Is Brutal Honesty In Parent Blogging Always Warranted?


“Honest parent blogging” – is it always useful and helpful to read? Or is it just a cheap shot at our offsprings expense dressed up as brilliant writing?

This is the question I’ve just been pondering in the shower.

Let me explain …

For years now, I have been following some pretty amazing parent bloggers. Bloggers who have an amazing literary ability to highlight all aspects of parenting; the great times, the funny bits (a few rude bits thrown in for good measure) and a sprinkling of the darker times too. It’s those bloggers who, whilst immersing themselves in the beauty of free speech, are helping other newer, perhaps younger mums and dads feel safe in the knowledge that we breeders are all in the same boat. And it’s that sense of unity, of not feeling alone, that is so truly priceless about some parenting blogs. Its those blogs which strike just the right balance, but some do not. Proving that not everybody can blog well.

But does there come a point I wonder, where all this so-called Honest and real parent blogging (often done in the name of humour) could potentially cross a line? stepping over a line which is no longer useful or beneficial to its reader, much less inspiring.

Personally, I think that line regularly gets crossed these days on the internet, all in the name of so-called humour or maybe its labelled ‘a refreshing approach’ to parenthood. The thing is, its not that refreshing anymore, is it. For Its everywhere!

And that’s what I’m talking about here – specifically : Gratuitous documenting of our children which is not funny. Personally, I think there is now way too much negativity labelled up beautifully as ‘warts and all’ type stuff to be found on the net, and it’s starting to grate on me a little. There. I’ve said it!

My question is – Is the sharing of so much negativity and drudgery really that helpful to new parents who may be trawling the net for real help and advice? And more specifically to my own gender – is it really that helpful to Women as a whole even?

I’ve lost count of the many times that I have read, seemingly brutal and honest reports of ‘How shit’ parenthood is. Or how ‘Fucking awful’ the night was. The ‘Kid’ did this and ‘twatting’ that.

Just this morning, I read a status which coupled the word Bastard with baby in the same sentence whilst describing a night feed. Of course – Everyone on the feed loved it; they deemed it as genius. Everyone thought it was hilarious and wrote offers of virtual ‘high-fives’. So while the whole world seems to lap this stuff up, to like it then share it, I can’t help but admit that for me, it sometimes leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

It seems kind of un-fair. Its not like the baby or child can respond to their parents statuses with a ‘well f*** you too Mummy, you’re no picnic yourself’ remark!

For example – Is it funny to refer to a toddler as being a tosser? (as I saw on Twitter the other day)Is it really to be commended and applauded as refreshing writing? Or is it in some cases, just plain gratuitous and un-warranted?

Okay, it is possible that some writers can totally get away with it, because they are funny (and you can really sense the underlying care for their child in their tone) But I just feel that that style is now so, SO replicated, that swearing about your child is now pretty much trending. To me, this is not dignified, intelligent, nice, graceful or honest. Often, its just plain mean. Or that’s how it reads to me, anyway.

(And by the way, I have a toddler. My fourth toddler in fact. I KNOW full well what they are like!)

But tosser. Really? And that’s cool with everyone, is it?

Am I the only one who feels the need to speak up for said tosser and say ‘hey, you- Your a tosser for saying that! He or she is only 2!’ (What do you want – A two year old with the mental age of an adult?)

Should we be openly mocking our offspring who yes, need us in the night, who haven’t yet learned how best to behave, who love us unconditionally and occasionally drive us mad. And who would, I imagine, feel really rather hurt if they really knew that their every mistake/toilet mishap/mealtime disaster/puke/poo/wee/tantrum was having the arse ripped out of it on social media in the name of sensationalist blogging humour and Facebook likes?

It’s not that I’m not a realist, I totally am. And it’s not that I find swearing offensive. Because I really, really don’t (my friends tell me that I have an outrageous potty mouth – especially after wine. I’m awful after wine and regularly couple truly despicable words together during chit-chat)

But you know what? Not everybody is crying and swearing their way through parenthood, and even if we are at times – Should writers be documenting it to thousands upon thousands of followers? I don’t really think it helps anyone. Least of all the writer themselves if they are doing it for their own therapeutic reasons.

Perhaps a little more balance is what’s needed now, that’s all I’m saying.

Parenting IS tiring. There will be times where it truly sucks. But the exact same thing can be said for most things in life.

