Monday, 9 May 2011

Hi There, Mum And Dad

No, that's not a typo. Because it turns out that my parents read my blog. Hi Guys. 

Mum told me that she can't remember exactly when she found it, but it was probably more than a year ago. And they've been reading it ever since. And have read nearly all the archives. I love my parents dearly and we are very close but  when they told me a few days ago I was freaked out cranky surprised, to say the least. This space to write freely about our unusual parenting journey has been really important to me. I was very weirded out to find out that it was not as private as I thought. 

Mum told me that it had actually been very, very easy to find me. (Just for the record? If you're ever having this conversation with someone? That did not make me feel better). 

After the conversation (by email, and on the phone) I asked myself: Why am I so upset? I don't want to be a hypocrite. I don't want to be the kind of person who shows one face to one group of people, and another face to everyone else.  If I'm ashamed of what I write here, I shouldn't be writing it at all.  (Although if I'd known my parents were reading, I might have at least changed the title of this post to mythical-crack-ladies-of-the-night). 

A blog is not a diary. It doesn't have a lock. I know that. And yet. Having found this lock-less space, here are some Clues that your child is trying to keep their blog under the real-life radar: 

  • There's the fact that I blog under a fake name. Of all people, the people who chose my real name should notice the difference, yes?  Mater and Pater, were you sitting there saying to each other "Hang on, I forget. Did we call our second daughter Claudia? I thought we called her something else. Can you remember, honey?' Were you having this conversation, dear parents? Hmmmm? HMMMMMMMM? 
  • There are the paranoid posts, like this this and this, where I talk about how awful it would be if people I knew in real life were reading my blog. 
  • There's the fact that I blog under a fake name. 
  • There's the fact that I maintain an entirely separate family blog. 
  • There's the fact that I have never, ever mentioned this blog to them despite having been writing it for three years
  • Did I mention that I blog under a fake name? 

Which leads me on to Clues that they knew perfectly well I was trying to keep my blog under the radar: 

  • There's the fact that they never mentioned they had found it at the time when they first found it
  • There's the fact that they have been saying 'oh really?' when I tell them things I have already mentioned here, rather than 'Duh! We know! We totally found your blog!'    
  • There's the fact that the above two things have been happening for around a YEAR

Which leads me onto Oh boy do I feel stupid now and its close friends They really should have told me and What shall I do next? 

  • There's the option of no longer blogging at all. That's not what I want. 
  • There's the option of making this blog private. I don't like that option either. The whole point of blogging, in my opinion, is pooling wisdom with a whole bunch of people I don't know. (And posting videos of my cat). I like the collaborative nature of public blogging, and I want to be part of that.
  • There's the option of asking my parents not to read any more. 
  • Or, if they want to keep reading there is the option of making them pinky-swear not to mention it to anyone else, ever and devising a suitable forfeit.

And so I asked myself: What would Gilbert and Sullivan do? There's a famous line from The Mikado that my Father likes to quote - it's from this song -that goes: Let the Punishment Fit The Crime.  

So. I need your help to make that happen. Since they've been reading, my best idea is that they should have to do some writing, yes?  If they want to keep reading, I think they should have to write a guest post. (Each?)  Since they have read the entire archives of this blog, and are now experts on adoption from the APs point of view, I wondered whether we should demand a grandparent's guide: How to Support Your Child While They Adopt Your Grandchild. 

But that's just one idea. I'm totally open to suggestions. What do YOU want to hear from FascinatingNanna and FascinatingGrandpa? (Stories about me are not an option. If they want to tell embarrassing stories about their children, they can get their own blog). Or should the forfeit be something else entirely? Or should I just say please stop? (Does your family read your blog?)

These are not rhetorical questions, people. There will be no stories about our (horrific) trip to the salon, or photos of Pink in braids, or photos of Pink looking like the world's tiniest bank robber in her new stocking cap, until y'all help me out with this. 


