Plight of the Blog Dad (and the Kids He Loves)


12 7 lede
photo credit: Ready for takeoff via photopin (license)

Inside the World of Kids of Bloggers. Tune in at 11.

I’m not sure which generation comes after Millennials (we’re not done talking about them, are we?). I do know they’re written about. Tons.

We parent bloggers ‘protect’ them. We refer to them as E and T and B, or use middle names as pseudonyms. We post photos that don’t show their actual faces, sometimes.

But their every move?

Chronicled.

Drafted.

Posted.

reset 217I present you the Age of Blogged About Kids. How will they turn out?

They’re most definitely under a microscope. Like, one of these microscopes. It’s how we get the stories and post ideas, and, for the parent with the quick smartphone finger, the pics to go along with it.

Michelle from Lipstick and Laundry knows this.

In “A Piece of Pie and a Cup of Joe,” she wrote about that transition of not only the kid into teendom, but the parent into that awkward stage of trying to understand the un-understandable.

It’s like solving a Rubix cube with one hand, in the dark, under water, after someone poked you in one eye.

I get this, as the dad with growing daughters.

You want to soak them up, but be cool about it. Ask a lot, but not too much. Take them as a grown up, but remind them of what they were like at age 4, because that’s how we see them, right?

Shit happens. And when it does – happy, sad, indifferent, or hilarious – Grace will turn to me and say, “that’s going in the blog.”

We blog parents are sort of like paparazzi.

Don’t believe me?

Go hold up your smartphone in front of your kids.

reset 032Count the seconds before they cheese.

(Milliseconds are hard, aren’t they?)

I bowled at work with Grace, Marie and one of Marie’s friends on Saturday. I took it all in, the gutter balls, the pizza destroyed, and the laughs. I whipped out the smartphone to get a shot of Grace’s smile.

She spun in her chair.

I reset.

She spun again.

“You’re always taking pictures, dad!” she said. She didn’t want one taken.

I got the picture.

But I won’t use it.

Today, sweet Grace … how about if you’re just … my kid?

Sound good?

# # #

My girls are good girls. They’ll let me shoot pics for this blog. Coach Daddy means the stuff here’s about being a daddy. Kids are crucial to that. At times, lately, there have been struggles between us.

But mostly, in the end, there’s love. And understanding. Even when we don’t really understand. It’s our life.

Some is off limits, but for the most part … they live under a microscope.

A loving microscope. But a microscope, nonetheless.

microscope quote

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56 Replies to “Plight of the Blog Dad (and the Kids He Loves)”

  1. Get this completely and it is a fine line we walk as parents, who blog. I have stopped using my kids first names in tales about them even still use their pics, but their first names now are not something I put out there as easily. I also will think twice about sharing certain things sometimes still. Don’t get me wrong, I do still talk my kids (even today I did) on my blog, but just do try to think before I hit the publish button. So, trust me, can so relate.

    1. It’s tough to just parent and not blog-parent, right Janine? After the first post i wrote about my girls, they wanted me to start using their real first names!

      So much of our interactions, you just want to share. I try not to make it too embarrassing. Grace at first didn’t want me to write about the time she pulled my pants down at a soccer match, but she’s since changed on that!

  2. Mine was perfectly fine with me using his pics and story on my last blog. The current one? I am sure the stories will come over but maybe not the pictures. i know he won’t care, but if I am trying to be more anonymous then I probably should afford the same thing to him, especially now that he’s in the world of colleges and employers and such.

    (not that mine will even let me take a picture of him anymore…holding up the smartphone=scattering like a roach at dawn)

    1. My girls’ interest in this blog wanes and waxes all the time. When you start again, you can set the rules differently. Sometimes it just feels differently, right?

      Mine aren’t much for letting me take their pictures lately, either.

  3. So true! I don’t post a lot of pictures of them on my blog, mostly because I don’t think to take pictures most of the time… Our kids are so used to getting their pictures taken and posted thought aren’t they?? Crazy….

  4. I totally get the dilema. I think about this every time I post something. Although I do use pseudos, I do take pictures of their faces. I don’t know if I’ve balanced it okay, but for now, I think I have. I don’t make money off my blog, so really, I think the people that read me have a genuine interest in my subject which is my life. A journal of sorts. Most of my pictures are candid shots. I usually stay in the background, taking shots while they aren’t looking. I think they call it “lifestyle photography”… I don’t think of myself as a papparazi I think. I have no cell phone so I have to willingly bring my huge Canon reflex camera when I want to take pictures. That always requires some consideration : I can’t jump in puddle with them if I’m holding my very expensive camera. Many of our day-to-day stuff stays unrecorded (except for memories of course). So I “snapshot” some moments for my blog. I rarely talk specifics, I record moods, energies, emotions more than events, places and times. Microspcope? Maybe not as much… I’m not on FB, on twitter, on instagram… Every time I post something, I have to physically sit down, download from the camra, edit and resize the pictures, upload them to my blog, add text… That requires a lot of energy and although I do have that “so gonna make the blog” reaction when something funny or cute happens, the pctures rarely do. I get home, the moent has passed and I ask myself : Is this really going to the blog?