(I should own up here – I have been guilty of following the negative blogging line a little myself. I have written a post on the Huffington post listing my 20 most annoying things about living with Teenagers. Why did I write that? Because I forgot myself for a moment, that’s why. And because I wrote what it was that I thought people wanted to read, rather than the positive stuff I prefer to spread.  I jumped on the bandwagon. And now I realise that I needn’t have gone on the record with that stuff actually, The world doesn’t need more of it from me! *slaps own wrist* )

For me, more than any other part of life – Parenting has been the one area of life where I have regularly looked and sought advice from other mums. Often, this has been from women further down the Mummy line than me, And in particular – from the ones who seem to have their shit together. Women whom I’ve gone to asked “Oh my god, HOW DO YOU DO THIS?!” and it is those women that have helped me when I’ve needed it -with their positivity, practical advice and ability to shine a light on the light at the end of every single tunnel.

And THAT’S what we mums and dads truly need in moments of parental despair when we scroll the internet for answers. We need inspirational people to remind us that hey Mrs, this is life. You’re not the first to go through it and you won’t be the last. So get on with it and stop wasting time!

UPDATE – since pondering on the comments this post has received, I’ve followed up with this little musing. It might help back up my reasoning for why I wrote this. Anna x

(Oh and by the way – Please, please don’t miss-understand this post. I am in no way referring to parents documenting their genuine difficulties. Simply the humour placed on ranting, slating and documenting of the tricky stuff. That’s all. This is merely a musing of mine, not meant to offend anyone)

photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

22 comments on Is Brutal Honesty In Parent Blogging Always Warranted?

  • Jules

    I find it frustrating too. Yes the odd post/comment on it being hard is fine. Parenting can be hard amd reading the funny side can be great. But some bring it up constantly and without any thought for what their child may feel in the future. I don’t personally think there is any need to call your kids “tosser”/”twat” etc as some bloggers and youtubers have. Yeah it’s hard sometimes but wow ungrateful!

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Jules,
      Thank you so much for your comment. Phew – I’m not the only one who finds it frustrating. I just think that using such rude and in some cases humiliating words in conjunction with your children is a little crude and unnecessary.
      But hey, That’s just me (and you, and maybe a few others too!)
      Thanks again Jules,
      Anna x

  • Heather Simpson

    Great post, luckily I haven’t really come across things as bad as you have but agree that’s crossing a line. My blogs pic is a woman looking exhausted at the doctors being told “I’m afraid you have what is known as children” which I suppose gives that sort of negative idea of parenting but it is meant in jest. Like you I try to focus on the positive and if I’m taking about negative/difficult parts of parenting it tends to be reflecting on what i am doing wrong or could do better not that children and having them is awful. Yes it’s hard work but it’s also massively rewarding, off to bake some home made pizza with my 2 and pop up a positive post to redress the balance 🙂

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Heather,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I am certainly not suggesting that I have never been guilty of the odd bit of social media moaning, but you are right, its got to best to at least try and focus on the positive and just crack on with it, rather than to promote the idea that to struggle, is to do it right. People have been parenting children and babies for years – We blogging mums are not exactly reinventing the wheel here! (Ooh gosh, I expect that comment alone may offend. Someone hush me quick!)
      Thanks again Heather,
      Anna x

  • Penny Pincher (Dawn)

    I suppose I’m deemed a humorous say it how it is blogger, you would have to judge for yourself but I mainly poke fun at myself and not my children. I try very hard not to be offensive; there definitely is a line that alot of people cross for the sake of humour but I don’t think I do that, well I’m hoping that I don’t. There are alot of blogs that I read for many different reasons and I think there will always be a place for a blogger that is down to earth and realistic same as there will always be a place for a blogger that triggers your emotions in the opposite direction. Great post x

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Dawn,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I know exactly what you mean, and as a new blogger I have dabbled in a little ‘humour at their expense’ type content … but just found it didn’t sit well with me. I guess I’ve felt that from reading other blogs, that this is how its supposed to be approached. I’m learning, and I’m still finding my voice as a blogger. But this post I am sure of. I do not like writing negative stuff about the people I adore. And that’s that really.
      Thanks again Dawn,
      Anna x

  • Sally

    I must confess, I don’t personally love those “refreshing” posts about how f***ing annoying the little b***ards are.

    Fair enough, it’s how you FEEL in that moment, but not every feeling needs to be expressed. You don’t express every thought out loud, why express them on your blog? Especially when those thoughts are negative and directed at someone who isn’t in a position to give you informed consent to write about them in that manner?

