on blogging outside a bubble

I have an amazingly happy life. My husband is my best friend and he has been for 15 years. We have two ridiculous cute (or so I’ve been told!) daughters who are healthy and happy and even when they drive us crazy, we love them to bits. We are blessed.

My primary reason for keeping this blog going is to chronicle our lives and to connect with other people dealing with the same stuff. The good, the bad, the funny, the messy- stories of parenting and life. OUR stories of parenting and life.

That’s the key.

We have a large extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, great grandparents, cousins (soooo many cousins!)- all of whom we love dearly and some of them even read this blog (HI, EVERYONE!) It took a while for me to be okay with the Family Blog Reading, because I’ve been blogging since before blogging was Cool. It used to be a secretive, almost dirty word: whoa. You write about your life on the Internet? Sometimes at 3am?? WHAT ABOUT THE CREEPY STALKERS? EEEEEWWW!

So we have these people we love. And even while our little household of four is having a good go at things, sometimes those people we love have horrible, awful things going on in their lives. They get sick. They make mistakes. They have unlucky, crappy things happen to them. They hurt. And that obviously makes US hurt for them. Nobody wants to see the people they care about in a hurty place.

When I hear of these things happening (thankfully, few and far between), my first instinct is to write. I don’t keep a private journal: mine is all on the internet for everyone to see. But not everyone is comfortable with the intimate details of their lives being public (only weirdos. LIKE MEEEE! And you, too, if you have a blog. We’re a strange bunch, aren’t we?) So I’ve made it a point to be sensitive to that and only share MY stories here, not the stories of the people I love. If I can’t share it here, I’ll write in my head. Then it’s gone. (Because my brain is CROWDED, yo.)

It’s hard, sometimes. We do not blog inside a bubble. I certainly don’t- the day I linked my blog feed with my personal Facebook account, I was instantly Public with my weird dorky hobby of oversharing on the Internet. POP! That protective Blogging Bubble was broken. Things we publish here in our little spaces are read by people we don’t even know, sure. But more importantly, these days, they are read by people we know very well- people we know IRL, if you will (“in real life” for you non-bloggy, non-Twittery folks.) So the words we write and the things we share have the potential to hurt or embarrass or shock those we care about. Being careless with a blog post is just not something I want to do. Not smart.

No matter how much I need to get things sorted out in my head and spill my brain and my heart and my feeeeelings.


I guess my point is: we have a responsibility, as bloggers. A responsibility to protect the people we love by not sharing their stories as our own, even if their stories effect us.

If you’re a blogger yourself: do you sometimes struggle with remembering that you don’t blog inside a bubble anymore? Or have you taken steps to make sure that you’re in that bubble and you have the freedom to blog about the stories that aren’t necessarily yours to share? How do you cope with the need to share and write and process when Life Stuff happens? A private journal? Paper journal? Copious amounts of chocolate?



  1. Jesabes

    September 19, 2011 7:22 am

    This is why I’m not crazy about IRL people reading my blog. I haven’t told anyone in my family about mine. It’s not that I write about them and don’t want them to see, it’s more that I write about myself and am embarrassed. Especially since they don’t have blogs (that I know of!), so it would be one-sided sharing. It would be weird if they know all my thoughts and I don’t know theirs. Still, I try to assume they might read and not write anything I don’t want them to know!

    • Jen

      September 19, 2011 12:18 pm

      It took me a LOOOONG time to get past the ’embarrassed about my thoughts’ part of things. Then I realized that hey, this is me, right? They KNOW me in real life, why should this be any different? And since I have control over what I share in the first place, that ended up making it okay. Weird at first (and still sometimes now) but okay.

  2. grumblie j

    September 19, 2011 8:57 am

    girl. i can relate with this SO MUCH. i try to be very careful to only blog MY story, not even jon’s let alone our families or friends. sometimes that means i leave momentous events out of the story but that’s kind of the way it has to be. even for us overshare-ers it’s easy to forget that what we see through these blogs is just a slice of a whole life.

    i hate the facebook bubble. i broke it, once, and never again. my blog isn’t a secret exactly but i don’t pimp it out to people i know either. though both of our families read every word i write, which is… bleh. i try to pretend that’s not happening.

    • Jen

      September 19, 2011 12:19 pm

      The hard part is when there is overlap, right? When Their Story kinda is My Story too? (which is… what prompted this post in the first place. argh.) But it’s not mine to share, at least not right now, even if I’m all jumbled up and need to empty it out. Must find a different outlet. blargh.