    It’s been a process with me. And that process will be ever changing as my kids get bigger I think.

    1. I’ve definitely written on things not directly related to the girls, and tried to approach it more from a dad’s perspective, but Elise, my oldest, has also guest posted.

      It’s not all evil.

      I’m so slow on the shutter on my smartphone that the kids have plenty of time to take cover – or knock it from my shaking hands.

      I think the process changes too when we have more experience in it, Yanic.

    2. It’s just a judgement call, Yanic. I wonder when I see in my stats that someone has looked at a picture of my girls, and I wonder who, and why.

      I snap photos not primarily for posts, but to look through when the girls aren’t around. They don’t know this. They don’t know that when i can’t be with them, I look at their pictures and miss them.

      I rarely blog about an event right after it happens. Instead, if something of a prompt brings back memories of that event, it’ll get in a post.

  5. all i can say is that most of us honestly do the best we can. i love the quote and my entire family frequently asks,’ is this for a blog?’ anytime i take a picture –

  6. OMG…I loved this Eli. LOVED it. And your timing? Impeccable.

    My kiddo had his first formal dance this weekend, and now how his first real girlfriend. I can’t even…when did time go by so quickly?? I’ve been struggling all weekend.

    But even as I snapped the pictures of theyoung couple in their grown-up attire, I knew they were off-limits to the blog. He loved the Piece of Pie story (thank YOU for the shout out!), but the Longboard one I wrote since- well, his buddies found it and gave him a hard time about being a momma’s boy. Ooopsies.
    You are one of the best daddies I know and I feel so blessed to be your friend.
    Thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart for this poignant piece–and for sharing your kiddos with us. xo

    1. Thanks Michelle. And thanks for the inspiration! I socked away the link to your post for just the right time.

      Love it when posts are well-timed. There’s a lot going on in the mind of we bloggers – much of it is self-inflicted, but it’s like a firecracker factory on July 1.

      Send me a link to the Longboard post!

      I cringe at the best daddies stuff sometimes because I definitely lose. A lot. Lately. But I’ll always try again.

      Thank you for the inspiration and wasting some time over here, Michelle. Quite grateful for you.

  7. I seems like you have a nice balance of stories about and pictures of your daughters. My sons are lucky that they were both out of college and the nest before I started blogging; although, they do still make it into the blog on occasion, especially if they run a race with me.

  8. Oh, yes, this is so true! My little one likes to think she’s famous because she’s in the book The Mother of All Meltdowns, but she has also had me delete some pictures and a video of her that she didn’t like. I’m fine with her edits!

  9. When I started blogging my children were pretty much grown…even had two of them out of the house at college, I asked if they minded if I used their names (none of them had a problem with it) but if I’d known then what I know now i would have used pseudonyms for the sake of their professional reputations.

  10. I believe in your great parenting skills, Eli. Those girls are lucky to have as involved a Dad as you are. 🙂 ♡
    My first year of blogging, I honestly tried to stick to the dating and love stories which strangers, family and friends told me. Soon I changed my “byline” to “Relationships reveal our hearts.” This took another year of writing about Native Americans, same sex relationships, and so forth. When I got my purse stolen while blogging at the library over Mother’s Day. I changed into a Smart Phone (galaxy) user. Once I realized I could post photos, I asked my adult children if the grandies could be featured and they see no reason to hide them. They don’t share my last name. I still say “oldest” and “youngest” daughter but I use their names more, along with my son’s. Any child who is old enough to FB has their face plastered on selfies. My 12 year old granddaughter has hers on her phone sending picture messages all the time. I don’t necessarily agree or approve, Eli.
    But you are not sharing thongs which would embarrass them.
    My kids were upset when I talked about sex in a few posts. I have been open with them and I ignore their concerns. They can unfollow me or not read my posts. Yours may express themselves but it is up to YOU, to decide what you put into your posts.

    1. Oy – I’m the fatherly equivalent of Rudy – not fit for the job, but will try my ass off. It works at times, and at others …

      Blogs evolve, don’t they? And we, as writers. I look at my early stuff and it feels like a different guy I still recognize, in a way.

      Thanks to the Instagram, my girls’ pictures on my blog are a small percentage of what’s online.

      I think I’ve avoided some topics on the blog with them in mind, but as life changes and evolves, some of those topics might become inevitable.

  11. I purposely leave my progeny out of my blog. They occasionally sneak in, yet I figure I wouldn’t want them writing about me. Besides–they will choose which home I may end up in. I better stay on their good side.

  12. The kids are a critical piece in the parenting blogs. While I have posted their photo I, naturally, have nicknamed them. They think it’s funny when someone in real life calls them by their blog name. Crash is constantly asking to make a youtube video or post something he does to my my FB. Generation “look at me”? Great post.