    Luckily, most of the bloggers I know manage to be affectionate enough that the humour is still present, but on the odd occasion, definitely I’ve cringed a bit for them and thought it was a bit much.
    Sally recently posted…Things I know about Co-ParentingMy Profile

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Sally,
      Thanks so much for your comment. Its nice to see that I’m not alone in finding it all a little … er … off.
      I’m now off to read your blog!
      Anna x

  • hayley

    Personally I disagree.

    I suppose we’ll all have styles of blogs that we prefer and perhaps I just haven’t come across many of the ones you refer to – I can only think of two of them (one of them is without doubt the one you refer to with the bastard-baby thing) and I absolutely love reading them. Infact just yesterday I was having a particularly rubbish day and I came across one of her posts – it made me laugh out loud, I read it out to my partner and he laughed too – it cheered us both up after a very difficult day so what can be bad about that?

    I understand your point about how it may seem from the childrens point of view when they’re older but the same could be said for the schmaltzy over-sharing of lovey-doveyness I see on a gazillion blogs every single day …I think I’d be just as mortified to find online records of my mum droning on about how beautiful I was as a baby and how much she loved and adored me as I would be about her jokingly calling me a tosser.
    And the blogs I read which discuss their children in this way don’t tend to use their childrens names in their blogs, so their identities are largely protected anyway.

    I am absolutely sick to death of seeing so many blogs selling the “perfect” instagram life these days, making out that life is all sunshine & rainbows – I worry that will be far more damaging to any young parents-to-be reading who may find themselves in for a bit of a shock at the reality of whats to come.

    Personally I find that “Real life” as a mum is somewhere in between the perfect-life blogs I endlessly see and the couple of “Gritty realist” blogs that you’re referring to – but that makes for pretty boring and mundane reading, so I understand the need for a blogger to gravitate toward one end of the scale or the other.

    I doubt very much whether the author of the blog you’re referring to actually spends her days in a gin-soaked stupor while her toddler literally licks the sofa for sustinence…anymore so than the other type of blogger actually sits around in her picture perfect and oh-so-pristine living room sipping elegantly from her Anthropologie mug while her perfectly styled toddler nibbles on homemade quinoa biscuits at her perfectly manicured feet.

    As I say, everyone will have a preference – I’d rather someone made me laugh than made me feel inferior, which the majority of mummy blogs often do. But clearly there is a market for both styles….so in answer to your blog title, yes I suppose it is warranted 🙂

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Hayley, Thanks so much for your comment.
      I have to say, you make some really good points and raise a good argument for why there is a place for such gritty sharing. You also highlight why such blogs are so very popular.

      But in defence of ‘the perfect’ blogger on Instagram (who sits around in her perfect living room, with her homemade quinoa biscuits) I dare say she cant help who she is either! (I know lots of mums who ARE like that and get sick of being judged for being too perfect when all they possess are a few high domestic standards and feel pretty much content with their lot) This relates back to a blog I wrote last week about likeability : why women crave it and often dampen themselves and lives down in order to be seen as more acceptable … But anyway … I digress!

      I guess ultimately, there is a blogger out there for everyone. Horses for courses and all that. And that is exactly why blogging is so very brilliant.

      (But I still cant help but cringe when I see people refer to their children in such derogatory ways though … I will never be on board with that)

      Thanks Hayley. Really Great comment x

  • mummyofboygirltwins

    I think there’s a lot of ‘bandwagon jumping’ going on. I’m seeing lots of blogs trying to be funny at taking the Mickey out of parenting, but some are failing. Some do it with perfection and wit and get it totally right and others are just vulgar. I am a blog that talks mainly of the positive side of parenting, because that is my experience but I also write posts about having a tough day too. I don’t swear or belittle the twins though as I find that it’s not funny or comfortable. More my feelings and experiences. Great post xx

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Jess,
      I adore your blog. It is always positive whilst still remaining to sound real, up beat, respectful and down to earth all at the same time. Its perfect! (How anyone can raise twins and still keep it as together as you deserves a medal in my mind!)
      Thank you for your comment.
      Anna x

  • Kiran at Mummy Says

    I haven’t seen too much of this but think it’s pretty horrid to refer to your child as some of the names that are above. I think there is a place for depicting the reality of parenting – dressing it up overly positively doesn’t do any good either – but there’s also limits to negativity. You wouldn’t call your child a twat or a tosser out loud, surely, so why do it on your blog? Maybe it’s a bit of bandwagon jumping as mentioned above. x

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Kiran,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, I totally think its about jumping on a bandwagon and replicating the work of other successful bloggers who may have pulled it off once or twice already. Nowadays, it has become totally socially acceptable to moan about being a mother. I just don’t get that (at least, not when every single post is written in this exact angle and tone).

