No question today, just a rare vent.
I was the speaker last night at Barefoot Books in Concord, (a fabulous book store, more on that another time) at an event for mommy bloggers, co-sponsored by Boston Parent Bloggers and Raising a Reader Massachusetts. Billing me as "Boston's Original Mommy Blogger," they wanted me to talk about how I managed to separate my own parenting experience from my 19 years of writing the Globe's parenting column, which I began when my son was 6-months old.
The truth is, it was never hard. I don't ever remember writing in the first person and rarely referred to my son. That was for safety reasons, sure, but mostly it had to do -- at least in the beginning -- with the baggage I brought to the job: I was a news reporter, schooled to keep myself out of the story. By the time my son was 4, though, I also came to the realization that keeping him out of my copy was in his -- and our -- best interests. By our, I mean, our relationship.
Last night, I gave these moms the advice I lived by: "Keep your kids out of your blogs, -- don't use their names and certainly don't use their pictures." No matter how cute they are, how charming the stories, no matter that your children may be too young to know you're writing about them, it can come back to bite you. Most children do not want the public's attention on them, even in a good way, and what they don't seem to mind at age 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 could turn someday into resentment: "Mom! How could you?!"
In that context, it made sense that one of the moms asked my opinion about this week's Time magazine cover. I hadn't seen it, so someone pulled it up on their phone.
I'm not talking about the content, which is on attachment parenting; the content is beside the point.
Even if this mom was willing (and I assume she was) to pose as provocatively as she did and to include her own son in the photo, wasn't there someone who could have said to her, "You know, you might want to rethink this picture...."
And even if she said, "It's OK, honest," surely some of Time's journalists are also parents, not to mention former kids themselves who might remember being embarrassed by something their mom did, something big that might have put a dent in their relationship, something that might have been, well, as hard to live down as this photo will be? Surely someone could have said, "We may just be ruining this kid's life by putting this picture on our cover. Do we really want to do that?"
Shame on you, Time.
Oh. And just for the record, moms nursing older children isn't exactly a new trend. Here's my column on the subject.