Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

There is a lot happening this week, especially for the organizations I work for — MomsRising.org and Moms Clean Air Force. Please sign up for their e-mails, if you have not already done so. You all are the best! :)

The Moms Clean Air Force is running a series of videos promoting clean air. Among the speakers are author Ayelet Waldman, actress Blythe Danner (she is also Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom), Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph.

There is a reason for all this corralling around clean air now. New mercury and air toxics standards are supposed to kick in this week, but some members of the coal power plant industry are fighting them tooth and nail. All that lobbying is to the detriment of our children’s health as mercury is in our air and water and arsenic in our food. If you haven’t done so already, please take action and sign this petition to President Obama at Moms Clean Air Force and MomsRising.

It is the holiday season. If anything, now is the time to count our blessings, but also remember our unemployed brothers and sisters out there looking for work. MomsRising ran a series of blog posts highlighting the need to extend unemployment benefits beyond December 31 of this year. Among the writers were my mother and a dear childhood friend in Florida who has had to visit a food pantry to feed her family. Please read and pass along to encourage your family and friends to support extending unemployment insurance.

In related news, the Occupy movement conducted a series of actions in Washington, D.C. last week. These were my favorite actions: first, this wonderful essay by Linda Evans, a great-grandmother explaining why she was occupying D.C.. I also appreciated this Los Angeles Times story about the protesters occupying one of Newt Gingrich’s fundraisers. (Seriously, I wonder who advised him to hold a fundraiser in the same place and at the same time as the protests?) Finally, I am glad someone stood up to K Street lobbyists — here is coverage of it on CNN. Many thanks to the Service Employees International Union for getting those clips together!

And one last piece of political news: in a rare move, the Obama administration overturned an FDA recommendation to sell the morning after pill — plan B — over the counter for everyone. This is stupid for a variety of reasons as spelled out by the blog RH Reality Check.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Thursday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

You have got to read this Salon review on two new parenting memoirs: Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman and Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis. Both writers live in Berkeley and Waldman especially addresses the intense parenting in these parts — as I have sometimes highlighted to you in Berkeley Parents Network. :)

In case you missed it, Elizabeth Edwards talked about her husband’s affair to Oprah Winfrey.

President Obama plans to extend the Washington D.C. voucher program until current students graduate from high school, a source told the Associated Press. Also in the Associated Press: For the first time in the United States, households with cell phones but no landline phones (20 percent) surpassed households with only landlines (17 percent).  

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Too Much Information on Mommy Blogs?

Carrie Kirby, from the My Funny, Funny Family blog, raised a good question in a recent article for Cookie: Do mommy bloggers like us ever worry about over-sharing stories about our children to the point it could be used against them as teenagers?

I am a mommyblogger, a shameless and prolific one. But lately, I’ve been worrying about the future impact of the hundreds of pages I’ve published about my two daughters. Will the stories I once found so cute—like the time my then 2-year-old confessed to “destroying” her Tinkerbell underpants in a potty-training lapse—someday prove humiliating?

Will Our Kids Hate Us?

I set off for San Francisco and the BlogHer conference, a gathering of more than 1,000 women bloggers, to find out what other mothers think about this….

Heather Armstrong has chronicled nearly every day of her 4-year-old’s life on Dooce.com, one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. She gets e-mails all the time warning her that she is destroying her daughter Leta’s future social life, but she thinks the benefits will outweigh the risks.

“She will know that she is the most important person in the world to me,” Armstrong told me.

With 4-year-olds, it’s easy to say it will be okay and hope it really will. But what about when they’re teenagers? I found one mom at the conference who is already blogging adolescents.

“Far from hating me for writing about our lives, they seem to think it’s pretty cool,” said Lindsay Ferrier, who has two little ones as well as two teenage stepchildren. Ferrier, who writes at Suburban Turmoil, reminded me that kids growing up with Facebook and Twitter have different ideas of public and private than we do.

Looking at it this way, I can’t imagine that my daughters’ future classmates or bosses will waste time on my blog once the girls have had time to create their own Web personae. Of course, asking women who blog about their children if it’s wrong to blog about your children is kind of like taking a survey at Morton’s on whether meat is murder. We find reasons to keep doing the things we love.

Outside the conference, I found a mother who pulled the plug on her blog because she realized the Internet made it too easy for her to overshare. Writer Ayelet Waldman still publishes essays about parenting her four children, but she gave up blogging after just nine weeks.

“Blogging is a much more dangerous activity. When I write for publication … I have a lot of time for second thoughts,” Waldman said.

She’s learned that we can’t always predict what will cause problems for kids. And when she blogged, the one she ended up overexposing was herself. Waldman, who is mildly bipolar, posted what she now calls “a suicide note,” alarming her family and readers.

“Bad call!” she says in retrospect.

I think every mom has to make this call for herself. Since my family pays the bills through blogging and my husband is in the media a lot, we have no problem with posting pictures or stories of ourselves online. If my children did grow up to tell me they did not want me to publish their stories or photos, then I would stop.

But Kirby is right: In the age of Facebook and Twitter, I highly doubt they will object to my writing at MotherTalkers. Then again, I have made a conscious effort not to post any embarrassing photos of them and have kept the pooping stories to a minimal.

What about you all? How do you balance your openness and your family’s privacy online?

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