When Blair came out to her parents. And by out, I mean of the computer.

May 11, 2011

No matter how long I blog and who else I read, Blair from Heir to Blair will always and forever be my Dooce. I read her blog before I’d read any other, finding her on The Bump and becoming both terrified and in awe of her quick wit and sarcasm. She was the reason I started a blog instead of a diary. Getting to know her has been one of the highlights of this past year in blogging, and I’m thrilled she’s guest posting about how she finally told her parents just what she was doing on the computer – and then let them read it. Please to enjoy:

For a solid year, I wrote my blog under a pen name. In the beginning, I rarely posted pictures, never of my face, & did ZERO social marketing with it. I liked my quiet piece of the Internet where I could drop the “f-bomb” without shame & even use my former favorite which-shall-not-be-named-but-starts-with-C. Every night I sat on my laptop, tapping out stories with no face. My husband & a few Internet friends knew my real identity outside of “Blair,” but it was a closely-guarded secret.

Honestly? I was terrified of anyone knowing I was “Blair.” I became so candid on my blog, writing about everything from my sex life to cervical mucus to thoughts on breastfeeding. It felt like a personal diary, not just a run-down of fertility. (sometimes I would sweat bullets that something would crop up on my personal Facebook page about my blog & people would be all “What blog?!”

But then I started making connections with readers. I joined Twitter. I made a Facebook page. I wrote pieces for other magazine sites & blogs. I began posting pictures. I leaked our real names. I bought a Blogher 2010 ticket.

At the beginning of summer 2009, The Momma (that’s my mother) sat down to discuss vacation dates. Our family takes a week-long beach trip each year at the end of the summer & we were trying to pin down the beach house for a specific date. “What about the week of August 4th?” she asked.

I bit my lip. I broke out into a sweat. & I cracked.

“I can’t. I’m going to be in New York City,” I said.

The Momma’s head snapped up. “What are you going to New York City for?”

“A blogging conference…?” It was a statement, but definitely came out like a question.

Her head tilted with confusion. “You want to start blogging?” she asked.

oh, boy. Here we go.

Slowly, I began explaining that I did write a blog & that I had been writing for over a year under a pen name. I told her the name, explained the pen name. I explained blogging conferences & how I made some incredible friends over the Internet. She sat across the kitchen table from me, slack-jawed. “Does anyone actually read your blog?” she asked.

I smiled sheepishly. “A few…thousand.”

“THOUSAND?!” I nodded. “Oh my, & they’re all reading about your private parts?!” I honestly thought she would faint from the indecency of it all. But she simmered & I explained the blogging gig a little more – like when I blog (at night), what I write about (my life), & why I love it (too many reasons to list here).

She took a sip of coffee & asked, “May I read it?”

I was completely taken aback. “Sure,” I stammered. “But I should warn you…it’s me. The real me. Everything you ever wanted to know & didn’t want to know. You’ll be offended & you’ll learn things about me that you never wish you knew. But if you can handle it, then I can handle it.”

Ever since that morning, my parents checks my site at the start of every day. For stories on my heart, pictures of Harrison, & a little insight into the crazy world of a working mother that they never knew.

26 Comments

  • Kelly

    May 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Aside from people I know in real life, I’ve just learned about Blair and Dooce in the last couple of months since I started blogging. I started out blogging to host giveaways and then started making friends online and really using writing as an outlet. Not many people in real life know that I’m a blogger (I don’t even feel worthy of that title) but I love the opportunity I have to engage with other women.

  • Katie

    May 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

    my last name is in my blog title. there is no keeping quiet about it.

    i don’t think i would be good about staying anonymous anyway. I have a big mouth.

  • Branson

    May 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

    My posts are pretty squeaky clean, but my heart still skipped a beat when I found out my mom had been reading, lol. I had a rough childhood and I am always afraid I will hurt her feelings when I talk about it. I don’t let it change what I write, but on those days I always suck up a bit in real life, haha.