  1. OMG Wow, and Fantastic. I would be mortified if some really close people to me found my blog. Why, I'm not sure. My Mom would hate me for my poinsettia post, but anyway, because she's incredible easy to piss off.

    Your parents should totally guest post!!! Awesome. If they write half as well as you do then it would be well worth our while and completely interesting to come back and read. And they offer a different, yet intimate perspective about your journey. I'd love to read what they write, absolutely.

    My best friend reads my blog. None of my family does. (that I know of!)

  2. I'm with the Huntress. Guest post (monthly for as long as they keep reading?) is a good punishment.

    And I'm dying to know how they found it, you know, so I can keep my mother from finding mine....again.

  3. Hmmm. Having my own relationship with my own parents, I would A) be furious (as you said it was obvious that they knew you didn't want them reading, or they would have said something to you in the last year) and B) discontinue posting because I would know that I, personally, wouldn't be able to be forthcoming under the eyes of my family. I wouldn't even trust my mother's word not to read. If she knew it was there, she'd read. I know your relationship with your folks is less fraught then mine can be though, so no advice to offer. Except that if you let them stay, they should definitely be made to step up and write and earn their place at the table! :)

  4. Wait...Claudia isn't your real name? Seriously, I am more surprised by that than the revelation that you have a PhD - you are totally a Claudia in my head!

    Hey, maybe your parents could write about how they chose your (real) name and compare it to how you chose names for Pink and Blue!

  5. Thought I was the only one who quoted from The Mikado every now and then. (serious music nerd here...)

    Both of our families read our blog, but don't generally comment. And even KNOWING that they read our blog, I sometimes get in trouble for how I word something--usually with the "other" parents... sigh.

    I do remember how horrified I felt when I was dating my husband and found out that somehow my "private identity" (at that time I had a fairly decent one...) had been sought out, and not only Michael but his entire family, all siblings, and both parents, were reading my private blog. It's not that I had written anything dastardly or revealing, mostly at the time it was poetry or about the daily events with my roommates, but just the fact that they had sought it out and had been secretive about reading it was mortifying.

  6. Good crap woman, figure something out and do it fast! I am DYING to see pics of pink with her hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I told my parents about my blog. I told them the url again. I wrote it down for them. That was about 3 years ago. I don't think they read. Although, when my mom said my hair was bad I told her the whole world of the internet was going to know she actually said that to me. I thought that might get her going, but no.

    Anyway, guest posts are a good idea. As is babysitting.

    Now put up the hair pics! Please!

  7. Ewww! I let my parents read (I figure it keeps me nice on the internet) but there are two people in my life that I REALLY wouldn't want to have reading along. I sort of think that neither is internet-literate enough to find me. But can you tell us how this happened so I can think about it?

  8. It's really not in good taste to spy on someone. In effect, that's what they were doing. I'd be pissed if I were you too. Your parents (hello there parents!) should have told you they were reading. A long time ago. Or stopped reading and respected that you weren't sharing the blog with them. Why didn't they tell you? That's what I'd want to know.

    I know you were asking for ideas, hmm, well, guest posts would be great but might set them up for some serious flaming from your adoring fans.

    My whole family reads and it does limit what I can share, which is sometimes a bummer. On the other hand, everyone knows where I stand on stuff. It's helped with overall family dynamics regarding what we've been through.

    Im DYING to know more about the salon trip.

  9. Oh, this is hilarious. I thought you were so dang clever by keeping your blog private from your family. Creates a lot more writing freedom (and potential to share embarassing stories). My whole community of friends, family and church read mine (or they may not read it but they know about it, and so are free to) because we started it as a way to keep them up to date on our first adoption. Never, never thought I'd start monologuing so so much and desire that freedom.

    So, I think your parents should do a guest post review of your blog, tell us which was the most shocking post, the post they agree with most, disagree with most and why. Then, maybe they should give 007 lessons and where they went wrong (because now you know)

  10. I shared my blogS with family a few times (you were there each and every time... I think I made up to 500 different blogs?) but have officially decided to never ever do it again. I got ticked off when no one ever mentioned it (there I was, bearing my soul for the world and some of my closest family members had NOTHING TO SAY), and then got ticked off when my words were used against me OR when my blog was shared amongst all of my mother's friends without my permission(and this was an issue because those people happened to be some I would NEVER want to be reading my blog).


