At least once a week, I get the opportunity to write a snarky blog post about a celebrity mom who uses her birth announcement to promote her new shoe line or a former boy band dad plastering his child’s face on a collection of lullabies he’s shilling. Sometimes, I refer to these bits of celeb parent branding as a form of exploitation, because moms and dads are using their children to further their career and market their business. Invariably, someone in the comments well say, “You write mommy blogs. You do the same thing.” And here’s how I would like to respond to those comments.
First of all,Â touchÃ©! It’s a valid point. And it’s an issue that I’ve wrestled with as a writer for quite some time now. I constantly worry about how much information I should share about my daughter. I get a voice in the back of my head yelling, “Hypocrite!” at me whenever I use a cute anecdote about my child to make a post more interesting or enjoyable. I realize that moms who write about parenthood have a large incentive to share as much private information about their families as possible so that readers become invested in their stories and opinions.
All of that being said, I still think that there is a degree of separation between working in a media outlet that covers parenting, and sometimes volunteering personal stories to demonstrate a point or share an idea, and building a brand with which to promote products and advance your career around your entity as a parent.
Here’s how I square the whole thing in my head.
First of all, my daughter still has a degree of anonymity. The name that appears at the top of my posts is not my legal name. (I’m so sorry to break it to you all.) And while I have talked about my small Midwestern city before, this place still has more than 200,000 people. It’s not as simple as walking down Main Street and inquiring about the writer lady with a daughter in pre-k. Aside from a brief segment on Good Morning America a year ago, I don’t use her picture to illustrate my posts. The only people who would read my stories and actually know the child they apply to are people who I have specifically informed of my writing: family and friends.
There is always the argument about what happens when a story you put out on the internet gets picked up by larger media outlets and thrusts you into the spotlight. This is a chance that bloggers take. It’s one that I took after writing about my daughter and make-up. I saw what happened when that story made it to a morning show and swirled around the internet for a while. And honestly, as my daughter gets older, I plan on sharing less and less of her adorableness with the world.