Holding back because of the blog

by Jen Lee Reeves on January 4, 2013 · 13 comments

in 2012, blogging, Mommy Thoughts

This past week was a whirlwind of activity for the kids. We drove to Kentucky, Florida and North Carolina to spend time with family and in the middle of it all, we spent four days on the Disney property and snuck in a visit to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. It was an intense amount of time together as a family and for Jordan, a lot of it was spent¬†intensely¬†attached to me. I’m not exactly sure why, but she was clingy. Not a little, but a lot. I almost felt like she was transported back to being a clingy two or three year old.

It felt like Jordan was giving me all of her… every ounce of her love and input. So it took me off guard as we walked down the street of Disney World.

Jordan: “I have a secret.”

Me: “Oh really. It’s okay to tell me secrets. I’ll keep them to myself.”

Jordan: “Except on the blog.”

Me: “What?”

My super bright, kinda-clingy daughter doesn’t trust me. And that crushes me… And makes me want to rethink how I write and share here on Born Just Right.

Two or so years ago, my husband and I discussed ways we could get Jordan involved in Born Just Right so it wouldn’t make her angry about it. We wanted her to feel like she had a personal stake in the site. We wanted her to believe in this community as much as we do. We honestly feel we are in a special position to offer insight and support to special needs families. I don’t want to quit what we’re doing.

But I need her to have an even bigger stake in this site. I need her veto power. I need her to read each post before I hit “Publish.” I want her to trust me and this site. I want her to trust our community. It’s interesting that I’m not the only person feeling the challenge of blogging about our family while giving our children room to be who they want to be offline. I know I backed off on blogging about Cameron dramatically in the last couple of years.

So here’s what I’m thinking. After this post, I plan to read posts to her before I hit publish. In the past, I’ve given her a summary but I haven’t gone beyond that. I’m going to bring her deeper into the editorial process. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them. But for now, I want my daughter to trust me and trust the Born Just Right community. There aren’t any how-to books on what to do when you children are growing up with a blog. I really don’t want to mess up on this.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Addie Rising January 4, 2013 at 7:21 am

Just a thought, but why not have her author a post or two? Or maybe once a week write a topic that she can chime in on with a paragraph or two? “Mommy’s Take and Jordan’s Take”? I know my 8 y.o. LOVES to write.

This raises and excellent point though. My kids know that if I snap a photo of them 9-out-of-10 times it will end up on Facebook and now they want to know what people say in response. It’s such a different world!

Cyndi Kelly January 4, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi Jen,
Wow, I’m sure that was a shocker! I think you are doing a great job of including Jordan on the editorial process. Not sure if there is anything else you could do. I would follow your
instincts and yours and Jordan’s hearts. She will be your guide on how to proceed. It’s funny how kids will guide us without us requesting it or realizing it sometimes. It’s good that they tell us when they don’t like or are bothered by something. It will all work out. Jordan is growing up and will most likely become more and more involved….which will be wonderful for everyone! Great job, MOM!
God Bless,
Cyndi Kelly

jessica peters January 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

I am by far not the writer that you are. I wouldnt even attempt to have a blog! I love what you’re doing here and what you’ve already done. I dont know what my family would be like if I hadnt had you and a few others to help me along the way. Scariest thing . . . I dont know if I would have had as many kids as I did. But I completely support your decision to give Jordan veto power. I think it’s very, very wise. We all have to decide where our line is. I’m on the conservitive side, not even accepting government money because it means I’ll have to take my daughter to specialists that I normally wouldnt have to and in turn she might interpret that as being something other than perfect. I’ve only ever shown her pictures of a handful of children like herself. The fact that I have spent countless hours on the internet talking with other parents and researching her condition is a secret. That’s my line right now. I expect it to change as she grows. I’m happy to be part of a community that supports one another and understands that we all have that changing line.

Patti January 4, 2013 at 7:42 am

I thought about this a bit especially when I was starting Tate’s blog. Right now I’m dealing with an issue with Fisher that I don’t feel comfortable sharing publicly. It’s strange to have something that I feel like I can’t just put out there after so many years of putting everything online! I think running things by her makes a lot of sense. I wonder if as my kids get older I should get more private about my online activity.

