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Mom oversharing—are you guilty?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

There is pretty much nothing I won’t tell people about my life. I started a column in Glamour magazine only days after I was diagnosed with cancer. Then I wrote a book about my life with the disease, then a blog (can you say, “shameless plug day”?). When I got pregnant, I started posting over at Project Pregnancy where I shared anything and everything I was thinking/feeling/craving. I am a full believer in full disclosure. And, well, unless this is your first time reading this blog, you know I have a tendency toward mom TMI.  (I wrote a whole post about my not-so-stellar mom moments, like, um, eating food that had fallen out of Alex’s mouth.)


I like this about myself and I think others do too. I actually have an aversion to people who don’t overshare…what are they hiding? But when it comes to stuff about my kids, I try to hold back…a little (except here where my job is literally to spill it). It’s not because I would mind telling people about Nora’s poop, it’s that I don’t want to be the mom who talks about my kid’s poop…. except to Nick, where it’s fair game and, quite frankly, a daily topic. Do you guys know what I mean?  


Sure I talk about Alex and Nora. A lot. Get me with a mom friend who has the same issues—potty training, a potty mouth—and I could go all night. But I also have lots of things to talk about other than children. Things I’d often prefer to talk about. Another reason I hold back is I still want to be seen as a professional/a friend/a wife as well as a mother. Because I am all of those things. And like I said last week, I don't want to be a mommy cliche so I make sure I’m not constantly blathering on about kid crap. Most people don’t want to hear it anyway. When a friend or business associate or acquaintance asks me about my kids, I say they’re great, or they’re a handful (depending on the day) and maybe share one made-for-friendly-conversation anecdote. Like this one from last night’s family(ish)dinner: Nick was telling us all a story about his friend, Jaron, and how he once snuck a snowball into his elementary school classroom. When the teacher wasn’t looking, Jaron threw the snowball at the chalkboard. Alex thought this was hilarious, obviously, then he tossed out this gem: “So, dad, did the teacher throw Jaron’s ass in timeout?” (Like I said, the potty mouth is an issue in our house.)


I guess what it comes down to is not having a problem with what I share (clearly, since the anecdote above is pretty incriminating about how we roll in the Ruddy house) but how often I do so. I feel like if I talked endlessly about the superamazinglydelicious cute thing one of my kids did, I’d be so annoying. Or if I prattled on about their eating or sleeping or playing habits, I could come off as a mompetitor. Ick. Certainly if I’m talking to a friend who doesn’t have kids I reel it in big time. And when Nick and I are out alone together, we make a point of not talking nonstop about the kids. Because we obviously could. Bottom line: I often find myself editing and not sharing every hilarious/adorable/baffling thing that my kids do. Especially on facebook. I could write a kid-related status update 10 times a day but I don’t. Because I don’t want to be that person (you all know that person). I post photos but not as many as I could. And just so you don’t think I’m a FB hater, I do realize that this is a forum for many people to share tidbits about their kids with family and friends who may not be around. And I am fully onboard with that. I just think some people take it a little far. And I am always aware of not being one of those people.  


OK, so what are your rules for talking about your kids? Are there certain people (like, in my case, the grandmothers) who you know are always 100 percent interested in every single piece of information, boring or otherwise? Do you edit yourself with friends? Stop yourself when you get on a my-kid-did-the-funniest-thing tangent? Or do you just say, screw it and talk about your kids as much as you want (i.e., do you not analyze yourself to death like I do!). Would love to hear your thoughts on this.