    Good luck with your decision! I know it's hard (again, the 500 different blogs)....

  11. I k now exactly how you felt when you were found out. I was found out but not by family, by a friend and it was OMG so unbearably, horribly, terribly upsetting. I considered shutting down the blog but am too lazy assed to do it. If my family found the blog I would do just like the wicked witch in the Wizard Of Oz, I swear I would, I would just shrivel up right before everyone's eyes. Poof, no more me.

    I haven't told my DH about the blog but since he is in IT I'm fairly sure he knows about it but I bet he doesn't read it. He's odd that way.

    I like Shonda's idea about asking your parents to do guest posts about which posts they most agree with, which they most disagree with and why. Though to tell you the truth? I'd be so freaked out if my parents knew about the blog I just don't know what I would do with myself.

    Good luck.

    Oh yeah, and I am with Essie, where's the pic of Pink's hair??????

  12. Wow--how the heck did they find it?? I want details!!! My family DOES read my blog, because I started it in the beginning as a family-scrapbook type thing. After our adoption, I got very gritty and honest and I am okay with people reading that for the most part. I recently changed to wordpress so that I can protect certain posts (any containing my kids' pictures or any with information that I simply feel is sensitive). That way I at least know exactly who is reading those pages. I have thought of starting an anonymous blog simply to complain about all of the people I want to complain about but who read my blog so I can't complain about them, but now you have me scared that they would find me! AWKWARD!!!!!!!!!

  13. Zoinks. I have reeaaalll issues with someone who is reading and not telling me and it's obvious I don't know they are reading. It's just awkward all around and kind of freaky. Either read and comment and support...but no sneaking.

  14. OY! I would feel the same as you, except not be as eloquent as you are.

    None of my family read my blog - I'm not ashamed of anything but my mother esp might be hurt because I've said on there that she favours K and we don't have a good relationship (all true but she is defensive, big time).

    So, I would actually ask them to please not read. I know how important it is to have space to talk about these things...

    But if you're ok with it (and I know without a doubt your writing will change - I stopped blogging really openly when I found that some people were reading it - even now there's something I wanted to blog and then remembered someone at work has read it a couple of times and I don't want to hurt her) then their guest posts should be why they kept quiet, how they feel about it, etc.

    I will have you know I laughed so hard at you threatening to withold pics of Pink's hair! You are killing me!

    (thinking of you - really - this is hard)

  15. PS re My Two Lines's comment - that's why I started a private blog - I hate the idea that so many of my friends are voyeurs into my life but yet withold so much from me.

    I know it's my choice to share on my blog but it would be nice if people would also share back, now and again.

    Gosh, I think I have issues - this thing has touched a nerve!

  16. I knew Blogger would hate my comment - because it is long and blogger is evil.
    I am not anonymous - I am SEMI-FERAL!
    Parents are fallible, too. Actually, isn't that half of what we post about? So, I will cut them a little slack. Especially since I have told my parents about my blog and they aren't interested enough to want to read it. That is a whole different kind of hurt.
    Still, they should be punished for not telling you and here is how...
    1) they need to write a post about WHY they didn't tell you...
    2) they need to write a post about if and when they read your high school diary (and, OF COURSE, they need to tell us what was in it.)
    3) I think it would be interesting to hear a post from a grandparents' perspective about what it feels like when your child struggles with reproduction (wow, I am asking for some really personal stuff here)
    I do want to say, that I know you struggle to keep things private but I have never read one word from you that wasn't interesting, inspiring and non-offensive. I have actually wondered what you were concerned about (or if I was just an idiot for missing the parts that were so private.)
    Welcome out of lurkerdom, Claudia-not-her-real-name's parents. You raised a really amazing woman.

