Once upon a time, I tried to be a mommy blogger. I wrote stories about raising my son. People followed our journey. Our story was compelling because my son was born with numerous illnesses. We had support from all over the world. Eagerly I shared stories about our life with the world. My stories and blog became relatively well known, and suddenly I amassed thousands of followers. However, I learned quickly that mommy blogging was making me a monster and destroying our privacy. Eventually, mommy blogging became so disruptive and harmful to my family and me that I had to quit my blog.
My blog destroyed my friendships
Mommy bloggers put everything on display for the world to read and see. Heck, I did it too. Every single detail of my life could be packaged into a blog topic. I realized that no conversation I had was off limits for my blog. Any thought or emotion I felt, I could write into a blog and publish.
After writing the article, I would seek validation from my thousands of followers for whatever irked me that day. I started to use my blog as my therapy. However, by putting my dirty laundry out for the world, my entire life was wide open for the world to see. There were no secrets at all anymore. When my life entered that stratosphere, all of my relationships shattered.
I can’t tell you how many angry emails, texts, or phone calls I received in the four years I worked in mommy blogging. Any friendship I had self-imploded in 1200 words or less. After losing all my friendships, I realized I had to quit mommy blogging.
I became full of myself
When I first started writing, I enjoyed sharing my journey with everyone. Many people connected to what I shared, and I felt like my voice mattered. Each day I got messages from readers thanking me for insightful thoughts and ideas. Over time, I found my ego building and feeding off the attention my readers gave me.
Somehow along the way, I began to believe that everything I shared was worth sharing. I started to think that all of my ideas for raising my son were the right ideas. Every single thought, idea, or strategy I used I wrote about and shared with my readers.
When I went on Pinterest, I saw the same kind of blogs from hundreds of other mommy bloggers like me. All of us were writing and advising on parenting. Most of us weren’t experts nor did we have qualifications to give anyone parenting advice.
Quickly, I realized that most mommy bloggers are narcissists that believe they have all the answers for parenting. When I took a step back, I realized I have no answers. Heck, most days I’m just treading water and have no idea what to make for dinner.
My kid lives on junk food, is dependent on his Ipad, and can’t tie his shoes. Nope, I realized I don’t have the answers, and I don’t like being a narcissist.
My child had no privacy
When I wrote about my son, I gave my readers all the gritty details. They learned about all of his struggles and achievements. I shared photos of him in the hospital, sick, and on the potty. Nothing seemed to faze me.
I thought, incorrectly, that sharing about my son would give him and I a documented history of our journey together. However, I didn’t consider that I gave complete strangers online very private details about his life. I shared his medical history, diagnosis, and therapy he received to help him learn.
At some point, it occurred to me that my son’s entire life was documented for not only me but everyone else. When he grew up, whether he liked it or not, other people knew about him from my blog. For better or worse, his story was open for consumption by the public.
Strangers I met at stores recognized me from my articles. People I never met personally identified my son while we were out. I got a little freaked out when complete strangers approached him and knew his name.
As he approached his sixth birthday, I realized I had to change my course. His digital footprint was extensive, and he deserved and needed more privacy. Instead of writing about my child, I knew I had to write about other topics. While I enjoyed sharing our journey, his privacy and safety were more important to me than sharing our stories with other people.
Many mommy bloggers, like me, have children that need and deserve privacy. We must respect them by not oversharing about them to the world.
I got Cyber-bullied and stalked
One of the dark sides of being a public figure is that you get harassed, bullied, and sometimes stalked by followers. Over the five years, I wrote about my son, and I can’t tell you how many times I dealt with stalking.
Readers sent me friend requests, and many of them messaged me. In the early days, I had no boundaries on what I shared with my readers. I thought of my readers as friends, confidants, and I trusted them too quickly. My accessibility was an aspect of my blog that people enjoyed, and I liked having that connection.
On more than a few occasions, readers turned on me for whatever reason. Maybe they didn’t like something I wrote. One person accused me of using our conversations and her knowledge for my blogs. Whatever their motivation, their affection for me turned into hate and ire.
Soon I had people harassing my social media accounts. I got anonymous messages, threats, and phone calls. My social media accounts got reported, taken down, and I had to change my phone number three different times. My entire life was exposed, and my haters capitalized on my vulnerability.
After five years and dozens of virtual stalkers, I decided to hang up my mommy blogging hat. I love to write, but my privacy and safety are more important to me than blogging.
Where am I today?
Today I’m just a writer that shares stories. I don’t give out as many details about my life anymore. My new format gives me more privacy and physical safety. While I enjoyed being a mommy blogger for those years, I am glad I changed courses and started writing on different topics.
Hopefully, by sharing my story, I can help others understand the risks in blogging. Being a mommy blogger means your entire life is on display for the world. With exposure comes attention from thousands of people. Sometimes the attention you receive will be destructive and harmful.
If you get to a place where you feel you are unsafe, remember that there is no harm in walking away.
Walking away from mommy blogging was the best choice I’ve ever made.