We’ve covered platforms (and you taught me a thing or two as well) and we have covered naming your blog. Now we come to one of the most important decisions you will make as a mom blogger. To name or not to name. Meaning, to use your real name and the real names of your children or to stay as anonymous as possible. This is an important decision for any blogger, but if you are going to be blogging about your children, this is one decision you really need to ponder. You must decide what is right for you and for your family. For as many women who are mom bloggers there are that many different opinions and reasons as to whether or not to use real names.
When I originally started my blog, I had cute names for the kids. As my freelance career started to move forward, my name was getting out there, I lost my own anonymity. And to be perfectly honest, I had a hard time remembering which child was called what. It took a certain authenticity out of my writing. So, I started to use the real names of my children.
Some mom bloggers don’t think twice about using the real name of their child. Take Heather Armstrong of Dooce for instance. Not only does she use her daughter’s name, Leta, she publishes monthly letters to her and talks freely about her life as a mom and her child’s life. Another great example of a mom blogger using real names is Liz of Mom 101. She even petitioned the Internet to help her name her new baby. (To the best of my knowledge, they did not go with anyone’s suggestion. Which, in actuality is fine because we all know eventually most moms end up calling their kids by their dog’s name anyway.)
We have some moms who choose not to use their own names or the names of their family members. They come up with amazingly creative ways to refer to their offspring. Which leads to the question, “How long will you be able to stick with nicknames if you choose them?” If you start with a nickname, you should either stick with it or come up with a creative way to change it. Some mom bloggers do this with humor and grace. I have used her as an example before, but it makes me laugh. Busy Mom refers to her three children as (wait for it…) Busy Girl, Busy Boy and –my favorite– the Not Yet Kindergartener Formerly Known as the Preschooler Formerly Known as Busy Baby. I cannot wait for that baby to hit high school. His name will be a blog entry in and of itself.
Some women choose to blog using their own first name but choose to keep the names of their children out of it. Rather than trying to come up with a cute nickname or a name they will forget, they make up the names of their children and use those instead. Sort of like a chance to rename all of your children if you had to do it all over again. A blog that admits to this is Rocks In My Dryer.
I’m a 30-something stay-at-home mom to four kids: Adam (age 9), Stephen (age 8), Joseph (age 6) and Corrie (age 2). Those aren’t their real names, and yes, as a matter of fact, I HAVE mistakenly called them by their “blog names” before.
I know of several bloggers who do this, but if they don’t admit to it, I am not going to call them out here. I just want you to know that it is an option to just make up names for your children. If it makes you feel better keeping their anonymity, I recommend this route. Let’s face it, little “Cutie-Pie-Baby” won’t be a baby forever. One day (and trust me on this because I have one in my house) they become teenagers. They do get mad being referred to as “Cutie-Pie-Baby.” (They are not too fond of “Surly Teen With An Attitude” either.) If you have always called your child Fred, he can remain Fred regardless of age or personality. If their blog name changes with each age, it may get confusing for not only your readers, but for you as well.
So, why would you want to keep as much information private? Because the Internet is not just the nice corner of people who leave comments on your blog. It is not just your fans. It is vast and not always nice. Some women feel it is crucial to keep as much information as they can as private as possible for their safety and the safety of their children. Some were put into that position due to ugly circumstances. Take Moody Mama. She keeps everything as neutral as possible for former harassment reasons. Now, if you want to know about her you can learn that her children are MB1 through MB5 and MG and that she is married to Moody Dad. That keeps her world as small as she must have it.
The whole point of this part of the series is to make you think. And to show you that you have options when it comes to using real names on your mom blog. You must remember one thing: No matter how small your corner of the Internet is, unless you have a password protected blog, you have no idea who is reading it. You must find a comfort level with the amount of information that you put out there. If you know that it is already there and you and your family have a comfort level with that, go for the real deal. If you don’t care about your name but want to protect your children’s names at all costs, go with a nickname or just make up a name for them. And remember, you do have the option to try to keep everything anonymous. I do have to warn you about that one, though. One bit of information that is too revealing and you can get Googled and outed. Not that I am trying to scare you. I just want you to be aware that there are people out there that if given a reason, they will do what they can to try to figure out who you are. So be careful with anything you put out there if you want to truly be unidentifiable.
Remember that through your words, you are showing off your family to the world. Which leads me to the next segment in our series: Do I use pictures of my kids online? Why or why not?
~Jenn is going to go see if she can talk her children into letting her rename them “Not-Me”, “Hey-You”, and “I-Don’t-Know” since she hears those names so often at home.~
You can also find my writing at Mommy Needs Coffee, Mommybloggers and Aggroqueen.
img source: Elmwood Magic
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