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had lives before you came into the world. Maybe you’ll learn where you got a love for the ocean or why yellow always makes you feel so happy or that your parents were once cool enough to drive a Mustang convertible instead of a minivan.

All that being said, if you decide you are uncomfortable with this – any of this – I will take it down. I’m sure there are posts where I shared more than I should have, told stories that belonged in a baby book instead of a website and forgot you deserve my respect as well as my love. It is just so tempting to shout from the modern-day rooftops that my kids are the cutest and the best and the smartest and the loudest and the most frustrating and the most adored ever. Even though it might be hard for you to believe, sometimes parents make mistakes too, and I apologize if you think this blog is one of mine. Although I’m assuming by now kids get Facebook pages the day they are born and people all wear cameras that record and broadcast their entire life online, Truman Show-style, so my little baby blog is barely a drop in the bucket of your Googleable life. Just please remember the internet is a public place – and I will try to do the same.

I love you,

Mommy

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12 Responses to “An Explanation For My Children”

  1. I love this post so much. It’s as if you are inside my head. I’ve often thought about how exactly I’ll explain my blog to my daughter once she’s old enough to become aware. In fact, I saw Scary Mommy at her book reading yesterday and we talked about this exact topic, so it’s definitely been on my mind lately!

    This is wonderful! I just may be so inspired to write my own version (with obvious brain credit to you for your great idea!).

  2. Sara says:

    I really enjoy your blog, and do not wish to throw oil on the flames, as we say in French, so please feel free to ignore my comment if you think it is not appropriate. How do you decide what to publish and what not to publish? I think your blog gives a very rosy view of your family life and that your children could appreciate that you did not air grievances (if you have any!!!!). Do you think you will stop once your children will go to school and could have peers who find this blog?

    • bebehblog says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful question. There are plenty of, uh, less charming moments in our lives that I don’t share online, but I try to present a true picture of what motherhood is like (in my experience). So there are some posts that are less than rosy. But I don’t want my kids to ever feel like this blog is one long complaint about how they ruined my life, because that is the OPPOSITE of true.

      I think that as the kids get older, I will cut down on how often they are the focus of my writing. I think it is possible to keep writing about them in a way that isn’t harmful or embarrassing. I suppose eventually there won’t be any bebehs in my bebehblog at all, but I hope I can continue to document our lives so someday the kids and their kids will be able to read it.

      • Sara says:

        That sounds very healthy to me. I suppose the trick is to always question oneself and check if the boundaries have changed…Do your non-bloggy friends criticize you????

        • bebehblog says:

          No one has ever criticized me to my face, but I read a conversation on the internet that said mommy bloggers are mostly narcissistic jerks who are willing to sell their kids for a few bucks. And while it is true blogging is partly (sometimes mostly) something I do for me, I am hoping one day they appreciate it too.

          • Emily says:

            Ouch! Where did you read that? I read your letter and Amy’s today, and I wondered what the inspiration was. I think whoever wrote that has only read the blogs where moms dole out advice column after advice column, and make everything from scratch as if it were easy, and never acknowledge that motherhood is tough. I think your blog is honest, and is a healthy balance of the wonderful and the rough of motherhood. I don’t think it could be construed as narcissistic.

          • Brigid Keely says:

            That’s an allegation that’s been around for at least as long as the allegation that Dooce sold her soul to the devil to rake in the millions. Oddly enough, nobody makes that allegation about male parents who write/talk about their kids in books, advice columns, newspaper columns, tv shows, stand up routines, etc. OH GOSH GEE I WONDER WHY HUH.

  3. Kate says:

    I found your blog years ago through the Jezebel commenting community (yeah, not at all weird, Kate) and have been reading without commenting for ages but I have to chime in and say this is my favorite post of yours so far. Your love and concern for your kids really shines through, something that isn’t always evident on mommyblogs. Rock on, mama.

  4. Robyn says:

    Your blog is honestly my favorite, maybe partially because I know you in real life, but also because when I read what you write, I feel good, I laugh, and I can totally relate, even though our lives are pretty different on paper. I HATE reading blogs where people are basically complaining about their kids all the time, and how awful and tough motherhood is. I feel it is really disloyal and I just end up feeling bad for the children. Yes, eveyone has tough days and needs to vent, but a lot of what I have read on other blogs is not what I would want my kids reading one day, or really anyone. Call me old fashion, but that’s how I feel. You on the other hand, do not “complain”. I feel that when you share your tougher parenting days, you aren’t complaining about your kids, and are more just sharing where you are at that day. I think your kids will be totally fine with it, because if nothing else, it shows how you still love them tons and tons even though every day wasn’t perfect :). And i wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ends up being a blogger themselves, so you probably won’t even have much explaining to do anyways.

    • alana says:

      I couldn’t agree more with the comment above. I do not read a lot of blogs but yours is one I come back to consistently. I appreciate the honesty.
      It breaks my heart to read so many posts by moms who constantly complain about their kids, call them names, almost sounding as though they wish they weren’t around.
      Your blog is a refreshing look at motherhood that is not always easy, but it is real and NOT full of posts that will probably break your kids hearts when they grow up and read them.

  5. Jeni says:

    Amen sista friend! I love this letter and totally agree with it. Nobody is perfect, and so what if a small part (or even a big part) of mommy blogging is for ourselves? It’s an outlet, and for me personally it’s a great way to put down all the things I don’t want to forget. Even if the subjects might seem trivial or a bit of an overshare, it’s my prerogative. I too hope that my kiddos will look back through ye olde blog and enjoy it for what it was meant to be, a journal about our lives together.

  6. Meagan says:

    Great post! I found your blog fairly recently and it’s quickly become one of my favorites – so charming and funny but real at the same time. (Your post about the puke at the grocery store -awesome.)
    I think your kids will be thrilled to find your blog someday. I too have a terrible memory and I’m so thankful that my mom remembers so much because she’s one of my greatest parenting resources. But if my kids come to me to find out what their first words were – we’ll probably have to look it up on the blog! :) I do try hard not to overshare, but usually, at least for me, it’s a pretty clear line.

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