On Sharing

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It’s been awhile since I did a Life with a Baby update – 2 months in fact! This is for a couple reasons. First, my cookbook creation has been taking up all of my time when I’m not with Adriana. And second, after the reaction to my post about Adriana’s diet, I questioned whether I wanted to write about her on the baby blog in the future. I don’t mind that my post created debate, but what got to me was that I inadvertently put her under this scrutiny that she didn’t ask for. I felt HUGE guilt. So I went into this “protective mommy defensive mode”, and I removed every. single. picture. of her face from my blog and social media. Call it rash, call it being overprotective, call it hormonal, but it was something I felt compelled to do after the hateful words that were being directed to my family. Obviously, I never knew that it would cause such a hateful reaction by a select few people, but as they say, live and learn. Some of you noticed and applauded my decision, some of you said you wished that I would continue to share. I get both sides, I really do.

I think many families today struggle with the question of how much to share about their children online. It’s something we’ve discussed at great length. How much is too much? Should her pictures be online at all? And if so, until what age? We don’t have all the answers or even many, but we’re just trying to be aware and make the best decisions for our family. We’ve always erred on the side of “less is more”, but lately even more so. Our views will likely change and evolve over the years, I’m sure.

I don’t think I have to abandon these updates all together though. They are, I feel, an amazing way to document milestones in her life and to connect with all of you. I love reading your stories and comments. Plus, I don’t want this blog to be impersonal or robotic; what made my blog successful from the beginning was my ability to share my story honestly and candidly. Writing is a huge part of who I am. But as the blog has grown, I’ve felt this internal conflict between what to share and what not to share. I think it’s something many bloggers can relate to. You go from having one reader to thousands of readers and suddenly you scrutinize every word on the page. I know a lot of bloggers chose not to share anything about their personal lives, which I respect entirely, but that has never felt like a good fit for my own style. I love to write and share about daily life. I guess it’s a balance that I’ll struggle with daily.

I’d love to hear your thoughts below on this topic of sharing and social media. Do you struggle with how much to share online?

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Candi May 1, 2016

I have spent the afternoon reading about your journey during pregnancy and Motherhood. It reminded me of when I was pregnant and a new Mom over 40 years ago. I am deeply saddened that people responded hatefully to your sharing your choice of diet for your beautiful daughter. It is a very personal decision. I admire that you are giving her an opportunity to try a variety of foods. Some parent get so hung up on making all of their children’s decision that they forget that they have minds of their own that need to be nurtured and allowed freedom of choice. I decided 3 weeks ago that I would no longer participate in the maltreatment of animals. I also am gluten, soy and sugar free My husband’s first response was “pretty soon you won’t have anything to eat. My husband is enjoying the variety of foods that we eat and quite surprised at how good the meals are. Your blog has been an integral part of my journey. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Mima November 23, 2015

Dear, I bought your cookbook first and only came to your blog now after LOOOOOVING your recipes. We’ve gone from vegetarian to vegan, me, hubby, our 2 year old toddler and 8 month baby, we have never eveeeeer, eveeeerrr been or felt so healthy our children have a very similar diet to Adriana we get vitamin D from sunshine lots of omegas from chia and flaxseeds, let haters hate, they are just afraid of what they are doing to their own children. Let us share our love and thanks for what you are doing and our love to you and your gorgeous family, Mima

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Megan October 6, 2015

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog list lately. Logged in today and stumbled across this unfortunate post. Looks like I’m adding this blog to a growing list of food blogs I’ve unfollowed as a result of losing interest once focus shifts to the blogger’s spawn.

Truly, do you think anyone cares about whether or not your kid’s face is shown on the blog? I’m really not intending that as a mean-spirited comment but an honest question. Who cares. It’s a blog. They’re photos. What do you think is going to happen? I used to come here for fun recipes and inspiration. Now the blog is full of self-righteous “mama-bear” drivel and countless novel-length posts about an infant I couldn’t care less about. If you don’t want to share stuff about your kid, or your travels, or the area in which you live (using instances of stuff other bloggers have dangled in front of readers only to later yank away) then simply do not mention it at all. This sad mind-game bloggers play (write 10,000 posts about child, take deeply personal offense at the first mildly negative comment received, completely fly off the handle and write 10,000 more posts about how awful it is to be a blogger with a child that people *gasp* comment on) is old and tired. You are neither the first nor the last blogger to have a child. It simply is not a big deal.