  17. I will, from now on, refer to you as Vanessa, because I have decided that is your name. A Vanessa can be smart and whitty, without being nerdy. A Vanessa can be attractive and easy to talk to. Vanessa can be introspective and social. I like this Vanessa I have just created, so that is who you are to me.


    I don't think you're parents will stop reading, they are your parents and the curiosity will get the better of them. So, you should... A.) Go private but allow people to subscribe if they contact you with their email address (that JUST keeps out the few you don't want reading. Maybe B.) Have them guest blog is a good idea. But, would they follow through? And would we tolerate the writing of anyone other than, on here? I am not sure. You may get a reader revolt.

    I am kinda thinking, since it is very important to you that certain people don't read your blog, that you should go private. As long as you allow us all to continue to follow you!

    That is my unoriginal input NOW SHOW US THE BRAIDS!

  18. I won't read their post if they do post. I don't really care to read why someone would not say "look, I'm sorry, but i found a blog, I think it's yours and I want to read it. Is there any reason I shouldn't be reading?" I don't know if you were a teenager and your bedroom always smelled like weed, OK, spy, but other than that...

    I'm interested in what you have to say, but not them. I think the inevitable lack of trust between they and you is enough punishment.

    I took my blog anonymous when a relative of mine pulled some mighty crazy shenanigans when she didn't like a blog post of mine. I don't care if any one in my family reads the new anonymous blog but now if they complain that 'all their friends know about my private life' I can simply say, 'how could they, there are no family names involved in any way.'

    Ah, least they give us something to write about eh?

  19. My parents know that I blog and know where I blog and they don't read my blog. I guess they get enough of me on my quarterly trips home. I can understand that.

    I did just find out last week that my MIL reads my blog. It was a little freaky. I mean, what I write is true, but my on again off again references to vodka and cursing was momentarily embarrassing! :) But in the end, I don't really care.

    I'm with Semi-Feral on cutting your parents a little slack though. Isn't half the point of things like FB and blogs to be a voyeur into other people's lives? Maybe they were trying to avoid embarrassing/freaking you out by not telling you that they were reading it. And my vote for penance will also be free babysitting....and maybe post some embarrassing pictures of them. :)

  20. Hello, Fascinating Nanna and Grandpa! Good on you for being so sneaky; as a parent of an almost-teen, I wholeheartedly endorse parental sneakiness and cheer you on in the spirit of solidarity.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on (and responses to) the awkward questions you get from friends about your grandchildren. My parents are keeping mum about their experiences, but I do know that they've been asked some annoying and invasive questions about my children. How do you handle them?

  21. Oh family and their difficulties with blogs. I was also recently found out -despite moving and anonymous fakey names, etc. It's not fun to feel like one was doing a good job hiding from family on the internet. I don't like having to censor myself and family historically feels like they should get a say in what goes on a blog.

    I will echo Semi Feral's ideas. And those who say it hurts when people close to you ignore the blog, don't say anything, or perhaps worse, want to read and instead of engaging and give feedback start holding things against you and judging and taking it all personally.

    The ugly side to blogging. Hopefully this doesn't turn out ugly.

  22. Everybody reads my current blog (and by everybody, I mean my parents, my husband's parents, all their friends, people whose names we don't remember from the small towns we grew up in), but I'm two blogs down the line from the one my mom found, that I asked her not to read, that she read anyway and got her feelings hurt by. I learned that A) nothing on the internet is ever private, no matter how obscure you try to be, and that B) if you are in therapy at the time, it helps you work through those issues. Are you in therapy at this time? If not, perhaps try it.

    I would love to see guest posts by your parents regarding what it's like to become a grandparent through adoption. I think they should write a post each, and they should make it snappy because I need to see Pink's braids and hear about the salon visit.

