My Daughter Googled Me And Now She’s Pissed

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While I more often than not see the benefit of mommy bloggers, I have to tell you, I recently found myself in a position where I actually thought, “Crap, I think I may have to stop writing about motherhood.” This was thanks to Google Search. Or rather thanks to my daughter, who recently learned what Google Search is and how to use it.

I have to admit that my daughter is pretty damn smart. Thanks to her future stepsisters, who don’t believe that stuffed animals can talk (they are 10 and 12), my daughter started to doubt her own belief. For her entire life, I’ve been telling her that of course stuffed animals are real. And of course they can talk to her. But then she got her own iPad and that’s when I was sort of busted.

She actually Google searched “Are stuffed animals real?” with her future stepsisters, and one of the things that came up was a post I had written about how my daughter freaked out when she took Ellie (her stuffed animal) into a pool and poor Ellie drowned. (Of course I gave Ellie mouth-to-mouth and she was just fine after that.) In the post, I had asked, “Is eight years old too old to believe that stuffed animals are real?”

This is what followed after my daughter Google searched “Are stuffed animals real?” and found my post: Tears. Lots and lots of tears. “Why did you write that if stuffed animals are real?” my daughter asked, tears streaming down her face. My heart felt like it was breaking. There is nothing worse than seeing your child cry, especially if you are the cause of her tears.

To make a longer story short, I basically told her that I’m a writer and that not everything I write is true, like reading a book, and that I was just asking other people if they believed stuffed animals were real. “But how come Ellie won’t talk to anyone but me?” my daughter pressed. I felt extremely bad for my daughter, but inside I was fuming. I was fuming at Google Search! [tagbox tag=”mommy bloggers”]

I told my daughter that stuffed animals only talk to people who believe that stuffed animals can talk. I also told her that I believe stuffed animals are real. My daughter was satiated with these answers. But for how long? Shortly after, I was on vacation with my fiancé, his children and my daughter. At every resort now, they have “teen clubs” that have computers for guests use. Every evening the kids went down to the “club” and played on the computers. I have to say that my daughter is very proud of me (which is nice!). She loves that I’m a writer and especially loves when I write about her and that some publications ask for photos of her (she loves seeing herself in newspapers and magazines).

One night, I found out after they visited the club that again my daughter Google Searched me, but this time she “Google Image” searched me and pulled up photos of me on the screen so her new friends she had just met could see her mother. What she pulled up were photos of me lying sexily in lingerie that went along with a story I did about boudoir photography. The good news is I look damn good in the photos. The bad news is I didn’t really want strangers (especially little children) looking at me in lingerie.

The most ironic thing about all this is that I don’t allow my daughter at home to be on a computer. She doesn’t have her own computer, and she knows that she is not to touch mine, under any circumstances. But this year at school, sometimes her homework is to go home and Google search people who are coming into her class to speak (for example, a paraplegic who climbed a mountain). I’m at her side when she does this, but along with iPads, and computers at other people’s homes or other places, I can’t really control her computer use. And I certainly can’t control “Google Search.”

I think about all the things that have been written about me in the past (some completely untrue and even slanderous, some objective, sort of, but that I don’t want my daughter to know about, like bad reviews of books I’ve written). No matter how open and close I am with my daughter, I just know I’ll have a lot of explaining to do one day thanks to all my writing about her.

And I think about all the mommy bloggers who admit things (which I do think provides a service to other mothers and women who need to know that others are going through or have gone through the same circumstances or experiences as them) and I just want to warn them, “Your baby might not be able to find their own ears now, but one day they will be able to read…and Google search!”

I’m trying to look at the positives, and there is only one thing I can come up with. I’ve never had a sex tape leaked. And I never plan to film a sex tape. And, I suppose, I’m glad she can…read?

(Photo: Hemera)


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  2. Jen

    March 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Rebecca: If your daughter is old enough to use google search, she’s too old to believe stuffed animals can talk if you just really believe enough. That just should be a rule of thumb. You write so often about your concern for your daughter from an academic standpoint, yet you don’t think it might be a problem that you continue to lie about really basic things to her?

    I think you could actually use this whole situation as a teachable moment though. Why not talk about the fact that not everything on the internet is reliable or intended for a young audience. Discuss the fact that google searches are not magic and that many of the things they turn up are either wrong or not for little kids to see or read. Talk about safe internet practices, including asking adults for help anytime she wants to use the internet and make it clear that she can always feel free to come to you whenever she has questions or concerns about something someone else shows her on the internet. Perhaps being a bit more honest with her could also be a useful.

  3. Jillian83

    March 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I agree with Jen. Children grow up and sometimes they learn stuffed animals don’t talk (though my 4 year old God Daughter already knows that) Santa isn’t real etc.

    She’s old enough to know stuffed animals don’t talk. She clearly is having doubts if she is asking you…and when she googled you should have come clean. If your stance is honesty is the best policy, then be honest with her. You sound like a great mom, I’m sure she can handle stuffed animals not talking…don’t hold her back because you aren’t ready to give up your “baby” yet.