I’d also love to see a veggie-friendly blog written by a strong & independent woman who has no desire to become a mother. I’m sure this would please those women going through infertility issues as well as women like me who simply have zero interest in what foods a strange infant can and cannot eat. I’ve read around the baby posts but it’s difficult to successfully avoid comments and stories about children once a blogger gives birth and the blog inevitably becomes focused mainly on the child and how the blogger is handling having the child around.

Again – not intending this to be mean-spirited. Just trying to give some honest insight from one of your long-time readers who is headed out the door. Go ahead, comment “good riddance” all you want – I won’t be back to follow up so no need to rant or argue or tell me how wrong and awful I am.

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Milca October 6, 2015

Hello,

It has been a while since I have read your blog. Was an avid reader/follower while in college but then life took place. ha I have a 15 month old and cannot even imagine the negative things ppl would comment. I am so sorry for such shitty ppl you and and baby girl don’t deserve it. I will be reading more regularly even if I have to do it at work (ha) but I understand what you mean. I don’t even know how I would react about negativity towards my baby girl. How is that even possible. Adriana is beautiful and such a happy baby. Good Luck to you!

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Elisabeth August 20, 2015

Hello Angela !

I’m sorry to hear you received such harsh comments following some of your posts. One of the things I like most about your blog (other than the delicious recipes and the funny style style in which you write ;)) is how you share your thoughts, opinions and choices without ever pretending to know best or to own the absolute truth. Whenever I read your blog, it feels like you are telling me «here’s what I did, why, and how it worked out for me» rather than «here’s what I think everyone should do» and thanks to that, I don’t feel uncomfortable disagreeing with you from time to time and I can read your blog without feeling judged or judgemental myself even when I don’t share your point of view. Anyway, it’s not like anyone is forced to read it, right ? Personnally, I enjoy having a peek into a real-busy-working-vegan-mom’s everyday life, even and especially because you don’t always make the choices I would make, and I’m curious to see how it turns out for you. I guess I just hope that you manage not to let a few loud hateful words overpower the larger, but often much quieter, support of people who truly appreciate your work.

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Jessica August 14, 2015

I just read through several comments on the post you wrote about whether you would raise your sweet girl vegan. How hurtful many of those comments must have been. I think many mothers would have gone into protective defensive mommy mode. Hell *I* went into protective defensive mode while reading them and I am not even a mother! It’s great that people have a voice for the voiceless (in this case the animals) but I just wish that it didn’t always come down to vegans shaming non-vegans because of the CHOICES they make. It gets hateful very quickly and I don’t know when it became okay to judge others for their choices, especially when it comes to a decision that I’m certain wasn’t easy for you.

You provide people with countless vegan recipes through your blog and cookbook and then when you share how you and Eric have decided to go about Adriana’s nutrition, you’re ripped apart by some very VERY judgmental people. I’m sorry you had to go through something like that and I applaud you. As a mother, a woman and an awesome vegan cook, keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully you continue to encounter more positive, supportive people than the shaming haters. Keep shining bright, Angela!

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Rachael June 18, 2015

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing. My daughter is two months younger than yours and it was a real struggle for me at first. She to refused a bottle, pacifier, etc. your updates made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my struggles. So, thanks for sharing!

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Tania June 8, 2015

When sharing publicly is about your child,it really is a super personal decision between you and your partner. You are in a tough spot, because part of the reason your blog is so successful if because you share your personal life, but do you want to expand that to your child? Most people love to see and hear about babies and will push you to share. However, like all parenting decisions, you have to trust your mommy instincts, do what’s right for your child and do what feels right for you as a family. You can’t worry about other people’s opinions (even from those you love!). My son is now six and I still struggle with how to (gracefully) handle other’s opinions about how I should raise my child. You know your child and family and what is best for them. Always let that be your guide and you will never fail.

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Linda June 4, 2015

I fully support you! People really need to step back and realize that everyone has the right to choose his or her own path without fear of being attacked by others. Holdyour head high, protect your little precious one and please continue to bring us wonderful recipes and terrific food for thought.

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Kathleen May 29, 2015

My husband and I had the same discussion when our son was born (now 6 months old). How much to share? Should we post pictures? How can we update family and friends who live miles away?

We decided not to post on Facebook (note: this entire discussion was much easier, since neither of us has a widely-read blog), but we’ve bent that rule a couple of times, trying – as you are doing – to show cute feet or the back of the stroller with the setting… something besides his face. In addition, we make sure not to post what we think might be “personally identifiable information” about him online. It’s so hard these days, when other mommy friends are posting pictures of their little ones. A large part of me wants to share back!

Instead, we set up an account with a private “baby book” app that allows access on an invitation-only basis to family and friends. It’s working well for us so far, and I love reading the comments there.