    Great post!

  • Suz

    May 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I’ve mentioned my blog to my parents briefly & randomly {like when photographing food & getting recipes} but like BA, I’ve talked about it more since planning my BlogHer trip. My mom meeting some of my e-favorites two weekends ago for the March of Babies had her asking more blogging questions. My Dad has asked the name & if he should read. I said it quick, explained I talk TMI about TTC & recipes so I think that detered him. Guess we’ll see!

  • Mommy Points

    May 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    It’s kind of like having an open invitation to reading your child’s uncensored, down and dirty, diary. Would you?? Of course you would and of course they did……only they are in the great company of thousands of others who read and support the same diary. Great story!

  • Libby

    May 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    So yeah, this is me — before you came out. There are two people that know I blog, one is my husband and one is a best friend. That’s it. My family doesn’t know, my sister doesn’t know, etc. etc. I have no desire for my family to come across my blog — why? Because there are days (and there will be more) when I want to vent, scream, bitch, and moan about them and I have no desire for them to read it. My number one fear is logging into my facebook page (for my blog) and accidently posting so that it shows up to my 400+ friends from my smalltown instead of on my fanpage. Um, no thanks.

  • Janelle

    May 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I always wondered how this went down. Has your mom dug through the archives?

  • Not There Yet

    May 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    That is some courage! Wow!

  • Erika @NaMammaSte

    May 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Great story Blair! You’re smart not to tell people about your blog up front. I think I told too many people about mine right away and have had trouble being completely myself.

    As for my parents: they know about my blog but don’t really read it and when I talk about it with my mom, she usually rolls her eyes or gets really quiet, so I’ve learned not to bring it up with her. It’s good and bad because sometimes I want her to read it, but then other times I don’t. Of course, she has read it a handful of times, so there’s also always that possibility that today will be the day she decides to read it!

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your story! I enjoyed reading it!

  • Jess@Straight Talk

    May 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I love that. And she is TOTALLY my Dooce too. Because, well, she’s freaking awesome and she’s a real girl.

    As for the parents reading thing…It’s a big leap of faith having your family read your blog. Because you do put your REAL self out there and sometimes it’s not the same type of you that talks to mom & dad. But it does make all the internets love ya 🙂

    you girls are awesome!

  • Katrina

    May 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    That’s awesome! I recently started blogging (using my real name) and I’ve frequently wished I’d started anonymously. My husband hates anything too personal or private being put on there – so blogging about how to kids and birth control has KILLED my sex drive is totally out (he couldn’t believe that I even mentioned my birth control on my blog! lol). Or how certain family members annoy the fire out of me…etc.
    I love the openness and humor of your and Diana’s blogs. It keeps me coming back for more!!!

  • Amber

    May 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I love this post! I have struggled with content on my blog because I have friends without kids, with kids, from all different walks of life etc…and I don’t want anyone bored or freaked out by TMI or talking smack behind my back about the raw stuff that I just posted. It has made my blog feel super scattered and I have flirted with the idea of creating another blog under a pen name so I can truly be me. Kudos to you for being able to be you and share it with everyone!

  • Erin

    May 11, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Oh I would love to read a followup on this. Instead of coming out with my old blog, I started a new one this year. The real me, real name, posts sent to Twitter and Facebook. It was more freeing and less anxiety inducing than I expected … but I don’t think my parents read it. I would love to know if this has changed your relationship, and if so, in what ways….

  • molly

    May 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Ha! I wish you had a photo of your mom’s face when she read your first post that included the “C” word. Now THAT is priceless.

    I blogged for like 2 years before announcing it to the world or putting it in my siggy on my bump profile.

    At the time (my late twenties) I just wasn’t comfortable with my mental illness and diagnosis. I think I talked about blogging to my parents and sisters but they never really “got” it.

    I don’t know when it was that I finally went public or made me put a link in my siggy on the bump. But it was quite free-ing.

