For almost four years now I have been writing stories about my experiences being a Mum and sending them across the globe to family and friends. More recently I have begun posting these, and other episodes to this blog, for the reading pleasure of anyone and everyone who stop by on their virtual wanderings.
I have had some pretty good feedback and I get a lot of joy from my ramblings, but I suppose the real question is: will my kids thank me for splashing their young lives across the globe?
Things are so different from when I was a child, all those 30 odd years ago. If my parents wanted to share news with people they would have to handwrite a letter and print an entire film of photos hoping for at least one good one to include in the envelope. This would then need to be posted the old fashioned way, with a stamp and a red letterbox.
If they really felt the need to humiliate me with an embarrassing story or show people a picture of me with my finger up my nose or my nappy falling down, it would have taken considerable effort on their part to do this on any large scale. My point being, my embarrassment would have been localised and contained.
These days, it takes 10 seconds to take 10 decent pictures on a digital camera, and another 10 seconds to upload it to the net and share it with 10 million people on Facebook. No two week wait for the film to be processed. It's instant and irreversible. And if you want to share a funny story of the time your baby had a massive corn-fuelled poo that exploded all over the cot, it's easy done, with minimal effort and maximum audience.
In the 'olden days', parents needed to wait until their child's 18th or 21st birthday party to bring out the embarrassing pictures, the kid in his jocks playing the air guitar, the ubiquitous kids in the bath photo, the little boy covered in make-up and jewellery courtesy of his older sister. These days, as soon as a child takes their first breath there are photos all over the internet. I know, because I am guilty of this myself.
Technology has changed the way kids grow up. Nothing is private anymore. Sure, I can give my girls funny little nicknames rather than using their real names, but it's kind of obvious who I am talking about. So what happens when my girls are 13 or 16 or 30 and they discover this ancient blog, or their boyfriend does, or their boss (or their mother-in-law). What will they think? Will they be grateful that they can experience the joys of their own childhood again, and read firsthand what it was like for me - their Mum - to watch them as they grew from babies to children to (eventually) women? Or will they hate me for sharing too much, for not giving them a choice about whether or not they wanted to be made public property.