I have enjoyed all of your baby updates (especially when we’re going through a phase a few months after you posted about it and I think back and say, “Nope, it’s ok – this is normal!”), and seeing what a beautiful and happy little baby Adriana is. But, I’m glad you will continue to do what you feel is best for your family, and completely support you in that! (Not that you need my support… but I’m sending good vibes your way, all the same.)

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Jen May 28, 2015

Love your updates but totally understand your point of view and protective mama instincts – you have to do what’s right for your family. On a side note, This pic of A brought back some hilarious memories of when I bought the same sleeper for my little one and it shrunk so badly I was trying to squeeze her into it like a sausage before my husband insisted it was bordering on cruel and made me give up… It looks adorable on Adrianna though!

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Danielle May 23, 2015

I think you’re doing a great job, and have made the right decision for limited sharing. I always think, would I have wanted my own parents to post baby photos of me over the internet, in real-time as I was growing up? For me, the answer is no. I like the idea that my parents didn’t shape the world’s understanding of me, but that I grew into it myself.

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Melissa May 22, 2015

I love your blog! Your little one is just a few months older than mine and I kind of get a preview of milestones to expect when you’ve blogged about her. I completely understand being protective when some insensitive people get all political and nasty on your site…some people seem to think the internet is just a place to be completely unsolicited and voice their every thought – without having to experience the person on the other end… it can be downright mean. I think we need to remember to have some manners and respect. This is your site and it is awesome! I have a vegetarian spouse and I am a bit more flexible…we will not be labelling our son either. Food is so personal and what goes into our body is very personal. I think it’s important not to judge others on what they chose to put into their bodies….or how people raise their kids. Being a new Mom I am realizing there are opinions of “right ways” and “wrong ways” to raise my baby flying around me, all the time. You’re a great Mama and you create great recipes :) Thanks for sharing!

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MamaWatson May 22, 2015

Well, her profile and top-knot are pretty adorable too!

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ac May 21, 2015
Camillia May 20, 2015

hmm i am not a mother so my opinion doesn’t hold much weight, but i think less is more on this topic. i’ve taken classes about mediated communication and how we’ve become tethered versions of ourselves to the internet, which in some ways is for our or our family’s detriment. i think for those who don’t have a broad audience, sharing photos and stories is probably harmless. however, you’re a public figure and unfortunately you’re that much more susceptible to scrutiny and just plain cruelty! i think it’s pretty lame that after you’ve shared so much from your struggles with an eating disorder to your daughter’s birth story, that your so-called followers gave you backlash about a personal decision. but that’s the way of the world. you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. i kind of figured that’s why you stopped posting and shoot i would have too. but glad to see you and your family are doing well! keep on keeping on. :)

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Courtney May 20, 2015

I have read your blog for years, then at some point in late 2013, I became pregnant, and between school work and life i hadn’t checked your blog in a loooooong time! I was beyond delighted when I checked it again late one night a few months back, and saw you had a baby too! My baby was born just 2 weeks before yours, so everything you write about now i can totally relate! I’m also breastfeeding, and work from home… I’m shocked at what people have said and I am sorry you’re having to deal with it, but you’re handling it so well! I’m not a vegan, in fact, i probably have the worst diet ever, but the beautiful thing about “Mommy Milk” is that its perfect, even when our diets aren’t. (Yes, i have eaten peanut m&ms for b’fast and much worse)..
Keep up the wonderful work that you do, and thank you for providing great reading entertainment while I’m nursing at 12am! :)

P.S. You’re beautiful and so is your sweet precious baby! You’re Glowing!!! LOL

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sue May 19, 2015

Angela, you are Great at letting people into parts of your life. I could never do it, but I applaud you. And, because I so look forward to baby updates, I hope you choose to continue. However, I certainly respect any decision you make. Keep up the good work. You seem to be great at parenting and I love your blog and cookbook; they are my go-to(s)!!

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Christi May 19, 2015

I love your blog! I started reading it when you announced your pregnancy – it had me hooked! Then I found out you had a book, (bought and love it!) – I love your blog completely! Especially being pregnant with #3, it is such a breath of fresh air to find momma bloggers to relate with. My favorite quote: “People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you”. Big hugs to you.

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Nicole May 18, 2015

This is such a difficult topic to deal with and I applaud you for being honest and brave in the situation. Social media is crazy and I think that when it comes to posting about your children, you have to do what is best for your family. My sister-in-law has a blog and she is an author and she recently had to remove a lot of personal info because of a scare she had involving her kids. She still posts on her personal instagram and facebook but she created a specific “fan” page where she only shares about her work and not about her personal life. Its a hard balance because you want to share but you also want to keep your kiddos safe. Do what you and your hubby think is best!!