      1. I could never write about kids without the material they give me. I can’t make this stuff up. They are blog fodder. And no, they’re not afraid of the spotlight one bit.

      2. At my girls’ school, they had them participate in assembly and speak/sing/perform in front of the whole school – I think that helped my kids not fear the spotlight, too.

      3. Crash is learning. We’ve always wanted him to have a speaking/singing part at his school’s Christmas concert every year, but he’s been too shy. Last year, though, he did a short reading in church 🙂 Hopefully, he’ll keep learning to “face it without fear”.

  13. I love this and relate so well! I’m always making notes about a situation that’s taking place between my kids and I to share later. They are moments I’m confident other parents can relate to and then there are those times when I’m just as happy to keep that moment all to myself.

    Beautiful post and love the pictures!

    1. Thanks Tiff! It’s really no different than telling a friend about what the kids do – only sometimes a dozen or more people might learn about it too.

      Thanks and I’m glad you love the pics – that one of Grace in the leaves is a favorite of mine.

  14. My boys are such hams… They WANT their pictures taken – and then they want to see them for the next fifteen minutes. Even if I’m just getting a quick pic of a landscape, they want in on the action. And then they want to see it – and take their own photos. Ah, the joys of parenthood!

    1. It’s not only the smartphone pics, Kim. I know kids who have portraits taken every few months!

      I got Grace a disposable camera to take on a camp trip last week. She was baffled that she couldn’t delete pics if she didn’t like them, and couldn’t see them until they were developed!

      Remember when?

  15. Amen!! With three daughters of my own and the oldest recently crossing over into official teenage-dom, I totally get this!

  16. Even my daughter will say that to me and she’s 23. I don’t do it often because that’s not my niche, but I always ask her if she’s okay with it (mostly it’showing off the grandbabies. I mean 1-year-old twins who could help it lol). I think like you said, “some things are just private” and as long as people do that and stick to it then I think it is okay.

  17. This is something I wonder about as my daughters start to get older. I wonder how what I blog about will change with them and their awareness – the need to protect and respect boundaries while also wanting to write about my life and journey – and the huge part parenting plays in it.

    Thanks for a great read!

  18. That’s also one of the reasons I changed my name of my blog from Time out For Mom — because it really was less about them – as Stars; and more about ME – as a whole person. And my eldest, the boy, didn’t necessarily like pics and stories about himself. The girls are young enough that they will pose on command and would literally take over my entire blog if I let them. So now, I mention them (I don’t use real names because of hubby’s job – I don’t need some thug finding us), there are a few pics: but mostly, it’s about my entire journey as a human being.

    1. I suspected you were just running from the law with the name change, Rore. Ultimately, this blog is Coach Daddy, and it’s probably like I’m the narrator and they’re the characters, but the story is mine.

      (Kind of like Wonder Years?)

      Grace wants to start a blog. She wants to write a book with me. We shall see. I’ve gotten only a handful of negative comments and so far only one catfish incident, so the world is good.

      1. Ohhh I miss that show sooo much!! Who will be the voice over narrator for your life? Interesting question right? Maybe a future 6 word prompt? ha.
        I think it’s great she is expressing that she wants to write! I love it when my daughter comes to me with a story she has written. They all look like their father here, so then I feel like there is at least a little bit of me in their DNA somewhere. 🙂

  19. C snuck up on me while I was typing the other day. “What are you doing, Mommy?” I told him I was writing for my blog.
    There was his picture. “Are you always writing about me?” It sounded as if I didn’t have anything else to say, and, well, it’s kind of true 😉
    My mind was racing, until, finally, I responded… “Nope. I also write about Cookie, the Elf!!!”

  20. Cute post. Our kids really are under a microscope compared to how we were as kids. And they can cheese it up to perfection…but we parents aren’t always the culprits. I look over to find my daughter always making cheesy faces into her phone to snapchat her friends. I start to chuckle and she looks at me and says, “What?” I pretend I don’t find her utterly hilarious.

    1. Thanks Charissa! I don’t think our parents cared much about what we were doing! Except when we brought home bad grades.

      Snapchat seems like a lot of work. I’m not sure anyone I’d correspond with would feel the need to see my face so many times!

      Love the story about your daughter, though. This is why there are cameras on the front *and* back.

  21. It’s interesting. And not just for bloggers. It’s for all of us with social media accounts in general.
    Sometimes I joke I’ll have a third kid just to have a baby all over again, and not kids who don’t want their photos taken. Mostly, Scarlet knows about it and signs off on everything. The day that changes? I imagine I’ll change too.
    Or.
    I’ll just have to start using bribery.

    1. Isn’t it? All social mediates are a form of blogger. We do some of the same things on a micro level.

      I think the kids’ choice of whether to have a picture snapped has to do with who’s doing the snapping.

      In this regard, parents often lose. I think you’re stealth enough that pics of your kids will never go away.

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