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, because of the jealous 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?”
Regardless, you 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.