A few things

Motherhood, preteen kids, and privacy. Where’s the line?

Design Mom wrote a thought-provoking post about blogs making a resurgence in 2018, and I’ve heard whispers of it elsewhere in the blogosphere. It resonates with me, deeply — remember when you could stumble on people from all around the world, and their window into their real lives? For me as a new mom, it was like finding a whole group of other young creative women who also had kids and were still doing creative, cool things.  They were my role models, to some extent – proof that life could go on after having a baby. Remember when you felt like you found your people in those early years of motherhood? It’s been a seismic change with the explosion of social media. Much has changed, especially as kids have grown older.  But this next generation of mommy bloggers seems to be, well, … not quite so open to sharing the ups and the downs.  Instagram especially doesn’t feel like a place where real life is shared – so will there be a backlash? I kind of hope so — I hope that we can go back to sharing, unabashedly. Connection happens when there’s this combustion of realness and empathy.

But on the flip side, as the parent of an almost middle-schooler, I’ve realized that the ubiquitous experience of early childhood has given way to the need for greater privacy. My ten year old boy is an individual with his own stories to tell. And thus, I can’t share quite as openly about him as I once did.

This lesson became painfully evident after I thoughtlessly posted a video at Christmas on my private IG acct, which is linked to my FB. The moms all cracked up good-naturedly, and then apparently their kids all saw it too. Jude was teased at school somewhat mercilessly, and it led to a lot of hurt feelings. He came home and said everyone was talking about seeing him on the video and I immediately felt sick at my stomach. I apologized and removed all evidence of the video.

But the damage was already done, wasn’t it? So the lesson was learned, plain and simple: he’s off limits in discussion beyond more surface-y topics. It makes me a little bit sad.

Which leads me to my next question. Where do moms of tweens and teens go for support? The stakes are so much higher, are they not? The issues are harder, more judgment-laden.  I myself have a pretty tight circle of maybe only 3 or 4 women who I could truly share the good, the bad, and the ugly. The potential for isolation? It’s grim.

On a similar topic, The Gift of the Good Enough Mother made sense to me in so many ways.

Finally, the one year anniversary of my Mom’s passing was last week. It was an odd thing to “celebrate”, in some ways. But it felt too important to ignore. The night before, Jude said “Isn’t tomorrow the day?” And I was so surprised that he remembered.

But we gave a nod to the day by celebrating Heaven Day in Mom’s honor. We ate strawberry cake together as a family, because she would have liked that. And earlier in the day, I had coffee with a dear friend whose mom had also passed away on February 1st a few years back, and we talked all about our moms. It felt so good to share her with others like that.

Never be afraid to bring up someone’s loved one who has died, my friends. It feels good to remember her and to know that others remember her too.   It’s far worse to go on through life and everyone acting as if that person never existed.