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Erin May 18, 2015

Hi Angela,

I’m not much for posting comments, but I felt compelled to after reading this post.

I have really enjoyed reading your posts about both pregnancy and life with a baby. I found your blog shortly after you announced your pregnancy, which happened to be right after I became pregnant. I greatly admire your strength to share all you do. As my daughter is about 6 weeks younger than yours, it’s been like a sneak peek for me as to what’s ahead.

I’m so sorry you received unpleasant comments regarding some of your decisions. It’s a shame that some people find it difficult to respect parental decisions. I love how your posts are open and honest, while at the same time recognizing that everyone needs to make the best choices for their own family and lifestyle.

My husband and I have chosen not to post pictures of our baby. At least not yet. But, I have to say, your personal stories keep me reading your blog. I greatly admire your work, and wish I had the courage to add more personal stories to my own blog.

i look forward to future posts, and your next book!

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Julie May 18, 2015

I was afraid that was why you hadn’t posted anything about her since that post. I can’t say I blame you, but those posts are definitely my favorite & I sure miss them.

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Heather Jeter May 18, 2015

I am so happy you posted this. I am a plant-based mommy too with a 15 month old baby girl. I blog about my journey of becoming a “vegan” and raising her that way. I have only shared one photo of her face and will continue to only show one a year. Trust me, it has been a battle of defending that decision with others but I try to brush it off. You are mom and you get to make any decision you want (including daddy too :)). I try to remember that every time I am badgered by anyone telling me that I need to “share”. The internet and social media can be scary.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, your child is your child. Do what is best for you and your family. Babies are still real even if they aren’t plastered all over the internet for everyone to see.
I am glad to see other parents that are a little bit more cautious about photo sharing and want to tell you how much reading your post has helped me reassure myself that I am not alone in my thinking.
Kudos to you for all of your success and your beautiful family!

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Janine May 18, 2015

The internet has completely changed people’s understanding of privacy. I am a nurse at sick kids for the last 32 years. When I started there parents used to ask me questions about other children, their diagnosis etc. I had to explain that the parents of these patients could answer these questions directly but I could not because of privacy issues. They often felt a little confused by this and sort of thought it was “overkill” after all they were all in the same boat why would anyone be hesitant to share this information? Fast forward to now and no parent ever asks any questions about another child and completely understand the whole privacy issue completely. I think everyone has experienced some sort of violation on way or another. We have all examined our own views on this subject with many people becoming more private as a result. I loved seeing the pictures of your little girl and your stories but I completely respect your decision. I will never understand why people are so judgemental of decisions and choices others make make when it doesn’t affect them directly. I think you do a perfect job of putting information out there so people can make different choices. I am not vegan but I eat a lot more plant based meals as a result of you and your website. I don’t feel pressured or judged. I am very grateful to you for your recipes/thoughts and insights I feel like it allows me to live a better life.

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Kelly P May 18, 2015

It’s a question we all struggle with, particularly when we become parents. My husband and I decided on a very minimal sharing approach with regards to our daughter, but didn’t exclude sharing photos entirely (we post 1 picture every few months, to give you an idea. No naked pictures or other pictures that might embarrass her later on). Is that the right decision? Maybe not. But since we enjoy seeing our friends’ and families’ pictures so much, we figured we could share a little as well.
I find it interesting though that so many people seem to agree that sharing pictures is out, but sharing lots of personal, written details about one’s children is somehow less of a violation of their intimacy. I’d be inclined to say the opposite. That’s what has blocked me from starting a blog over the years. I’m much like you (I think, after reading your blog for several years!) in the sense that I’m quite an open book when it comes to sharing with others, as least in the real world. I think if I were to have a blog, it would have the same degree of openness. Yet I’ve just never been comfortable with doing that with a world of people I don’t know, for all the reasons your other readers have listed.
That said, I entirely agree with those who have said that your open, intimate posts are what have made me hooked on your blog! And I have looooved your baby posts. My daughter is 18 months and they have helped me relive her early days. Now I’m expecting my second and your posts are a good reminder of what’s to come. It’s always fascinating (and helpful) to see how other parents deal with the many challenges and joys of parenting.
The choice is yours and Eric’s alone. Baby posts or not, I’ll still be a loyal reader. :-)
Good luck with the 2nd cookbook! Can’t wait to taste the recipes.

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