Jen Lee Reeves January 4, 2013 at 8:07 am

Thanks all for the input. I do like the idea of Mom’s take and Jordan’s take. I’m sure we’ll experiment with different ideas this year.

Nat Perry January 4, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hi Jen!!

I just want to applaud you for checking in with yourself about this – I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to draw this kind of line in this case. This is new territory as you say, something a lot of new parents including myself are going to have to figure out – what do I post? what do I publish? what pictures? how many? and as an adult (who has a limb difference), I’m not sure how I would feel if I had many pictures and stories about my life already posted online as I grew up – trying to create my own narrative, my own identity when one has already been established – nobody knows – this is all new to everyone.

Thinking of it, if my mom were in your position, I’m pretty sure i’d be very proud of my mom for creating such an incredible community, for finding help and guidance when she needed it – for helping other kids like me connect with other kids who were ‘born just right’.

How little Jordan will feel depends greatly on how you explain things to her, share things and what boundaries you chose with her help. I’m guessing you’ll do a stand up job with this, as despite what you may think, Jordan does trust you. If she didn’t, she would not feel comfortable bringing this up with you the way she did. It sounds like you love and respect your daughter – and she does right back at you – and that, is parenting gold.

Thanks Jen!
Nat Perry

christine January 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

I have thought about this myself. I am not an advocate – I’m a family blogger. My purpose in blogging is to share our family’s lives with our family who lives far away. I often think about how my kids will look back on what I wrote about them; that shapes my blogging style greatly. I think it’s always good to evaluate if your content is fulfilling your purpose and see if there are new ways to achieve connection with your audience. Maybe she would like a blog of her own – it doesn’t have to be public. Does she have a camera?

Tania Tirraoro January 4, 2013 at 11:40 am

Have been through this myself with Special Needs Jungle and my boys. In general, I now make sure any mentions of them make them look clever, cool or quirky. Or, I might mention them if they have an issue that might help other parents (e.g., Vitamin D deficiency).
They might occasionally skim-read the blog via Facebook (where I am barred from tagging in most circumstances) and would say if they didn’t like anything, but I am very careful to put myself in their shoes before I write. I think they trust me and they are quite (quietly) proud that their mum helps other families. I believe Jordan will feel the same about you.
In recent years the blog has expanded around the special needs theme with others’ perspectives and useful resources, so I will always have things to talk about, even without my own boys. You have a unique voice and opportunity to do the same – broadening things you already touch on such as awareness, anti-discrimination, education, resources etc. Your Camp No Limits fundraising is a fantastic initiative – and I hope you’ll be with us at our Experts’ Conference later this year to talk about your work!
My advice: Don’t worry, follow your gut and you won’t go wrong.

Jen Lee Reeves January 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

Jordan has an old iPhone with a camera on it… She loves taking pictures. Maybe a Tumblr is in her future. :-)

Melanie Pierce January 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

My nearly 7 year old, Noah, seems especially self conscious these days as well, and although I know his arm and other people’s reactions to it must add to that, he has also let me know on several occasions that he doesn’t want me posting his comments and pictures on Facebook. It’s frustrating because he’ll do the cutest things, and I so badly want to post them, but if he asks me not to, I know I need to respect his wishes. I know how you feel!

Jen Lee Reeves January 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

@Melanie – Isn’t it fascinating how aware our kids are at such a young age about their social and online footprint. What a wild time to grow up.

Peggy Hakanson January 7, 2013 at 7:24 am

I know what you are going through. I have had to work out how much I share with others about my daughter living with disability. My daughter usually feels that what I share with the adults I am teaching who are living with disabilties as well is all good. She tends to not want me to share as much with the nondisabled community. She doesn’t trust them.

She really appreciates the fact that I ask her permission on all things I share on her life. She also knows that I understand why it is so important that her voice be heard and her wishes adhered to….it is at the crux of the disability movement’s desire for people with disability to be listened to and be empowered to steer their own destinies.

This is your opportunity to show your daughter the power she has to shape her own destiny and how you are there to support that.

Jen Lee Reeves January 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

That’s really wonderful. Thank you, Peggy.

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