  23. Yikes! There is some benefit to having a computer illiterate mother.

    I recently came across an ex-boyfriend's little brother's wife's blog (did you get all that?) and I sent her an email explaining who I was and to let her know that I was reading simply because I knew her husband and in-laws quite well many years ago and reading without outing just felt creepy. Fortunately she is beyond sweet and didn't tag me as an Internet crazy. (-;

    As for what to do, I somewhat selfishly want to hear more about liminality from your dad since I wear my t-shirt with pride even though nobody else understands it. I am curious as to what he thought of the post you wrote on that in how it relates to adoption.

    I would love to hear some guest posts from them once in awhile, but more than anything think you should set up some kind of deal that you are comfortable with. If they read, they need to comment and get involved, letting you know they are here.

  24. Here's a good topic for them to write about. "How do parents of adult children, respect their childrens personal space, boundaries and parenting choices even if they have 'issues' with them?

  25. Yeah, I totally understand how you must be feeling. I live in Europe, in a country that had maybe 3 international adoptions in history. Now, when we are starting our adoption I would really like to blog about it. But I really don´t want all people in my small country where everybody knows everybody to read it. So I´ve been thinking what to do for a long time now and still don´t know how to make my blog not foundable. :(
    And about punishment for your parents-they should totally blog about their reasons why did they keep secrets.

  26. Well, first of all they should be proud of you because you SO SERIOUSLY ROCK THE BLOGGING THING.

    Secondly, how did they contain themselves from mentioning how proud of you they must have been (I guess I'm using conjecture here to think that they were proud. Maybe they weren't proud at all?) If I were to imagine myself in their position, it would have been really difficult not to fess up- if only for the glory of having parented someone so articulate.

    My social worker reads my blog BTW- I think that trumps your parents reading yours. It's certainly inhibited me in what I consider to be blog-worthy, and that sort of stinks.

    I think they should each have to write a guest post, and they should also be required to join the conversation in the comments. They should have a mandatory amount of comments they need to make each month. And they need to go through the archives and leave comments on those posts that they've read. For me, I always try to comment on a blog if I've read it- it only seems fair. For someone to share themselves, and for me to have gained something fro that, means that I should at least let them know what I thought or felt. Or even that someone is, in fact, reading. It's an equal exchange.

    Just my two birr.

  27. I have to admit that I'm a little cheesed at your mom & dad. If they honestly didn't realize this was a blog you wanted to keep at least semi-private, that's one thing. But it does seem unlikely, er, Claudia, and for me, like kn, it's spying. I know your parents are lovely people, but this is their bad. (I will admit that, as you know, I have VERY strong feelings about privacy and boundaries.) If your parents would like to start their own blog, godspeed, but this is your place. This may not be the popular opinion, but I think they owe you an explanation and - ::gasp:: an apology. You are an adult and parents, shmarents, you're entitled to some privacy.

    Which brings me to topic the second - your potential hypocrisy. Rubbish. Every day we all of us choose what information to reveal to what people. It is not untruthful of you to balance your need to express something with the potential to hurt, confuse, or anger the people you care about. It's just an offshoot of Choosing Your Battles, which, as you also know, I consider one of the top three essential skills of adulthood.

    And a note to Fascinating N & G, if you're reading: She really does love you an awful lot, I know this for a fact. And you did a wonderful job of raising her, she is truly a superior person and one of my most valued friends. Now pat yourselves on the back and stop reading the blog!

  28. It feels icky that your parents were reading your blog for so long without telling you. Very deceiving, and that, for me, would be hurtful enough to just go private. I hope you continue to feel free to write like you always have, because you have lots of bloggy fans out here...and we would follow you where-ever...including to a private space if needed. But if you feel comfortable blogging with them and everyone they know (b/c that might happen???) reading too, then more power to you. My blog is not private and my family has full access to it. I think they may be confused by some of my posts, but not offended. I don't write things that could ever offend them, so it is scensored in that sense. your question was what should you do. After your anger settles (which it seems to be, which is amazing to me b/c I would be pretty upset about the not-telling-you-they-were-reading part)...then I think they should at least join in the conversations around here. I try to comment on most posts that I read b/c it's a give and take experience (in my opinion)...which totally shows that I have many posts of your still to read. So anyway...get in the conversation or stop eavesdropping is my opinion for them. (Hi parents! I'm sure you are great people...but we all make mistakes sometimes).