  4. Pamala

    March 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’m stuck on the fact that your 8 year old believes that stuff animals are real. I must be a meany because when my daughter asks me if stuff animals are real I’ve always told her no. She’s five and I’ve never told her they are real. Things like Santa, the tooth fairy, etc, make sense. But stuff animals? How can she ever figure out reality verses make believe if her mother doesn’t teach her?

    • kate

      March 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      thank you. My kids (that are old enough to talk) are 3 and 6. they constantly ask if things are real “is curious george real?” no. “are my action figures real?” no. “is Bob who sells furniture where we got our bunkbeds real?” yes. yes he is, and his commercials are very annoying. I had trouble getting passed the whole “stuffed animals are real” thing to even concentrate on what the article was about…glad Im not the only meanie parent out there 😉

  5. K.

    March 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    “I feel the same way about her believing in stuffed animals as I did getting her off the bottle. One day, she just stopped. I threw out the bottles. There were absolutely no problems. Do you see any teenagers who believe that stuffed animals are real? Exactly.” – This is what you wrote in the linked article.
    But, did you chase her around with the bottle trying to desperately convince her to keep drinking from it? No. I think this is what you’re doing now, she is clearly old enough to stop believing as she went on the internet to search for the truth. The fact that you’re making up more and more elaborate lies to keep her convinced stuffed animals are real means that one day she will be stuck with this awful realisation that you actively lied to her when she asked for the truth. Yes, you lied. There is a difference between trying to foster imagination and creativity in a child and lying to them. I really think she was more upset about the possibility that you lied than the fact that her animals aren’t real.

    • CER

      March 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      I agree with this 100%. When I was in first grade a girl in my class told me that the Tooth Fairy was just my parents. I was very distressed by this but when I asked my mom she told me the truth. I very clearly remember then asking her “…is it the same for Santa Claus??” I don’t think she wanted to but she told me the truth. And I was kind of upset but, as an adult who remembers this interaction, I am so grateful to her for not lying to me because I would have remembered it. Instead of the memory I have (which overall is kind of pleasant, in a weird way) I would remember her lying to my face. For whatever it’s worth, my dad was apparently not thrilled that she told me but I have always thought she did the right thing. At the time, it honestly never struck me that they’d been “lying” to me about Santa Claus, but I definitely would have thought of it that way later had she not told me the truth when I very seriously asked. I think it’s nice to try and build up these imaginative things (Santa, talking stuffed animals, whatever) but if your child is seriously looking for answers and asks you point blank if something is real or not, you really should tell the truth.

  6. Brooke

    March 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I guess I’m confused how you don’t want strangers to see pictures of you in lingerie that are posted on the Internet that accompany a story.

    Rather than focus on convincing her stuffed animals are real, you could use the whole Google Search issue to prove that the Internet is forever.

  7. elizabeth

    March 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    so apparently no one has ever read ‘the velveteen rabbit’ to this kid. sure, some stuffed animals are real. but only the really special ones.

  8. Jamie

    March 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Why is everyone jumping all over this writer for wanting to keep a little magic alive for her daughter?
    Not to mention the fact that this barely has anything to do with the article.

    I have been very careful not to slander my children online. Anywhere online. I would be so hurt if I discovered that all the personal things that I went through growing up were posted on the internet for all to see. I would never forgive my parents for that.
    Think about it.
    We’re really into over sharing information these days and I think it needs to stop.

  9. badbadwebbis

    March 22, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I don’t mean to be rude, but hadn’t this possibility occurred to you before? Shouldn’t you have expected her to Google you at some point, and prepared her in advance for the fact that you, as an adult, behave in a certain way on the internet that is not appropriate for her or her friends to be viewing?

    I’m sure she’ll love the article about how you were drunk and knocked up and all that….and believe me, if she doesn’t find it, her friends will.

  10. The Mommy Psychologist

    March 22, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Hey- at least you looked good!

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”

  11. Katie

    March 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Given that you blog under your real name.. duh? Wasnt that a really obvious thing to have happen? Again, real name to accompany the sexy pictures. Much can be said for a pseudonym.

    Im another one who thinks the real toys thing is pushing it a bit. Its all well and good when the kids are little (that said, I never told my daughter that her toys are real, never had a reason to), but you dont have a little girl there. My daughter is the same age as yours, and if theyre anything alike developmentally, my Sage is questioning everything, and she’s starting to think logically about things, and I really couldnt imagine flat out lying to her for the sake of continuing on a fairytale that she has outgrown when she is at a point where she is developing logical thinking.

  12. Kate

    March 22, 2012 at 11:54 am

    The fact that this never occurred to you when you posted lingerie photos of yourself on the Internet is troubling to me.

  13. MK

    March 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    …and off I go to Google Image search looking for boudoir fotos

    • C

      March 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm


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