      • Cari

        September 19, 2011 3:04 pm

        You need a night out with friends and drinks. When I can’t blog about it (and it happens A LOT for me) that’s what I end up needing. Friends I can talk to face to face who understand.

  3. tehamy

    September 19, 2011 9:05 am

    I think about this stuff all.the.time. Like when my sister had her baby six weeks ago, I would have loved to blog about it, but I didn’t. My sister doesn’t have a blog and I can’t put her life, her story out there. And my husband doesn’t want to really be mentioned on the blog. I do it every once in a while, but never in much detail. I try to honor his wish as much as possible.

    I’m ok with (mostly) public blogging. My friends know about my blog, but I’ve never actually told my family. I have my reasons, and it works. I try not to hurt others feelings, but. when I write posts about the boys, I’m most concerned with what they will think when/if they read my blog one day. If I have 5 posts in a row about Jack, I worry Xander will think I favor Jack. Or if I can’t get through a post about Jack without mentioning Xander, I worry what Jack will think. I don’t ever want them to be hurt by what I write, but at the same time I don’t want them to think it was all roses either. It’s a difficult balance.

    As far as how to deal with those posts that you need to write, but can’t publish, I do just that. I write blog posts that I never have any intention of publishing. It makes me feel better to write what I want, but don’t have to worry about sharing something that I can’t/shouldn’t/don’t want to share. I totally wrote about my sister’s new baby. It’s just a draft that I will never publish, but I can go back and read it and I can show it to the boys when the time is right.

  4. keli

    September 19, 2011 9:06 am

    um, yes. i created a FB page and started linking to my blog before i realized that DUH, people would be reading it now. people that i know. people that i see. but i am fairly certain no one cares about how many times lucy poops a day or what funny thing emma said – which is all i write about. i do have a hard time reading people’s blogs when they are telling someone else’s story – and i have a feeling this will be a struggle for me as emma gets older and becomes aware of what the internet is and who reads about her and lucy. i sometimes wonder if my blog is short-lived … only as long as my girls can’t tell their own stories, kwim?

    • Jen

      September 19, 2011 12:21 pm

      For the record, *I* totally care how many times Lucy poops a day. And especially the funny Emma Things :)

      I wonder if our girls will start blogs of their own at a young age… since it’s like, The Thing To Do now. Then we can just point our Twitter feed to their new blog post.. then leave a comment there… and OMG I THINK MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED BECAUSE MAGGIE WITH A BLOG? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!! aaaaaah

  5. Tara

    September 19, 2011 9:51 am

    My blog has always been public to my family, and I have to remember that my mom reads it and it censors me sometimes. My MIL and I don’t get along, but I can’t blog about her. My older sister drives me batty, but I can’t blog about it. It’s definitely hard to find that balance. Thank the Lord for my husband, IRL friends and Twitter. When my child fell off the exam table at the doctor’s office last week I couldn’t blog about it because my mom would have FREAKED RIGHT OUT. But Twitter was there for me. It saves my mind on a weekly and sometimes daily basis to have you ladies on Twitter.

  6. annonymous me

    September 19, 2011 10:38 am

    i’m with Tara…my family reads my blog (because I started it as a way to share pictures of the kids…I got tired of emailing 6 billion pictures to all the family!). It’s still basically about the kids and life as a SAHM but sometimes I want to share more, but I censor myself because I know they read it. How can I ask other people out there how to deal with a difficult MIL when I know she’ll read it?! How can I vent about my annoying brother/SIL when I know they read it?! So I don’t…but that’s okay because I don’t want to ever publish something I will someday regret putting out there for all the world to read (notice I said *I* will regret, not my kids…I’m pretty sure they’ll regret a naked baby butt picture one day! hehe)

  7. Jenn

    September 19, 2011 12:56 pm

    we have a responsibility, as bloggers. A responsibility to protect the people we love by not sharing their stories as our own, even if their stories effect us.

    This is so true. Like you, I’ve been blogging for a long time (since 1998!), and long gone are the days when blogging was that weird creepy voyeur activity. Now it’s so mainstream, and yes, I have family members and offline friends who read my blog. And like you, I try very hard to remember that their stories are not necessarily mine to share.

  8. Jennifer

    September 19, 2011 1:25 pm

    Sometimes I start writing and realize that the story doesn’t make sense without some background information – usually something about Scott or his family. So I have to scrap what I was going to say and come up with a different way to tell the story.

    I also try really hard not to say negative stuff about family even when it is true and relevant to our current lives. The goal of this is to have a record of our family and I hope the kids will read it someday.