  29. Pardon my never-spell-checking problem. I adore you btw and can't wait to see the salon pics!!!

  30. I don't really have anything to add to what others have said (my blog is very public with the fam) but would love to see what your parents would contribute--you got your smarts from somewhere so I'm sure they have valuable insights.
    Post pictures!!

  31. I have to say I disagree with alot of your commenters when they say your parents were in the wrong for reading your blog! The blog is public - not private. It might have been nice for them to mention that they stumbled across it, but I can definitely understand not feeling inclined to mention it if I thought it would upset my daughter and ruin one of her favorite hobbies.

    That having been said, I think that as your parents - you know, the people who agonized over how to raise you and gave you everything they had to give - deserve more than any one of us to read your blog. No one here is gonna love you as much as they do! No one here is gonna be there for you through thick and thin the way that they will. So my advice - let them know that they are welcome to read your blog! Why should they be excluded? I don't think you'll want Pink excluding you from her future creative endeavors simply because you're mom. That would be very sad.

    Can't wait to see Pink's hair :)

  32. Cannot wait for salon pictures!
    I have considered changing my blog because of family. One side does not read it and the other uses it against me. Sigh. Also our social worker reads it too...LOL. Glad I am not alone with that one.
    I am with Liz- I was most surprised that Claudia is not your name...LOL : )

  33. HILARIOUS!!! Because I've been there. It happened to me, and I was mortified. Horrified. In disbelief. Now my blog is not in the search engines, but it still appears.

    I almost made it private, but... I told them I have a sitemeter and asked them to please not read, and said I would forward on to them any pictures or any information they asked for. I told them what I write is for my blogging friends, and that email is for them.

    They quit reading, totally. EXCEPT... Sometimes when they are vacationing I get a hit from Phoenix and I think, hmmm.... But we don't ask, don't tell, anymore.

    Weird, isn't it, that dynamic. Blogs are for friends. Not for parents.

  34. An interesting "privacy" conversation has really opened up in your comments section. :) I personally think that children...whether adults or teenagers (but there is a huge difference there) should be respected enough to have some things in their lives private from their parents if they so choose. The big difference with non-adult children (which is not your case but mentioned in comments) is that I think their privacy should be respected (journals, text messages, fb, etc) and not interfered with unless a parent has reason to suspect harm to their child or someone else and the child is not being upfront and honest with their parents. With adults, like yourself, I certainly believe it is perfectly healthy to have parts of their lives private from certain people, including parents, if they wish. And a non-private blog is not necessarily a safe and guaranteed place for that, but I do think it's reasonable to hope that, with a fake name or no names, and a space created to try and capture that semi-private setting, that the privacy be your brother did. Anyway, those are my two cents. ;) And I say this as a mother myself of two girls, and as a daughter.

  35. I'm curious to know what your Mom and Dad think of this conversation up to this point?...They're still mum.


  36. ...or maybe they're busy at their keyboards composing the most touching guest blog post any of us have ever read. They have big shoes to fill (yours) and that can't be easy. :)

  37. I have not been able to sort out my feelings about this. First off, I think that if you did not want your parents reading this blog, then it was your responsibility to make it private. We all know the pitfalls of having a private blog, though, so I understand the desire to stay public. What a benefit to all of us, our freedom to make up this little community of writers who support one another. Also, I think this is a creative endeavor for you, right? You are an excellent writer, you have the right stuff to publish a book that would be successful. Once you publish, you have to stand by your creation. You've never been inhibited by the thought that your parents were reading before. I think it's important now to remain true to yourself and your writing. As for your parents, it is only right that they should have told you when they found the blog that they were reading it. To me, it's wrong not to tell you. And I don't think they should have to guest blog at all. To me, that is reserved for "guests," it is an honor, not a sheepish form of punishment.


Over to you!