The Electrification of the Family, or Why the Internet is not your Therapist
It’s fair to say I live on the Internet. My husband Monkey and our child are a direct result of that life. I do my finances, sell items, shop, all online. In the personal world, it is my lifeline back home. I live 5 hours ahead of most of my friends and family, so phone calls are awkward to say the least – email, facebook, twitter all work far better. My parents won’t get to hold their first grandson for a few more months, so videos and photos keep them in the loop. And of course, I have both this site as well as my personal journal to comment, complain, and communicate my life. It is a remarkable tool, giving me incredible power to show myself. But, as Peter Parker learned, with great power comes great responsibility.
There is a website called babble.com, basically a mommy led blog catalogue, and on it is a woman named Katie. Katie has two kids, with a third on the way. Katie tends to favor her son more than her daughter. A lot. In fact,
There are moments – in my least sane and darkest thoughts – when I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son (assuming crazy, dire, insane circumstances that would never actually occur in real life). I know that sounds completely awful and truly crazy.
Wow. A startling confession. But I hear you say, HyperHam, a mommy blogger with a penchant for dark thoughts isn’t newsworthy, and you are right. What makes it SWEETGOOGLYMOOGLY in my eyes is she writes under her full name, includes her child’s full name, and slaps on a photo of the kid for extra points.
Internet 101 folks: The Internet is not a therapist. You can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to a therapist and they will try their hardest to keep them quiet; the Internet will try it’s hardest to disseminate said secrets to the widest possible audience.
In about 10 years, her kid is going to Google herself, and find that article. She is going to read, in glorious detail, how her mum never really connected with her, and saw her as a lost cause at the age of three. I hope Katie is making some cash from blogging for Babble, because her kid is going to need some serious therapy of her own when she reads how she is tedious, and defiant, and how her mummy is harder on her than her brother. She is going to lose her shit when she gets to the whole ‘if I lost my daughter I would be okay as long as my son was safe’. That’s going to kill her.
I started blogging about 11 years ago, on nimh.net. After a few years, I switched to LJ, where I blogged under the same name till I was in my 2nd trimester with Weapon. One weekend, I backed up the blog to a seperate location, and nuked it. 7 years of writing, purged. While you can still find traces of my first blog through the Wayback Machine, I made damn sure you can’t find the LJ stuff without some serious skills. I did this not because I want to forget my past, but because one day Weapon is going to hop on Google version 7890757, and I want him to not look at my life, my mistakes, foibles, pain, and ickiness, through a screen. I want to share with him my world and past at an age appropriate pace. I take great pains with this blog to not include for the our real names for the same reason – my writing doesn’t just affect me or my husband any more, it affects our innocent son. Katie would do well to remember this.
We are the first generation to truly raise a household in the virtual world. We can IM our kids when dinner is ready, post their recitals on YouTube, even tweet their report cards. And while I rave about my kid online, or post vids of him cooing on our baby group through facebook, I don’t ever forget that one day he is going to see all of this, and should therefore should act accordingly.
For what it’s worth, I hope Katie works it out, and talks to a therapist so the disparity between her daughter and son does not become exponential. And I hope for everyone’s sake she kills the post so her daughter never has to read about her mother’s thoughts till Katie is ready to share that part of herself with her, and till her daughter is mature enough to process that kind of information.