    Now, my mom and sisters read my blog all the time. They don’t comment but when they see me they always mention it. And my mom LOVES my blog. She thinks it’s “cute” which I think is “cute” in return.

    I know it has been very painful for her to read some of my posts. But she accepts me for who I am.

    and you can tell “the momma” that out of all the people I am most excited to meet at blogher11, Blair is at the very top of my list 🙂

  • kim

    May 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I so wish I’d kept it quiet about my lil blog. People I know don’t understand blogging so the comments I get from them in real life are most often NOT helpful. They like to talk about the things they don’t agree on, but want no more information about the fun stuff. And they poke fun. But I didn’t understand those boundries in the beginning. So now I’M pushing the boundries and learning that if they don’t like what I have to say they need to learn that I’m not writing about them, I’m writing about me, my stuff, my issues, my kids. And my mom? Needs to stay off my blog. One friend *wink wink* said, ‘wow, that commentor doesn’t like you.’ And it was my mom! good times. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    May 11, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who fears her blog will be discovered by her “in real life” friends and family. When my husband told me he found it, I was mortified. Now he’s spreading the word through his office and some of our friends actually read it. My mother still has no idea though. I’m pretty sure she also thinks “blog” is a sexual position and she’s readily admitted she doesn’t see the point of “Tweeter”.

  • Joanna

    May 11, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I’m still too much of a chicken to tell my mother that I blog. I keep things very open, but I keep it well hidden from her.

    Not because I think she’d react poorly, but because she’s very active in social media herself. With everyone she and I have ever known. As in, it’s fine if she reads about my day, but I don’t need my extended family, ex-friends, and people whom I have issues with stalking around.

  • Ericka @ Creative Liar

    May 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

    That moment is always nerve wracking when mentioning the blog to someone close to you. But it’s awesome they check it every day now!

  • Laurie

    May 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

    That’s cool..I wondered how you told your family about the blog…I am a big fan, and it’s awesome that you have your parents behind you!

  • Kristal

    May 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

    My conundrum is right where you started. Right now my blog is completely separate from my real life. Ya I use my real first name, but my children have pen names. And our last name is not to be found. By being anonymous I feel like I can be more open. But then I wonder…one day it might just leak out. Would it just be worth involving family now? Who knows. It’s never easy to let our parents read about your vajayjay and how much sex we have in a week 😉

  • Grace @ Arms Wide Open

    May 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

    love it!

  • Adam

    May 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

    This situation is one of the reasons I’m glad my family knows about my blog. Then again, I don’t have to worry about talking about parts of my body my son came out of…

  • Kristin @ What She Said

    May 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I remember your evolution from completely anonymous to… well, not. Thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes scoop.

    My parents have always known about and read my blog. They’re proud of it and of me for writing it and getting published elsewhere, but I feel it definitely limits my honesty at times. Like now – I’m in the middle of a personal crisis and would love nothing more than to emotionally vomit all over my blog, but I can’t. In part, because it doesn’t fit my usual style and voice, and in part because it would be too raw and honest and TMI for certain people who know me personally. And I’d definitely hear about it from my folks. Just like I hear about it whenever I write about something they don’t particularly care for. I’ve adapted the phrase, “My blog, my content,” for those times but, honestly, it’s just not worth the hassle most of the time.

    My point? There are definitely pros and cons to being anonymous, as well as pros and cons to being “out.”

  • Blair@HeirtoBlair

    May 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Diana, you flatter me WAY TOO MUCH.

    It’s a pretty tame story, unfortunately. But I am so thankful for their support.

  • Samantha

    May 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Seriously? I have always wondered about how you told your family. I figured it was in some “bomb drop” way that left every shocked – but this is much better. This is a great story, thanks for sharing.

  • Heir to Blair » When your parents read about your vagina.

    May 11, 2011 at 7:26 am

    […] read more… […]

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