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Writing Frankly About Your Kids: Is It The Last Great Taboo?



There's been a lot of negative buzz online lately about Ayelet Waldman's new column on Salon, which she recently started after giving up posting on her addictively readable parenting blog, Bad Mother. I have to admit that at times I've been surprised, even taken aback, by just how much Waldman reveals but it's... interesting to note the vehemence of those who object to her writing frankly about her family and her battle with bipolar disorder. In some circles, it seems, writing about one's children is the last great taboo. I guess some people still believe that once you become a mother you should no longer admit to having feelings others might deem inappropriate. I can't imagine Salon readers being half as shocked as many of them appear to be in the Letters section if Waldman were writing a series of columns on, oh I don't know, sex with weasels or something.



No, writing about your kids isn't the last taboo. Waldman is violating the first taboo -- writing crap. Her crap happens to be about her kids and her mental health and so on.
It's fine to write about our children, with care and within reason. But as a mother who has published a lot of material about her child -- material that isn't nearly as edgy or personal as Waldman's -- I can promise you that this business is never easy on the kid. Even flattering material draws unwanted attention and makes it hard on school-age kids. It's tough enough to become a person without having your mom document your life for the sake of establishing her byline. If you write about your child, you must examine your motives and forge ahead with caution.
Yeah, I've never been much impressed by Waldman either. In some circles she may be regarded as hip, but to me, she's just tacky.
“It's tough enough to become a person without having your mom document your life for the sake of establishing her byline. " This is a great line. Well worth remembering.
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