I've been thinking about this post for a long time. Probably as long as I've been blogging (which is a long time now). After being part of the "Circle of Moms" contest last month, it really hit home how much I talk about my girls - but never show you who they are. Well, there's a reason.
We hadn't yet started a family with the release of my first cookbook (The Everyday Vegan) - but had our first baby shortly after. By the time my second cookbook (Vive le Vegan) was published, our daughter was 2 1/2. As many of you know, she is on the cover of that book and inside in some family photos. So, it might seem odd that I haven't shared other photos of our girls since.
Once I started blogging and my profile as an author increased, hubby and I talked about this issue. I decided that I didn't want to continue to show photos of our girls (as our family was expanding). It's not that I don't want to share them with you. I'd love to. And, I'm not critical of other bloggers that do share their family moments. It's just not right for me, for a few reasons....
First, and this is most unusual to say, but when I was a child we had a voyeur (or what we called a 'peeping tom') at our house, for many years. While we joke about it at times as adults, as a kid it was no joke. I won't go into details but it's enough to say that an experience like that doesn't ever leave you. I never assume that a house is safe because of a particular neighbourhood, or that a blog is friendly because of the people you know reading it. Because there are many you don't know. Sounds paranoid, I get that. But, it's part of the reason I keep my children largely anonymous on my blog - at least until they have grown and gained more maturity and independence.
Second, I guess I have felt that this is my journey, not theirs. I am a cookbook author, they are kids. I don't want their lives to be about "being on mommy's blog", or "being on the internet"... children don't understand the depth and breadth of the internet. I know for my own daughters - they think that if they are on the internet, they are "famous". I don't want their self-worth to be attached to my work. And, I also want to separate my girls from my work so that my recipes stand on their own. I started writing recipes before having children, and though I've evolved greatly due to my role as a mother, I still want my recipes to be about healthy food (whether for adults, kids, or both) that is damn delicious!
Third, I don't have everything figured out as a mother - or an individual. I am learning along the way, like everyone else. Yes, I'd LOVE to show you photos of my toddler in her cute pj's and mussy hair, and our middle girls with the biggest smile imaginable eating chocolate pudding, and our eldest with the biggest smile ever eating strawberries, and all the beautiful moments of joy, love, play, excitement, innocence, pure beauty in between. How I would LOVE to share that. But - I wouldn't also be sharing the sucky, painful, and frustrating moments. The times I am completely and utterly overwhelmed as a mother - or feel like I am messing everything up. The fights between the girls, the times I've shouted and screamed, or sobbed or felt enraged. The postpartum days and months to follow that are gruelling and lonely and sometimes depressing... and for me led to lengthy bouts of insomnia. The endless cleaning and mess - and seemingly endless bickering! The times I think I'm royally messing everything up as a mother and screwing up my children. The individual challenges we have with each child, and with ourselves in parenting these children. The parts of my life as a mom that are far from perfect. Yes, I realize we want to see the perfect, the beautiful, the fantasized family moments. But, any mom will tell you that just isn't real life. Yet when we look at those images elsewhere we have brief thoughts that "oh they have it figured out". None of us do, it's only part of the picture. I feel blessed in my life. Blessed to have my family, my husband, and our children. I am grateful for them everyday. Yet, life with children isn't one-dimensional, and I don't want to present it as such.
So, there. If you've wondered 'why doesn't Dreena show photos of her kidlets?' - there's your answer. It's a very personal feeling; I am not judging or criticizing other moms blogging their children - just doesn't sit right for me.
If you are a mom and reading, I'd love to hear from you. Or, if you're not a mom and reading and have thoughts on this, would love to hear form you too.
With that I hit 'publish' (with some trepidation). Thanks for understanding, and for being part of my readership. xx's