As per usual, my timing is flawless. My blog, which I've been writing for close to five years now, has just become the newest member of the ChicagoNow family of bloggers, right in time for the Mommy Blogger Backlash.
Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who seem to think women exploiting their children for personal gain is wrong. Well, to them I say, "What else should we exploit our children for?"
My husband gave me the bad news the other day, about the teenage girl who stood up to her famous mommy blogger and told her, in so many words, to knock it off. The mommy blogger in question is Heather B. Armstrong and her blog is called "Dooce" and when you read her blog entry http://www.dooce.com/2010/08/09/older-child on her self-censorship it's really quite touching. I didn't want to like Dooce, mostly because of the evil inner- competitor in me, and also because her husband was able to quit his job just to manage her. Plus it's been reported they bought a big new house. I couldn't help it, though. I like her blog. She's funny. But her self-disclosure set up a media frenzy and like all good media-based ethical frenzies they force us to question our actions and motives, not to mention our career choices.
I've tried over the years to be careful what I write about my children.
I don't disclose where they go to school, or where we live, or tell
stories I think would embarrass them (too much). I've pulled pictures at
their request and run ideas by them. (My husband's actually the more
sensitive one, afraid I'll portray him unfairly as the hapless husband
doofus character we see in so many bad sit-coms.) I used to comfort all
of them with my relative lack of fame in the blogosphere, saying things
like, "My blog just doesn't generate that much traffic. It only got
twenty hits yesterday, and I know ten of them were Grandma."
So when the ChicagoNow opportunity came knocking, I worried it would
change things. For a while, I considered not doing it. Then weirdly, my
family talked me into it. After much soul-searching, angst and
writerly self-doubt on my part, we had an open and frank discussion
about whether or not they minded being the subject of my writings and
how they would feel if I actually did become famous and didn't any of
them really want a big new house? My husband, stopping short of
quitting his job, even performed a spot-on impression of Mr. Potter from
the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" when he asked, "Oh, confound it, man,
are you afraid of success?"
will now find me here fighting against the Mommy Blogger Backlash,
exploiting my family for personal gain. Because if I didn't find a
reason to laugh a little bit every day, as anyone who's ever bought a
stock I recommended, or stood behind me in the checkout line at Jewel
can surely attest, I would find myself crying over my flawless timing.