      Most of the time (though, not always!) we are parents because we choose it. Because we spend years working towards it, perhaps even dreaming about it. Choosing something and then complaining about it every single day to anyone who will listen doesn’t strike me as useful.
      Anna x

  • Pippa Ainsworth

    I completely agree with you on this subject and it’s one I have discussed with a few blogger friends too. I think some people do it well, without necessarily calling their children names and I find it uncomfortable when people do use those terms on their babies and toddlers when they are just being… babies and toddlers. There seems to be a few bloggers who write every post in the hope that it might go viral and these posts are very good at that, so people must enjoy reading them. It’s not a way I would ever speak about my children though, joking or otherwise.
    Pippa Ainsworth recently posted…Red Rose Baby – 36 Weeks UpdateMy Profile

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Pippa,

      Yes – its the viral ambition that is often behind most of these types of posts. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting their work to go viral, I wouldn’t say no to it myself! But, all too often a repetitive line gets crossed at the cost of the child’s dignity. I worry that these bloggers will regret that one day, when the hazy baby and toddler days are but a distant memory.
      Anna x

  • Joanne Mallon

    I’m glad somebody is saying this. Blogs used to be an alternative to mainstream media, now they’re often part of their own blogiverse which still bears little relation to real life as it is lived by the rest of us. And I don’t get why a parent’s right to tell their story automatically trumps the right of the child to tell their own story, or stay private. Little children are more than just Instagram props.
    Joanne Mallon recently posted…Romeward bound #BridgestoneEUGPMy Profile

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Joanne,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I think that you are absolutely right – ‘children are more than just an instagram prop’ … I know for a fact that by the time they reach teenage years, when everything is embarrassing anyway, having an entire back catalogue of embarrassing pictures WONT be appreciated. We are essentially in the dawn of a new social media era, and I think the repercussions of this new ‘share all’ lifestyle habit wont be fully realised for quite some time. But it will, eventually rear its ugly head. Of that much I am sure.

  • Deborah

    Thank you for this article! I try very hard to write up-lifting articles to help, never to hinder. I think my children always deserve the benefit of the doubt. Even on hard days(haven’t you had a hard day before). If I wouldn’t want my mistakes all over the internet, I’m not going to share theirs. I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. But, I think we do a pretty good job. I make it a point to not visit blogs that use negativity to get publicity.
    Deborah recently posted…I is for Isosceles Triangles – A Geometry ExplorationMy Profile

    • Anna (author)

      Hi Deborah,

      Thank you for your comment. I am off to have a read of your blog now!
      Anna x

  • Amy

    Anna, I couldn’t agree more with you on this. I can not understand how it is acceptable to use profanity and your baby’s name in one sentence and yet if a husband were to start a blog and talk about his wife (or vice versa) in the same manner there would be total uproar and it would be labelled abusive.

    I absolutely cringe when I read things like this and can’t get my head around why people would like it, but then I wouldn’t swear at my children or call them names for a bit of a laugh or to make myself feel better because they’ve given me a hard day, but that’s just me.

    I have written a couple of tongue-in-cheek posts, but never the whole truth about living with teenagers and this is one of the reasons I don’t blog about my older ones much. I try in the main to keep it lighthearted. The last thing I want is to frighten mothers of little ones by giving them an insight of what’s to come as let’s face it if you can survive the teenage years you can survive anything. Sometimes I feel if I were to write what I’m truly feeling if we’re having a bad time it would come across dreadfully, because frankly it can be dreadful but it’s all relative. Would I want my children to look back and see all that hurt, anger and frustration I felt towards them at the time in black and white for all the world to see? No I wouldn’t because I’d risk really upsetting them.

    I think this is a brilliant article Anna and I am off to share it now!

    Ps. I cook quinoa dishes and chia seed cookies all the time, just check out my IG. Teenagers hate them though, fussy darlings…;-)

    Amy recently posted…VegfestUK Bristol 23rd-24th MayMy Profile

    • Anna (author)

      Thank you Amy, for your wonderful comment.

      You cook Quinoa? how very “perfect” of you!

      Yes, you are quite right. It would be a nightmare if I too were to document my every frustration … for me, I don’t stay angry for long. So even if my children do make me cross, it only lasts a short while, and then I look at them, and I’m all like ‘Awww, look at him/her. I just LOVE him/her SO much’! I think its a respect thing too … I would hate it if every time I said or did something wrong, someone was busy writing a blog post on it, complete with pictures and quotes. Imaging that!
      Thank you for sharing Amy.
      Anna x

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