My comment started to get epic, so I moved the whole thing over here. Read Mel’s post for context.
I think that these are important aspects of privacy to consider when we write. BUT. The reality is that these are not just their stories — they are my stories too. It’s not just that they ate a dog biscuit — it’s that I LET them eat a dog biscuit. If you say that it is not ethical/moral/objectional/whatever to write about your kids without their permission, you are pretty much shutting down the discussion of motherhood/fatherhood/parenting. My children, and their lives, are the central focus of MY life as well, of my experience of infertility and motherhood. I think that if you take the notion of privacy too far, you eliminate my “right” (or whatever the best word is) to tell my story. I’m thinking here of what Catherine Connor writes about over at Her Bad Mother.
I think it was Dooce who said once (when she started giving Leta the right to veto anything posted about her), “The story of a baby is the story of any baby ever told.” I think that’s pretty much true. There comes a point where babies become people, but before then, the stories are almost always interchangeable. If you don’t believe that, ask your own mother which of your sibings did xyz. I would bet (given my own experience) that she can’t remember. [There are actually baby photos of us that my mom can’t identify who is who in.]
Sure in 20 years, someone might be able to take my kids, track down that much of this blog was written about them, and find something that I wrote that is embarrassing. But the reality is that that is a very minute possibility. And even if someone does track that down, what is the impact of a two-decades-old baby story actually going to be on their lives? Someone who is that dedicated to finding out about my children’s beginnings is not going to stop if an online search doesn’t turn up anything. They would be tracking down school friends and family members and whoever potentially has the information that they want.
The truth is, I am creating and editing the stories of my children’s lives now for them, whether I post to the blog or not. The stories that I tell our family members, the milestones I share with their friends’ parents at playdates, the concerns I share with teachers and doctors, the notes I write down for their baby books, the pictures that I put on facebook or in our christmas cards — that is how 90% of the people in their lives view them. They have no say in that, and really, I don’t have much say in how that is interpreted.
The ubiquitousness of the internet is a relatively new thing. For most of us, ahem, *older* people, it’s scary to think about what could potentially happen. In many cases, those are real concerns. But I think that any concern that can be boiled down to “But what about the children!” needs to come under some major scrutiny to determine if it is really about the children — or if it is about us.