Mummy bloggers. I fell in love with them whilst pregnant with you. They spoke my language, felt my pain, shared my joy and allowed me to wrap myself further into the natural arms of motherhood that those first precious newborn months brings.
And now I’m one of them.
I’ve shared so much of our lives and our happy captures, we’ve documented our struggles and our down days. Revelled in milestones and sympathised in the mayhem of childhood.
And all the while I’ve never really stopped to wonder whether the stories I tell of you, of your ups and downs, temperatures and tantrums, difficulties and dangers – whether in fact, they are actually my story to tell at all.
Because looking at you today, pushing my ever-present camera away and scowling your best scowl, the thought struck me…
am I sharing a life and a childhood…telling a story that isn’t mine to tell?
Am I taking something that’s yours and selling it to the world before you’re even aware enough to object?
I wonder and worry if you will look back on this blog and my social media one day and hate me for discussing your first steps?
Will you be mortified by the fact that thousands of people, strangers to you and I, have watched you singing nursery rhymes?
Will you wish that the mean girls on the school bus had never been able to trawl footage of you on YouTube and play it at top volume on their phones for everyone to laugh at?
Will you hate me when your first boyfriend stumbles across me wailing about how you won’t use the potty or that people you meet might know more about your childhood than you even do? That strangers might know your sleep habits, likes & dislikes, quirks and little nuances because I shared them so freely.
I’ve shared so much, captured and documented your babyhood for myself to treasure that it almost feels like it’s been and continues to be as slightly selfish, indulgent attempt to cling on to your early years.
Of course, I know that I write about your babyhood so that other mothers feel less alone, or at least feel more informed in their own journey but in doing so have I made a big mistake? Are you going to feel as though your childhood was not merely yours, or even ours but actually partly owned by the rest of the world too? Have I just used your privacy and blissful ignorance as a case study for other mum’s?
I hope that you won’t think so but I’m worried that you will.
Whilst writing and sharing my days as your mum, I only think of those reading, as other mums’ who might enjoy these stories or information and in my head, of course, they only ever have a good heart. It never occurs to me that I’m giving your childhood away on a plate. That I’ve given strangers a sacred and precious look at your early and formative years. Opened our front door to everyone whether lovely or not. It never occurs to me until now. Until today.
So today I stop. I will stop to think before I post an image of you. I will stop to think before I bemoan a bad or difficult phase, night or day as your mum. I will stop to think before sharing your stories, our memories and your childhood.
And I stop right here, right now, to apologise for all of your story that I’ve shared with the world. For all that was too much, for all that might follow you one day into adulthood. Because whilst motherhood may be my story to tell, your childhood is not.
And for that I’m sorry.