This expat blogger’s biggest fear

Cartoon © Natalie Dee | http://www.nataliedee.com

I Was An Expat Wife is my blog, which means it’s all about me, me, ME! But often, my story overlaps with those of the more junior members of my family. Although I make sure my daughters vet everything I write about them before I post, I can’t help but worry that I’m somehow exploiting them.

My girls’ expat lives are a gold mine of material. I’ve written about everything from their attempts at using a squat toilet in Singapore to their struggles with the paparazzi in China. But posting about Elder Daughter’s me-collage earlier this week made me wonder — again — if I’m overstepping the bounds of parent-child confidentiality. I had a similar crisis of conscience when I wrote about the undeniable fact that expat life was good for my kids.

When I mention this to my girls, their reaction, typically, is to tell me to “chill.” They don’t care if I write about them — their friends don’t read my blog.

I’m curious about how other expat bloggers handle this issue. Is all fair in (mother) love and blogging? Or are your children off-limits?

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About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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13 Responses to This expat blogger’s biggest fear

  1. naomi says:

    Our kids are not off limits, but I need to get better (and am working on it) about not sharing photos of them. Just a new rule in our household. The kids are ok with me writing about them … even the teenager. The way I look at it, it’s a kind of history in the making .. that we’ll all be able to look back on fondly! Tell your kiddos we’re glad that they don’t mind!

    • Maria says:

      I struggle with photos too. I decided not to post photos of my kids’ faces (which just kills me, since I have some awesome photos of them that I can’t use.) Fortunately, I’m a terrible photographer, so I have plenty of blurry shots with their heads chopped off to use instead. 🙂

  2. lexy3587 says:

    I’m not an expat, or an expat’s child… but your stories about your kids are an important part of your experience as an expat – because their upsets and triumphs are, I’m sure, a huge part of whether you were happy in a given place, and therefore, a big part of your overall experience living abroad. As long as your kids wouldn’t be upset at you telling the story to friends or family (and ya, good idea checking with them before you post on your blog), then it is a story you can share however you want to. I’m assuming some of the people who read your blog are friends and family, but people like me will not be wandering through whatever town you live in, and go, “Holy Cow!… it’s ELDER DAUGHTER! I read about you!”
    Your blog makes me wish I’d had the opportunity, growing up, to try living abroad.

    • Maria says:

      I laughed out loud at the idea of Elder Daughter being recognized in the street. Maybe I’ll print a t-shirt for her that reads “Yes, I AM Elder Daughter.” 🙂 She’d probably wear it, too, just to humour me.

      Thanks for your comment, which does make me feel better about sharing their stories. (PS: It’s never to late to try living abroad!)

  3. Crystal says:

    Elanor is two, so right now I make the call as to which stories are up for general consumption and which aren’t. But as she ages, I’ll check in with her about what she wants and what she doesn’t want me to share (just as you do with your two).

  4. Sine says:

    It’s a very good point and I struggle with the same thing on my blog, Joburg Expat. Yes, I’ve given the kids new identities, but of course if their friends were to read my blog, they’d know who they are. So far that doesn’t seem to be a problem. I admit consulting my kids prior to publishing hasn’t occurred to me, so you’re ahead of me on that!

    I also think our kids are much less inhibited because they’re growing up with Facebook, where we have to caution THEM not to share everything too freely. Regarding pictures, I had resolved the same thing – no pics of my kids, but then a friend (who writes an excellent blog herself) suggested I needed more pictures of my family to make readers be able to see our expat life more clearly. It’s a valid point I think, and I’ve been a little less strict with pictures since then. I think this is something that evolves over time as we all grapple with digital media and where it will take us in terms of publishing information.

    • Maria says:

      Your friend is right — personal touches make a blog come alive. But I still can’t bring myself to put my girls’ faces out there. Ironic, really, when you consider how many photos they have up on their Facebook pages.

  5. mividaandme says:

    I have the ‘Elder Daughter’ syndrome with my blog, the boys don’t seem to mind to much what is written about them, and with my blog being written in English not Spanish its not of much interest to them. My daughter however, has to vet each article written about her or including her, to check whether i am not over stepping the embarrasing mum mark i guess 🙂

  6. Carole says:

    I’ve always included my daughter in both my blogs, pictures and all. She’s an integral part of our family’s expat life and, let’s be frank, one of the more interesting aspects!

    Now she’s a little older, I let her approve what I’ve said about her and she’s very happy about it.

    Now my brother – wow, that’s a whole can of worms. I mentioned something about him in my blog, he went ballistic and he and his wife have now “disowned” me. I was just writing facts as I was given them – nothing horrible – but his paranoia/guilt went into mega-overdrive and has ripped the family apart.

    So sadly I now really do feel I have to censor what I write about everyone, including my kid – just in case.

    • Maria says:

      I do like reading about your daughter! In my experience, kids don’t care what you write, as long as it isn’t embarrassing. Adults aren’t always so easygoing.

  7. I like reading about our kids, they enhance the readers understanding of you as a mum too. I agree once he’s older I would ask but for now its about telling our stories! Lovely storeis by the way!

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