    When does it become their responsibility to tell their own story? When do they become the people we don’t talk about? Probably different for every family and maybe the level of detail shifts over time.

  9. Erica

    September 19, 2011 1:27 pm

    I usually THINK about blogging these things and kind of map it out in my head but then I don’t. I find now that I blog, I sort things out in a bloggy style in my head a lot.

    • Jen

      September 19, 2011 1:35 pm

      YES! I do that. Probably hundreds of blog posts in my head that have never made it to the screen (and probably better that way. heh)

  10. Michelle

    September 19, 2011 2:18 pm

    I tend not to blog about people outside of my immediate family and if a story involves the husband, I ask him if it is OK to blog about it (like the time he swallowed a map pin). I don’t even post pictures of my niece and nephew on Facebook because my sister doesn’t own and account and feels weird about her kids being on the internet, which I respect.

    There are A LOT of things I would like to post but don’t because of all the IRL people who read the blog. It’s hard.

  11. janet

    September 19, 2011 2:24 pm

    Hmm. Well, I give my husband full veto power over anything I write, though I don’t think he’s ever used it and I hardly run things by him ahead of time.

    I think this is partly why I am hesitant to go completely open IRL. I don’t have my blog linked to fb for that reason. But I still have to write as if anyone in my life (boss, mom, etc) is reading. But I also hardly write about things that happened to anyone else. Is it something where you could write it and run it by them first?

  12. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    September 19, 2011 3:18 pm

    Through my own experiences, I discovered the pain I’ve caused other people when I tell their stories on my blog. I quickly learned to focus on my own stories. My own experiences. My own opinions.

    And through the experiences of too many other bloggers, I have seen what happens when people blog much too openly under the guise of anonymity, only to be discovered and outed. From the beginning, people in my life knew about my blog. I’ve never tried to hide.

  13. Sunshine

    September 19, 2011 4:23 pm

    You are very wise. I truly hope everything is OK! :)

  14. Laura

    September 19, 2011 6:02 pm

    By the time I’m okay with writing it for everybody to see, there’s nothing left. This is pretty much why I don’t blog anymore.

    You do well at finding a balance. It’s not something I have ever been able to do.

  15. Melissa

    September 19, 2011 6:04 pm

    I agree with you completely. This is part of the reason I have not returned to my blog, as much as I wanted to, this summer. Plus, none of my IRL family/friends knew about my blog to begin with–I actually don’t like talking about myself *in person*, lol. I’ve been able to blog about difficult things I’ve gone through myself, but when it comes to loved ones… I feel the same way that you do: those are not my stories to share on the internet. I’ve mentioned my mother’s illness (basically just that she has it) without going into detail because it’s just too private… it’s HER going through it, not me. She has given up a lot of her privacy and dignity over the past few months, so I have to preserve what’s left, as much as I can. But I mentioned the existence of her condition to my Twitter friends because she needed prayers, and honestly, I needed a little support. I guess that’s related to what you mentioned in your reply to Cari above… about the part that overlaps into our own lives.

    Things I have always drawn the line at when it comes to blogging about other people: indiscretions, infidelity, things people (other than myself) have done/said while drunk, personal stuff that family/friends are going through, personal stuff other bloggers shared privately. And of course, specifics about my job.

    Hope everything is ok with you and yours. xo

  16. Melissa

    September 19, 2011 6:09 pm

    Oh, and how do I otherwise cope? My husband and my friends (IRL and/or online). A phone call, an email, a coffee or lunch date, or whatever. And when all else fails, I have a good hard cry in the shower and then I’m good to go. lol

  17. Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children

    September 20, 2011 9:25 am

    Sometimes I really miss those days when only strangers and a handful of friends read my blog. I regularly hurt family members feelings with my posts, completely unintentionally. I honestly mean only to poke fun at life, not at their expense. Most of the time, I feel like I have nothing to write about. My life is colored and enriched by everyone around me, life itself isn’t in a bubble.

    I’m constantly trying to balance this. I don’t really having any other way to cope other than feel bad when I write something that may have hurt someone and feel bad when I don’t write something out of the fear that I’m going to hurt someone. I lean more towards the not hurting other, for sure.

  18. Elizabeth

    September 20, 2011 11:29 pm

    I do my damnedest to keep my blog semi-anonymous. A bunch of my friends know about it, but if I have my way, my family will never know about it. I know it’s possible that I will be outed (it’s almost happened), so I do censor a bit, and if I really need to get something off of my chest, I’ll write a post, leave it up for a while, then password protect it out of paranoia.

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