Today I am sharing a link to an interview I gave on Jo Frost’s website that went live today (she was the original Supernanny). It talks about blogging and tweeting as a mom. To read the piece go here or read the text below:
Tell me a little about what compelled you to start writing your blog
Originally I started writing my blog after I completed surgeries and chemotherapy for breast cancer. I posted a few pieces on my Facebook page and when some of my FB friends started asking if they could share them with their own friends and family I decided to start a website so there would be public access to them. At first I wrote about cancer, but I then began writing about grief and loss when my beloved mother-in-law was killed in a car crash in 2009. Eventually I began writing pieces about one of our children’s physical problems.
How you incorporate writing a bit about your children (was it something you were hesitant to do at first or did it feel natural?)
I didn’t originally write about my children. While some of my original pieces were about talking to children about cancer and death, it wasn’t until my mother-in-law died that I began to write specifically about my children and their grief reactions. I was struggling with my own sense of loss and I felt that expressing my family’s reaction to this tragedy would resonate not only with our own friends and family, but also perhaps with other readers. Eventually I began to write about our son Tristan who was born with physical abnormalities in his hands and spine. I think I initially felt very protective of him and didn’t want to write about the things which made/make him different. Ultimately I wanted to share his story because I felt his resilience was representative of the determination I had in dealing with my cancer. I also wanted to use it to share the philanthropic work of Shriners Hospital where he receives treatment and has had surgery.
Has writing about your experiences given you a different perspective on them?
I didn’t write about cancer when I was going through the actual surgeries and treatment. It was only later that I could look back on those experiences and reflect on them in a more coherent and thoughtful way. Because I was in the habit of writing already when my mother-in-law died, it was a natural way to document our feelings. I am glad that I have writings for my children to show in print how we dealt with this loss. My youngest child was three years old when she died; this will be one way we will teach him about her warmth, love, and lasting legacy in our family. When I read the blogposts I made in the days and weeks after her death, I am instantly transported to the world of grief. Readers connected with the mutual experience of losing a loved one, especially a death so sudden.
How would you recommend someone gets started blogging?
One cautionary piece of advice I have to parents who want to start to blog is to be very careful about what you say about your family and your children. Children are constant sources of happiness, frustration, and amusement in different combinations at any given time. However, children also grow up to be adults and may not necessarily appreciate stories about their daily triumphs and defeats shared in public. I always make sure to ask myself whether what I am writing is something my children could potentially be embarrassed about. I don’t say anything about them that would be upsetting to them as they grow older.
I think that blogging can be done well, but also can be done poorly. Blogging is a more informal method of writing but I don’t think that should translate to long ramblings of internal monologue. I think the best blogging is done with short posts meant to convey a particular thought or idea. If that means you have something to say every day, so be it. However, I don’t think you do your readers any favors by writing every day if those posts aren’t well-written or coherent. My attitude is that I want readers to be excited when they see there is a new post.
I only write when I am moved to; I only write when I feel I have something to say. I do not work on a schedule and I don’t publish a post unless I feel it’s saying something that is worth the reader’s time.